President Biden, First Lady arrives at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

President Biden, First Lady arrives at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

President Biden, First Lady arrives at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrived on Monday to pay their last respects to the late British monarch Queen Elizabeth II – after getting stuck en route in standstill traffic.

The presidential limousine, nicknamed “The Beast”, pulled up in front of 13th-century Westminster Abbey and the 79-year-old president and his 71-year-old wife got out and headed for the entrance.

The armored limousine had previously stopped outside a coffee shop in central London.


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The first lady wore a black knee-length skirt, which she teamed with a blazer, and accessorized her look with a matching fascinator. Biden wore a classic black suit.

The President and Dr. Biden entered the funeral home holding hands and were led to seats 14 rows back on the south transept. The Commander-in-Chief sat behind Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and in front of the Czech Republic’s leader.

Meanwhile, the first lady settled next to Switzerland’s representative.

President Biden's limousine arrives at Westminster Abbey in London.
President Biden’s limousine arrives at Westminster Abbey in London.
Getty Images
President Biden and the First Lady walked into the funeral home holding hands.
President Biden and the First Lady walked into the funeral home holding hands.
Reuters

They were among hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries to fill Westminster Abbey to capacity for the funeral of the longest-serving monarch, who died on September 8 aged 96.

Despite the long-cherished special relationship between the two nations, Britain’s official invitation to the US was “for the president and first lady only”, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

That left no room for the Bidens to extend an invitation to any of the former presidents, all of whom met the queen while in office.

The president and first lady arrived in London on Saturday and paid tribute the next day by stopping by Westminster Hall, skipping queues of up to 24 hours for people wanting to see the Queen’s coffin.

Dr. Biden wore a black skirt suit, which she paired with a fascinator.
Dr. Biden wore a black skirt suit, which she paired with a fascinator.
Reuters
The US president is among a crowd of dignitaries at Westminster Abbey.
The US president is among a crowd of dignitaries at Westminster Abbey.
Reuters

Biden made the sign of the cross as he arrived and placed his hand on his heart as he paid his respects. Both also signed the official condolence book for the Queen at Lancaster House on Sunday.

He later said that the Queen had stood out from the “terribly many consequences” he had faced, saying: “She was the same in person as her image. Decent, honorable and all about service.”


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The Bidens’ appearance heightened security concerns for what is likely to be one of the largest-ever gatherings of world leaders and royalty on British soil.

Their invitation also reportedly sparked anger among other dignitaries who were forced to park and ride a bus to the service – while Biden was allowed to use his armored Cadillac, known as “The Beast”.

The President and his wife are seen walking to their seats ahead of the start of the funeral service.
The President and his wife are seen walking to their seats ahead of the start of the funeral service.
Reuters
President Biden is seen sitting next to his wife Jill among other heads of state.
Reuters

The Queen’s state funeral is set to begin at 11 a.m. local time – 6 a.m. ET – at Westminster Abbey, where she married Prince Philip in 1947 and received her official coronation in 1953.

Near the end of the hour-long service, led by Dean of Westminster David Hoyle, a two-minute silence will be observed across the UK.

The national anthem concludes the funeral at noon in the UK, which is 7am in New York.

From there, her coffin will be taken on a final tour of London, receiving gun salutes as it is driven in the state hearse to Windsor for a committal service at St George’s Chapel near Windsor Castle.

Members of the royal family will then hold a private funeral at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, where the Queen will be buried.

The remains of her late husband, Philip, will then be moved to lie with his wife of 73 years.

The Duke of Edinburgh was buried privately in the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel after his death on 9 April 2021. He was 99.

Biden signed a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London on Sunday.
Biden signed a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London on Sunday.
AP

Biden spoke earlier with the new King Charles III and “conveyed his desire to continue a close relationship with the king,” the White House said.

He “remembered with pleasure the Queen’s kindness and hospitality,” and “conveyed the great admiration of the American people for the Queen, whose dignity and stability deepened the enduring friendship and special relationship between the United States and Great Britain,” the White House said last Wednesday.

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