US President Joe Biden meets Queen Elizabeth II after his first G7 summit


When US President Joe Biden was preparing for his first audience with Queen Elizabeth II as a young senator, his mother – an Irish American born with the surname Finnegan – had advice.

“Don’t bow down to her,” she told him in 1982, according to a memoir by Biden published several years ago.

On Sunday, Biden met the Queen again. He did not bow.

He later described her as an “extremely gracious” woman who reminded him of the mother who offered him this advice 40 years ago.

“We had a great conversation,” he said.

Arrived in the Windsor Castle indoor quad in a dark Range Rover alongside his wife, Biden stepped out wearing a pair of signature aviator sunglasses as he rose to briefly chat with the 95-year-old monarch.

It was only after listening to the “Star Spangled Banner” that Biden removed his glasses to watch a cordon of Grenadier Guardsmen in red suits and wearing a bearskin hat. Biden and the Queen then entered the castle for their private talks. You could hear them in light conversation.

Biden is now the 12th sitting president to meet with the Queen during her reign, joining a legacy of American leaders paying homage to a global icon and a living piece of history.

He and First Lady Jill Biden met her at Windsor Castle, her home outside London. It was his first one-on-one engagement with a world leader since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s one of her first public engagements since her husband, Prince Philip, passed away at 99 earlier this year.

The meeting followed the end of Biden’s first G7 summit, held on England’s southwest coast, which ended on Sunday afternoon. Biden spent his first international trip in an effort to rekindle American alliances with the richest democracies in the world. After meeting the Queen, he will travel to Brussels where he will spend two days meeting other American allies at NATO and European Union headquarters, before heading to Geneva to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We have just completed what has been an extraordinary, collaborative and productive meeting at the G7,” Biden said at a press conference after the G7 and ahead of his meeting with the Queen. “Everyone around the table understood and understood the gravity of the challenges we face and the responsibility of our proud democracies to stand up and stand up for the rest of the world. “

Her first meeting with the monarch this week was on Friday evening, when she joined world leaders at a reception hosted at a biosphere in Cornwall. After posing for a photo, she took a light hit at the staged camaraderie.

“Are you supposed to look like you’re having fun?” she said.

She was later pictured in friendly conversation with Biden and his wife outside the futuristic domes, with her son Prince Charles and wife Camilla holding drinks in the background.

Sunday’s occasion was more personal, with only Biden and his wife meeting the Queen at her home.

The president said the queen wanted to know more about Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Biden will meet on Wednesday, and Xi Jinping, the Chinese president.

Speaking at Heathrow Airport before leaving the UK, Biden said he wished he could speak to the Queen for longer.

“She was very generous,” Biden said. He said he didn’t think she would be insulted if he said she “reminded me of my mom in terms of looks and generosity.”

When asked if he invited her to the White House, Biden said yes.

For Biden, the moment places him among a long list of predecessors who have also come to visit one of the world’s most famous women. A history student who has consumed biographies of past presidents, the moment provides a living connection to the post he now holds.

The Queen is also helping to continue Biden’s efforts to inject wartime urgency into this week’s G7 and NATO summits, including by renewing the Atlantic Charter signed by US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II. The Queen served as an army mechanic during the war.

US Presidents often find themselves charmed by the Queen after meeting her.

“The Queen has been an inspiration to me, like so many people around the world,” President Barack Obama said during a visit to London in 2016 when Prince Philip drove her in a Range Rover from Marine One at the gates of Windsor. Chateau. “She really is one of my favorite people.”

Former President Donald Trump also had a special affection for Queen Elizabeth II, having seen her own mother – born in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland – attentively captivated by watching her coronation on television.

Unlike Trump or Obama, Biden is not an Anglophile. He is a proud American of Irish descent who (sometimes jokingly) referred to the long British rule on the island of his ancestors. This week, he confronted Prime Minister Boris Johnson over issues related to Northern Ireland, fearing that Britain’s exit from the European Union would jeopardize the hard-won peace there.

And one of the first things he did when he arrived in the UK on Wednesday was quote William Butler Yeats, the most famous Irish poet of the 20th century, from his poem on the 1916 Easter uprising against domination. British. He also cited the American Declaration of Independence.

Irish allegiances aside, Biden was unlikely to voice his grievances when he sat down with the British monarch on Sunday afternoon.

“Joe and I are both looking forward to meeting the Queen. It’s an exciting part of the visit for us,” Jill Biden told reporters this week. “We’ve been looking forward to this for weeks and now it’s finally here. It’s a great start.”


Kevin E. Boling

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