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President Biden and first lady visit Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands with President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II stands with President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden at Windsor Castle on Sunday.
(Alberto Pezzali / Associated Press)

President Biden became the 13th U.S. head of state to be received by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who welcomed him and First Lady Jill Biden to Windsor Castle on Sunday.

The ceremonial visit, similar in protocol to President Trump’s 2019 visit to Windsor, capped four days of meetings around the Group of 7 summit in the county of Cornwall on England’s southwestern coast.

Biden, at first wearing his trademark aviator glasses, walked across the sprawling lawn inside the castle to review the Guard of Honor as the 95-year-old monarch and the first lady watched from a shaded seating area. The three then went inside for tea.

Biden first met Elizabeth in 1982 when he was a senator, according to the White House.

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On a green field, Biden walks past a row of men in uniform and bearskins, or tall fur hats.
President Biden inspects a Guard of Honor after arriving to meet Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle near London.
(Matt Dunham / Pool photo)

The visit comes after a difficult year for the monarch and just three days after what would have been her husband’s 100th birthday. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died in April.

Jill Biden had marked Philip’s birthday on Wednesday, tweeting: “We are holding the entire Royal Family in our hearts today, and wishing them peace and comfort on what would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday.”

The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, was the undisputed master of the British royal household for more than seven decades.

Meanwhile, reports in the British press continued to swirl about whether Prince Harry and Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, consulted the monarch before bestowing her nickname, Lilibet, on their daughter, who was born June 4 in California. The queen’s grandson and his wife had stepped back from royal duties and moved with their son, Archie, to the Santa Barbara area.

Biden reaches out a hand to Queen Elizabeth, followed by British military men in uniform.
Queen Elizabeth II walks with President Biden during his visit to Windsor Castle.
(Chris Jackson / Pool photo)

The queen first met a serving U.S. president, Harry Truman, as Princess Elizabeth in 1951. She has since met nearly every American president (Lyndon Johnson was the exception) who served during her 69 years on the throne. It’s one indication of the importance the monarch, who came of age following World War II, places on this “special” transatlantic relationship.

She appeared to take a special liking to President Obama, whom she met three times during his presidency, including hosting a 2011 state dinner that included a two-night stay at Buckingham Palace.

She also hosted a state dinner for President Trump in 2019 a year after welcoming him to Windsor Castle for a short ceremony. Though Biden, unlike Trump, opposed Brexit and is committed to transatlantic relations, his Irish roots — and outspoken support for upholding the Good Friday Agreement — could lend a degree of awkwardness to the meeting.

President Biden and other G-7 leaders condemn forced labor and call out China and others for human rights abuses.

On Friday, the queen surprised the G-7 leaders by traveling to the coastal southwestern county of Cornwall to take part in a welcome event alongside Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate, the duchess of Cambridge.

That same day, Jill Biden joined Kate on a visit to a local school and led a roundtable discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes.

Kate and Jill Biden laugh together as they walk.
Kate, duchess of Cambridge, left, and First Lady Jill Biden share a laugh during a visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, England, on Friday.
(Aaron Chown / Pool photo)

Between the events, American reporters asked Kate if she had any wishes for her new niece, Lilibet Diana.

“I wish her all the very best. I can’t wait to meet her,” she said. “We haven’t met her yet. I hope that will be soon.”

When the reporters asked the first lady if she’d asked Kate for any advice about meeting Queen Elizabeth, she was all business.

“No I didn’t. We’ve been busy. Were you not in that room?” she said. “We were talking education.”

Following the visit to Windsor, the first lady returns to Washington, D.C. The president travels on to Brussels for two days of meetings with NATO and European Commission leaders, and then to Geneva, where he’ll conclude his weeklong trip with a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.


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