While in London, Jill Biden will engage in soft diplomacy before the big event. She is traveling with Finnegan Biden, one of her granddaughters.

WASHINGTON – Jill Biden celebrates the athleticism of wounded service members with Prince Harry, discusses the value of early childhood education with the prince Princess Kate and sipped tea poured Queen Elizabeth II.

Now the first lady returned to London for another royal engagement. President Joe Biden sent his wife to represent the United States at Saturday’s meeting the coronation of King Charles III, eldest son of the late Queen. No American president has ever attended a British coronation.

“Headed to the UK for the coronation of King Charles III – first in 70 years!”, tweeted Jill Biden before her flight to London on Thursday. “It is an honor to represent the United States at this historic moment and celebrate the special relationship between our countries.”

Jill Biden was only 2 years old when Elizabeth was crowned in June 1953. She held the throne for seven decades before her death last September at the age of 96.

While in London, Jill Biden will engage in soft diplomacy before the big event. She is traveling with Finnegan Biden, one of her granddaughters.

The First Lady will spend part of Friday at the Prime Minister’s official residence, No. 10 Downing Street, to meet Akshata Murthy, Prime Minister Risha Sunak’s wife, for the first time. Afterwards, the women will meet with veterans and their families who are participating in the rehabilitation program.

Later, they will visit a school where a coronation event is taking place. The First Lady will also visit the US Embassy to greet staff and their families before ending her day with a reception hosted by King Charles III at Buckingham Palace.

On Saturday, Jill Biden will represent the United States at the coronation at Westminster Abbey among several hundred heads of state, royals from other countries and other guests who have been invited to watch Charles and his wife Camilla be crowned king and queen. Then she will take part in the reception of the US ambassador Jane Hartley.

Jill Biden will also attend a Sunday lunch hosted by Sunak and Murty at their Downing Street residence before flying to Washington.

President Biden received some criticism for skipping the coronation, but the White House cited precedent for his decision. Dwight Eisenhower, who was president in 1953, did not attend Elizabeth’s coronation.

The president and Charles have interacted at global climate events since Biden took office and at the Queen’s funeral last year. They also spoke in April, when Biden called to say he was sending the first lady to the coronation, and the president expressed interest in meeting the king in Britain in the future, the White House said at the time.

First ladies often fill in for presidents when they are unable to attend.

“I like to see the first lady as our representative, and I would be more than happy to have any first lady in attendance,” said Lindsay Reynolds, who was first lady Melania Trump’s White House chief of staff. “I don’t think it’s an offense for the president not to be there.”

Most of the first ladies of the modern era, including Jill Biden, have met members of the British royal family because the late Queen met every American president since Eisenhower except Lyndon Johnson.

Biden was 13th and final US leader to meet the Queen. They saw each other when he visited England in 2021 with his wife to attend the G7 summit. At that time, the Queen also invited the Bidens to tea with her at Windsor Castle.

Jill Biden told The Associated Press in a phone interview after the queen’s death that sitting in her living room was like being with her grandmother.

“And she said, ‘Let me pour the tea,’ and we said, ‘No, no, let’s help,’ and she said, ‘Oh, no, no, no, I’ll take it.’ You sit down,” said the first lady. “And it was a very special moment with a very special woman.”

During this trip, she and Prince William’s wife Kate first met in preschool in south-west England, where they participated in a round-table discussion on the role of early childhood education in life outcomes. They also learned about the care of bunnies.

The First Lady has also met William’s brother Prince Harry several times, thanks to their work and support for military veterans. She joined Harry at the Invictus Games, a sporting event he founded for wounded or ill war veterans.


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