Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Queen hosts Bidens for afternoon tea at Windsor Castle

The president said the Queen reminded him of his mother.

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Queen Elizabeth greeted President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Sunday – the 13th sitting president the 95-year-old monarch has met in her reign.

Biden and his wife shared afternoon tea with the monarch at Windsor Castle, her family home, at the end of the G7 summit and as he wraps up the British leg of his first international trip since taking office.

The British monarch greeted the Bidens in the Quadrangle of the castle, home to the royal family for nearly 1,000 years and where she has spent much of her time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

After their arrival, a Guard of Honour of the Queen’s Company Grenadier Guards gave a Royal Salute, and the US National Anthem was played, the first couple standing on either side of the Queen. The president then inspected the guard.

The role of escorting a visiting head of state to inspect the troops was usually carried out by the Duke of Edinburgh before he retired in 2017. Prince Philip died in April, aged 99.

The first couple then took afternoon tea with Her Majesty.

Speaking afterwards, Biden said they had spoken about Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping.

“We had a long talk,” he said. “She was very generous. I don’t think she’d be insulted but she reminded me of my mother. In terms of the look of her and just the generosity. She was very gracious.”

He added: “She said, ‘What’s it like in the White House?’ I said, ‘Well it’s magnificent but it’s a lot of people’.”

The Queen had already met the Bidens on their visit to Britain, having hosted a reception for the leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations and their spouses on Friday night in Cornwall, on the southwest tip of England where a three-day summit took place.

She drew laughter from those attending when she posed for a group photo.

“Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?” Elizabeth said.

On Saturday, Elizabeth celebrated her 95th birthday by watching a scaled back Trooping the Colour parade at Windsor Castle, which included a flyover by the Red Arrows, the Royal Air Force aerobatic team.

The Queen, 95, first met a serving US president, Harry S Truman, as Princess Elizabeth in 1951.

She has since met all 14 elected US leaders during her 69 years on the throne, except for Lyndon B Johnson.

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