WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Jill Biden celebrated the athleticism and bravery of wounded servicemen with Prince Harry. She also discussed with Princess Kate the importance of early childhood education. And she sipped on tea poured by the Queen.
The first lady has returned to London for a second royal engagement. Joe Biden sent his wife to represent America at the coronation on Saturday of King Charles III. The eldest child of the late Queen. A British coronation has never been attended by an American president.
Jill Biden, before taking off for London on Thursday, tweeted: 'Headed to U.K. to witness the Coronation King Charles III. First in 70 years!" It's an honour to represent the United States at this historic moment, and celebrate the special relationships between our two countries.
Jill Biden had just turned 2 when Elizabeth was crowned Queen in June 1953. She held the throne from 1953 until her death in September last year at age 96.
Jill Biden will be engaging in soft diplomacy in London before the big event. She will be traveling with Finnegan Biden - one of her grandchildren.
The first lady is spending part of her Friday at 10 Downing St., the official residence of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The first lady will spend part of Friday at No. The women will then meet with veterans, their families and those participating in a wellness and health program.
Later, they will visit a school hosting an event on the coronation. She will then visit the U.S. embassy to meet staff and their family members before concluding her day with a reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles III.
Jill Biden, who represents the United States, will be at the coronation of Charles and Camilla at Westminster Abbey on Saturday. She will sit amongst several hundred head of state, royalty from other countries, and other invited guests. She will then attend a reception held by the U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley.
Jill Biden is also expected to attend a Sunday Luncheon at the Downing Street home of Sunak and Murty before she returns to Washington.
Biden's decision to skip the coronation has been criticized, but White House officials have cited precedents as justification. Dwight Eisenhower did not attend Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.
Charles and the president have spoken at climate conferences since Biden's appointment, as well as during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II last year. The two also spoke when Biden called in April to tell the first lady that he would be sending her to the coronation. At the same time, the White House reported, the president expressed an interest in meeting the king at a later date in the United Kingdom.
When the presidents are not present, first ladies can often fill in.
Lindsay Reynolds, former White House chief-of-staff to Melania Trump, said: 'I would have loved for any other first lady to be there.' I don't believe it's a slight to the president that he won't be there.
Jill Biden is one of many modern-era First Ladies who have interacted with members of the British Royal Family. The late Queen Elizabeth II had met all American Presidents since Eisenhower except Lyndon Johnson.
Biden was only the 13th U.S. president to meet Queen Elizabeth II. In 2021, he and his wife visited England to attend a summit of world leaders called the Group of Seven. The queen invited the Bidens at the time to tea at Windsor Castle.
Jill Biden said in a phone interview with The Associated Press after the death of Queen Elizabeth II that being in her living-room was like sitting next to your grandmother.
"And she said: Let me pour the Tea" and we said: "No, No, let us Help", and she replied, Oh, no. The first lady told us to sit down. It was a special moment shared with a special woman.
Kate and she met at a southwest England preschool where they took part in a roundtable on the importance of early childhood education for life outcomes. The children also learned how to care for bunny-rabbits.
She has also met Prince Harry several times, through their shared support for veterans and work. She joined Harry at the Invictus Games - an athletic competition that he created for injured or sick veterans.