First Lady Jill Biden has opened up about her visit to the United Kingdom to represent the United States at the coronation of Britain’s King Charles III.
Dr Biden, who attended the lavish ceremony along with granddaughter Finnegan Biden, spoke of her delight after witnessing the historical event, which took place at Westminster Abbey in London. The first lady said it was an “honour” to attend the royal ceremony.
“You can’t imagine that moment where you actually see the crown being placed on the head of the king and then on the head of the queen,” the first lady told The Associated Press during a phone interview on Saturday. “It’s really surreal to see and experience that moment.”
“It was so meaningful to me that I could bring Finnegan here, that we could travel together and experience this together and it’s meant a lot to both of us,” she added.
President Joe Biden asked his wife to represent the US in his stead, marking the first time that a US first lady was present for a British coronation, according to the White House. Dr Biden and her granddaughter donned stylish pastel blue and yellow gowns, respectively, and seemed in high spirits at the once-in-a-generation event.
They sat next to Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska. Addressing Kyiv’s ongoing conflict with Moscow, Dr Biden said Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s message of hope and joy had touched her.
“And I thought that was such a strong message because I think that is true,” she said. “And it’s true for all people everywhere, but I think it was important at this moment that the clergy brought that into this moment in history.”
The first lady said that following the celebration, she and her granddaughter decided to honour British customs and had tea time together.
“I felt as I sat there, I felt this sense of decorum and civility that binds together people of all nations,” she said.
Dr Biden also recounted her chat with Kate Middleton, noting the Princess of Wales had not ruled out the possibility of feeding her children candy to keep them quiet during the coronation. Last year, the princess’ youngest son Louis stole the show during the Queen’s Jubilee Platinum celebrations as he made silly faces and at times appeared deep in conversation with his grandmother.
“[The Princess of Wales] said she didn’t know if her son could sit still for two hours and we just had a good laugh over it,” Dr Biden said about the coronation. “It’s just something, I think, that’s common to a lot of us.”
King Charles III became the 40th reigning monarch to be crowned in a ceremony that involved holy anointing oil and a glove and coronation sword. Charles’ wife, Camilla, was also crowned queen during Britain’s first coronation in 70 years, following Queen Elizabeth II’s death last September.