LONDON — They met Friday at the Group of Seven summit, but President Joe Biden and the first lady had an altogether more private meeting with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday at her home in Windsor Castle.
The monarch, 95, received the Bidens for tea at her historic residence about 30 miles west of London. They were greeted with an official Guard of Honor military parade, which gave a royal salute and played the U.S. national anthem.
Biden stood next to the queen in the sunshine, wearing his aviator sunglasses, before inspecting the troops in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, last seen on television during the somber funeral ceremony for her husband, Prince Philip, who died at 99 in April.
The queen, who has stoically continued with her official duties since then, met Biden alongside other world leaders and their spouses Friday at the G-7 summit by the seaside in Cornwall in southwest England.
There, she amused leaders when she quipped during a photo call: “Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourselves?”
Biden, who first met the queen in 1982 as a Democratic senator from Delaware, said after the meeting that she was “extremely gracious.”
“I don’t think she’ll be insulted, but she reminded me of my mother,” Biden said as he boarded Air Force One, remarking on “the look of her and the generosity.” Biden also confirmed that he invited her to visit the White House.
Biden is the 13th serving president Elizabeth has met. As queen, she has met every serving president since Dwight D. Eisenhower — except Lyndon B. Johnson, who did not travel to Britain while in office. As a 25-year-old princess in 1951, she also stayed with President Harry S. Truman and his family in Washington.
The queen has hosted four other presidents at Windsor Castle in recent years, including Donald Trump, who shocked reporters and palace pundits in 2018 when he breached royal protocol by walking ahead of the queen, at times blocking her view and giving her his back.
After a state visit in 2019, Trump told Fox News: “There are those that say they have never seen the queen have a better time.”
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On her arrival in England last week, first lady Jill Biden told reporters that meeting the queen was “an exciting part of the visit for us.”
She also undertook a separate engagement with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, when the two visited a school Friday.
The duchess said during the visit that she was looking forward to meeting her new niece, Lilibet Diana, who was born in California this month.
Britain’s royal family has had a turbulent year in the public eye following a bombshell interview given by the queen’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.
The couple stunned viewers with allegations of royal racism — which the palace denied — while Meghan spoke publicly about how royal life and media pressure had taken its toll on her mental health.
After taking private afternoon tea with the queen Sunday, Biden flew to nearby Brussels on Sunday evening for a NATO summit. He heads to Switzerland on Wednesday for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Biden said the queen had asked about Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.