CNN

Jill Biden arrives in London for the pomp and pageantry of King Charles III’s coronation

May 6, 2023, 11:00 AM

First lady Dr. Jill Biden, right, arrived at 10 Downing, where she is meeting with Mrs. Akshata Mur...

First lady Dr. Jill Biden, right, arrived at 10 Downing, where she is meeting with Mrs. Akshata Murty, the spouse of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, kicking off her participation in coronation festivities. Photo credit: Pool

 (CNN) — First lady Dr. Jill Biden has arrived in London, where she is set to bear witness to the full pomp and pageantry of the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, leading the US delegation to this weekend’s highly anticipated events.

“It’s an honor to represent the United States for this historic moment and celebrate the special relationship between our countries,” she said in a tweet Thursday as she departed Washington, DC.

Biden, who is traveling with her granddaughter Finnegan Biden, touched down in England late Thursday evening and takes on a packed schedule of events on the three-day trip. On Friday, she will meet with Mrs. Akshata Murty, wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, at 10 Downing Street.

Together, Biden and Murty will visit with veterans and their families, participating in a health and wellness program before visiting with children at a local primary school hosting a coronation fair, according to the office of the first lady. Biden will also greet US embassy staff and their families in London.

Then it’s the main coronation event on Saturday at Westminster Abbey, which will be a “solemn religious service, as well as an occasion for celebration and pageantry,” conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, according to Buckingham Palace. Biden will also attend a reception in the evening hosted by US Ambassador to the United Kingdom Jane Hartley.

Biden concludes her visit Sunday alongside other heads of state and dignitaries in town for the occasion at a “Coronation Big Lunch” hosted by Sunak and Murty at 10 Downing Street.

While President Joe Biden will not be attending the coronation — US officials have noted that no previous US president has attended a British monarch’s coronation — he told MSNBC in an interview that aired Friday that he had spoken to King Charles ahead of the ceremony

The president said he told King Charles that he may visit the United Kingdom in July while he is in Europe for a NATO summit and hopes to discuss environmental issues — a cause the monarch is passionate about.

Last month, King Charles extended an invitation to the president to come to the United Kingdom for an official state visit, and he accepted, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the time.

The first lady last traveled to the UK with the president in September to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking to CNN in a phone interview during that trip, the first lady said that she had spoken with King Charles about his mother during a private reception with the royal family and other visiting dignitaries on the eve of the funeral service.

“We really talked about the woman, and who she was, and what she meant really to the whole world,” Biden said, adding that she noted to King Charles the human toll of grief.

“He is the king, but, you know, no one should forget he lost his mother, and Prince William lost a grandmother, and sometimes we tend to forget the really human piece there, and the sorrow they have to bear — and how they have to grieve in public. But … they seem to be doing OK,” the first lady said.

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Jill Biden arrives in London for the pomp and pageantry of King Charles III’s coronation