US First Lady Jill Biden To Attend King Charles' Coronation

No President of the United States has ever attended the coronation of a British monarch. The then-President Dwight Eisenhower had sent a delegation under a diplomatic envoy to attend late Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953.


US First Lady Jill Biden will attend the coronation of King Charles III of UK

US First Lady Jill Biden will attend the coronation of King Charles of the United Kingdom in London on Saturday. 

The UK had invited President Joe Biden but he informed Charles that the First Lady along with a diplomatic delegation will be attending the coronation. 

No Presiden of the United States has ever attended the coronation of a British monarch. The then-President Dwight Eisenhower had sent a delegation under a diplomatic envoy to attend late Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953. 

Besides attending the coronation of Charles, the First Lady will also engage in soft diplomacy. She will meet Akshata Murty, the wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The two are scheduled to attend events together. 


Jill Biden's latest assignment in UK

US First Lady Jill Biden has celebrated the athleticism of wounded service members with Prince Harry, discussed the value of early childhood education with Princess Kate, and sipped tea poured by late Queen Elizabeth II. 

Now the First Lady is back in London for another royal engagement. President Biden has dispatched her to represent the United States at Saturday's coronation of King Charles III, the late queen's eldest son. 

"Headed to the U.K. for the Coronation of King Charles III – the first in 70 years!. It's an honor to represent the United States for this historic moment and celebrate the special relationship between our countries," Jill tweeted before her flight Thursday to London.


Jill was just two-years-old when Elizabeth was crowned in June 1953. She held the throne for seven decades until her death last September at age 96.

Jill Biden's soft diplomacy in London

While in London, US First Lady Jill Biden will engage in some soft diplomacy before the big event. She is traveling with Finnegan Biden, one of her granddaughters. 

The First Lady will spend part of Friday at No. 10 Downing St., the Prime Minister's official residence, to meet for the first time with Akshata Murty, the wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Afterward, the women will meet with veterans and their families participating in a health and wellness program.

Jill and Murty will later visit a school that is hosting an event about the coronation. 

The First Lady will also stop by the US Embassy to greet staff and their families before ending her day at a reception King Charles III is hosting at Buckingham Palace.

On Saturday, Jill will represent the United States at the coronation at Westminster Abbey, seated among several hundred heads of state, royals from other nations and other guests who were invited to watch Charles and his wife, Camilla, be crowned king and queen. Afterward, she will attend a reception hosted by US Ambassador Jane Hartley.


Jill Biden will also mingle at a Sunday luncheon hosted by Sunak and Murty at their Downing Street residence before her flight back to Washington. 

Unwarranted criticism of Biden for skipping invitation

President Biden has received some criticism for skipping the coronation, but the White House has cited precedent for his decision. No US President has ever attended the coronation of the British monarch. 

Moreover, Biden attended the funeral of the Queen last year. 

The president and Charles have interacted at global climate events since Biden took office, and during the Queen's funeral last year. They also spoke in April when Biden called to say he was sending the First Lady to the coronation, and the president expressed interest in meeting with the king in the United Kingdom at a future date, the White House said at the time. 


First Ladies often stand in for presidents when they can't be present.

"I love seeing the first lady as our representative and I would have been thrilled for any first lady to attend. I don't think it is a slight in any way for the president to not be attending," said Lindsay Reynolds, who was first lady Melania Trump's White House chief of staff.

"Indeed, American presidents tend to avoid royal ceremonies of all stripes. Biden did attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September 2022, but that was very much the exception, not the rule," noted Arianne Chernock, Professor of History, Boston University, in an article for The Conversation.


US First Ladies and British Royal Family

Most modern-era Frst Ladies, including Jill Biden, have engaged with members of the British royal family because the late Queen had met every American president since Eisenhower, except for Lyndon Johnson. 

Biden was the 13th and final U.S. leader to meet the Queen. They saw each other when he visited England in 2021 with his wife to participate in a Group of Seven world leader summit. At the time, the Queen also invited the Bidens to have tea with her at Windsor Castle. 

Jill Biden told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after the Queen's death that sitting in her living room was like being with one's grandmother. 


“And she said, Let me pour the tea,' and we said, No, no, let us help,' and she said Oh, no, no, no, I'll get this. You sit down,'” the first lady said. “And it was just a very special moment with a very special woman.”

During that trip, she and Prince William's wife, Kate, met for the first time at a preschool in southwest England where they participated in a roundtable discussion on the role of early childhood education in life outcomes. They also learned about caring for bunny rabbits.

The First Lady also has met William's brother, Prince Harry, several times through their work and support of military veterans. She has joined Harry for the Invictus Games, an athletic competition he founded for wounded or sick military veterans. 


(With AP inputs)