The White House has announced that President Joe Biden will attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s oldest monarch who died on Thursday at the age of 96.
“This morning, President Biden formally accepted an invitation to attend the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on September 19. He will be accompanied by the First Lady,” the White House announced on Sunday.
On Friday, Mr Biden told reporters he would travel to London for the late Queen’s funeral. He was traveling to Ohio at the time, where he gave a speech about a future semiconductor manufacturing plant being built with federal funding.
Asked if he would take part by attending what is expected to be the largest state funeral held by the British government in over a decade, Mr Biden replied: “Yes”.
“I don’t know the details yet, but I’m going there,” he added. Over the weekend, it was announced that the Queen’s funeral would take place on Monday, September 19.
Mr Biden’s confirmation of his intention to attend the late Queen’s funeral comes just under a day after Buckingham Palace announced the monarch had passed by ‘peacefully’ at Balmoral, his longtime home in Scotland.
In a statement, Mr Biden hailed her as “more than a monarch” and a leader who “defined an era”.
He also credited her with being “a stateswoman of unequaled dignity and steadfastness who has deepened the fundamental alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States”.
“She helped make our relationship special,” he said.
Mr Biden met Her Majesty twice in his capacity as the 46th President of the United States during his June 2021 visit to the UK: once at a reception at the G7 summit in Cornwall and during a a visit to Windsor Castle the next day for tea at the Queen’s invitation.
But these two meetings were not the first time Mr Biden had crossed paths with the Queen. According to a White House review of Mr. Biden’s Senate records, the future president’s first meeting with Her Majesty took place nearly four decades earlier. As a senator from Delaware, he traveled to the UK for a meeting of the Anglo-American parliamentary group.
The Independent Gt