Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926 and grew up in palaces and castles; Joe Biden was born 16 years later in Scranton, Penn. Their backgrounds couldn’t be more different, but they have many characteristics in common.
Both have chosen a life of public service and continue to work well beyond the usual retirement age. Each has a famous sense of humor, but has also worked hard to overcome traits that others may have found limiting: she is a naturally reserved woman; he has a stutter. Both are heads of large families to which they dedicate themselves, even when those same relatives are a source of anguish and negative headlines.
Until a reception and dinner during this week’s G7 summit in Cornwall, England, the monarch and the president had not met since 1982, according to White House reporters. However, the first impressions of that brief encounter were those of two professionals at ease with each other, comfortable on the world stage and with their attention focused on their encounter.
On Sunday, as the G7 summit ended, Joe and Jill Biden flew to Windsor Castle for a one-on-one meeting with the Queen, which included an inspection by an honor guard and afternoon tea. No other leader had that opportunity, but no other leader is as important to the future of the United Kingdom as the President of the United States. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau settled for a video audience with the Queen of Canada. And, as with the Trumps’ visit, the Queen was on her dais inside Windsor Castle, waiting for the Bidens to arrive, although no, she did not generate memes by looking at her watch like did it three years ago to ensure that the carefully scheduled schedule was adhered to.
“It was an offensive of charm” on the part of the Queen, CNN’s Kate Bennett said of events the monarch attended at Windsor Castle and earlier at the G7 summit. “The soft power of the royal family should not be underestimated,” explained royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, who suggested that Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s next grand royal tour would be to the United States (previous visits have been performed letter).
The symbolism of the visit to Windsor Castle should not be underestimated either. The Queen has met with 13 of the last 14 presidents of the United States (the exception is Lyndon Johnson), and that frequency speaks to the importance of personal relationships between the monarch and the presidents.
Six takeaways from Sunday’s meeting:
The Queen is a consummate professional
He has been the face of the UK for 69 years and has a reputation for never revealing what he thinks of a politician, no politician. Your experience and interest means you have an encyclopedic knowledge of world leaders and events. After the tea was over, Joe Biden called her “very nice” and said, “She reminded me of my mother.” He then revealed that Elizabeth II had asked him about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Now, we have to talk about her brooch. Really.
When then-President Donald Trump visited her in 2018, social media was lit up with misinformed theories that she was secretly insulting the American leader through her choice of brooches. The whole thing was dubbed Broochgate and his theories were popular and ridiculous, so much so that I and others who studied real jewelry (yes, it’s one thing) spent a lot of time pointing out the many holes in his theories, some big enough. swallow a castle or two.
So for the record: when the Queen first met Joe and Jill Biden at the G7 leaders’ reception and dinner on Friday night, she chose to attach a brooch to her flowery dress that had absolutely no connection whatsoever. specific with none of the countries. Her sorghum brooch, a diamond and gold floral piece representing a sorghum (millet) spray, had been a gift from the President of Botswana in 2007 during a meeting of Commonwealth leaders.
On Sunday, he wore one of his favorites, his Jardine Star brooch, a Victorian diamond star design gifted to the sovereign by Lady Jardine in 1981. It’s “a natural choice for an American presidential visit, given its starry design,” says Lauren Kiehna, who runs a royal jewelry site. The court jeweler. “The Queen has worn the pin at least two other times for presidential meetings: with George HW Bush in 1993, and with her son, George W. Bush, in 2003.”
And given that it was used when meeting with Republican and Democratic presidents, it’s hard to see how it could be seen as anything by a real apolitical.
The queen is back and she’s having fun
After 69 years on the job, he has nothing to prove. He really enjoys his job and likes meeting people. He could have stayed at Windsor Castle, where he took refuge during the pandemic, leaving Prince Charles to lead the royal contingent at the G7. She has the best of excuses: her husband, Prince Philip, died at the age of 99 just two months ago. But she didn’t. Instead, it made more public commitments in the last week than it has since the pandemic began.
If this marked Biden’s entry onto the world stage as President of the United States, then the events of the past few days, culminating in her invitation to tea at Windsor, marked the Queen’s re-entry into her public life of duty. .
Along the way, she caught the media attention of politicians, reminding everyone that, in a crowd of people whose statements or actions could generate headlines around the world, she is the brightest star. As the leaders of the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, gathered around her for a group photo, she asked, “Are you supposed to look like you’re enjoying yourself?” Amid laughter from the politicians, his British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, replied: “Yes.”
Earlier, at a community luncheon organized to thank area volunteers “for their efforts to support their communities through the challenges of the past year,” as the royal press release explained, the Queen asked Col. Edward Bolitho, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, surrender. his ceremonial sword (specifically a Mamluk sword, supposedly the Duke of Wellington’s favorite weapon).
The little monarch wanted the sword to cut a cake, even though it was almost half her height. When gently reminded that a cake knife had been provided, she replied, “I know there is! This is something more unusual. “In the end, the combination of a heavy sword, 95-year-old gloved hands, and the need to keep holding her purse turned out to be too much. Her daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who likes to use such weapons to cut cakes, he finished the royal duty for the queen.
During the visit to Windsor Castle, she looked relaxed and confident. He has held dozens, if not hundreds, of similar events and knows exactly what to do and how everything should look.
His staff are consummate professionals
They knew that everyone would compare this visit to Windsor Castle to three years earlier. Everything had to be viewed to be equal, whether the guest of honor is a Republican or Democratic president. They want the focus to be on the meeting itself, not speculation as to whether the queen was making her pleasure or displeasure known through the ceremonial aspects of the short visit.
So while the inspected soldiers may have changed (Grenadier Guards in 2021; Coldstream Guards in 2018), virtually nothing else changed. The Buckingham Palace operational notes that explained what would happen during Donald and Melania Trump’s visit to Windsor Castle in 2018 are almost word for word the same as those for President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill’s visit.
The only thing that is beyond their control is whether the visiting head of state has actually read the informational material and knows exactly where to stand and how to proceed. Three years ago, Donald Trump blocked the queen’s path during his inspection of the honor guard. He seemed unsure where he should go next, although the Queen ignored the misstep, directed him to his required position, and continued as if nothing unusual had happened. When it was Biden’s turn, the Democratic president seemed hesitant as he inspected the honor guard (although he had clearly been briefed) and seemed happier when that part of the visit was over.
The queen is 95
The Queen did not accompany Biden as he inspected the honor guard as she did with Trump in 2018, a significant change. The probable reason is that most unspeakable reality: She is three years older than when the last American president arrived by helicopter at Windsor Home Park to have tea with her.
When you’re in your early thirties, three years is a long time, especially for a monarch whose husband died two months earlier and who spent the last few days entertaining the G7 leaders, as well as marking her own official birthday with a Trooping the Color the size of a pandemic. in the same place within the walls of Windsor Castle.
And that brings us to the next item.
Donald Trump can still boast of a royal exclusive
The queen accompanied him as he inspected the honor guard, which appears to be the only time he has done that for a foreign head of state in Britain.
After the event, Trump boasted that the Queen “reviewed her honor guard for the first time in 70 years, I am told. We walked in front of the Honor Guard and it was very inspiring to see and be with her. “Her statement was initially ridiculed: Queen Elizabeth II has inspected countless honor guards in her life. However, her confusing account contained nuggets of truth. Because When foreign heads of state came to Britain, they were usually accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip. Three royal experts and I searched for research books and couldn’t find any other examples of the queen walking alongside a foreign head of state while that leader was inspecting a guard of honor in Britain.
Joe Biden seemed a little nervous
Biden has been on the world stage for years, but even he seemed a bit unsure of himself during this public event, which was filled with military pomp and royal ceremony. He was on the queen’s court, playing by their rules, and it showed. At one point, squinting in the strong sun, he reached into his pocket as if to retrieve his aviator sunglasses, which he had removed earlier. Then he looked at the Queen and, perhaps thinking better of the action, stopped. (And no, Biden initially wearing sunglasses in bright sunshine is no mistake; the Queen has done the same in previous engagements. Just google “Queen sunglasses”.When Donald Trump met the Queen again in 2019 for a state visit to Buckingham Palace, he looked so nervous and restrained that his trademark aggressive handshake was reduced to an awkward fist bump.
Jill Biden, on the other hand, seemed like she was having a great time. On the other hand, he has spent years in the classroom. There is no training to handle pressure like being a teacher.