May 6 will mark the first time a Coronation has been held for a British monarch in 70 years, since Queen Elizabeth II’s own Coronation in June 1953—and, it seems, U.S. President Joe Biden is not planning to attend the historic event.
The Telegraph reports, per People, that Biden “is not expected” to attend King Charles’ ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London because of scheduling conflicts and will send a delegation in his place—though the outlet did note that Biden’s May schedule has not yet been finalized. If he opts not to attend, Biden will likely send another high-profile delegate in his place, like his wife, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
Despite this potential snub, sources close to Biden tell The Telegraph that the president’s relationship with Charles remains “strong.” The source also said there “may still be some efforts underway to see if Biden can be persuaded to come to the Coronation.” A second source said his plans were “not locked and loaded” and he was still “technically in play.”
Roughly a month ago, a White House source told Time that Charles’ Coronation “does not feel like an event Joe Biden will attend,” despite his attendance at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral last September. Biden will be in Ireland in April for a five-day trip to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Good Friday peace accord, which was negotiated in part by the U.S. The Mirror reports that Biden might link up with Charles during his visit to Northern Ireland on April 11 instead of attending the May 6 event.
“It seems pretty remiss, and I’m tempted to say more fool him for not coming,” said Bob Seely, Conservative MP and member of the foreign affairs select committee. “This is a once in a lifetime event, and you would have thought he should come because he’s a head of state. It just seems to be a foolish decision.”
And, for historical context, at the last Coronation in 1953, Dwight Eisenhower was president, and he did not attend Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation himself—instead sending four high-ranking officials in his place: George C. Marshall, Omar N. Bradley, Earl Warren, and Fleur F. Cowles.
“Whilst we’d hope Joe Biden would be invited, there is no historical protocol for a U.S. president to attend royal Coronations, so we should not read too much into any absence,” said Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defense select committee. “America will be represented, and it will be telling who the president chooses to send.”
Meanwhile, still no official word on another U.S. delegation we're curious about: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The RSVP deadline for the Coronation is reportedly tomorrow.
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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