The coronation of King Charles III has drawn scores of politicians, celebrities, and royals from around the world to the opulent ceremony at Westminster Abbey, but one notable face will be absent amid all the celebration: that of American President Joe Biden, who sent his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, and his granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, in his place.
"It is not a snub," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assured Time magazine. Rather, the president explained that he has to attend to previous commitments. He spoke to the king in a 25-minute phone call in April which, the White House said, "underscor[ed] the strength of the relationship between our countries and the friendship between our peoples." During the call, he also explained that the First Lady would be taking his place.
Still, the president's decision has political significance and keeps in line with American tradition: No U.S. president has ever attended the coronation of a British Monarch. Even when President Dwight D. Eisenhower was invited to Queen Elizabeth's ceremony in 1953, he, too, politely declined and opted to send a delegation on his behalf instead.
Furthermore, President Biden has historically expressed skepticism over Britain's imperial history—particularly in the case of its brutal colonization of Ireland, where Biden traces the majority of his ancestral roots.
Nevertheless, the bond between King Charles III and President Biden remains strong—the two have spoken multiple times over the course of the latter's presidency, including in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II's passing, when the president expressed his deep condolences.
The First Lady has also made the most of her visit to London in terms of strengthening the bond between the U.K. and U.S. She has already met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's wife, Akshata Murty, and the two attended a number of events together, including a visit to the Charles Dickens Primary School in central London.
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Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.
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