The President of the United States Joe Biden is not attending the coronation of King Charles.
America is instead represented by his wife the First Lady Jill Biden. The couple’s granddaughter Finnegan Biden has also travelled over to the UK for the occasion.
President Biden has opted against attending the coronation, but has denied it is a snub. He has however accepted an invitation for a state visit from the king.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden had accepted the invitation during a recent telephone call. European French president Emmanuel Macron will be in the Abbey, along with Germany and Italy’s ceremonial presidents Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Sergio Mattarella, rather than heads of government Olaf Scholz and Giorgia Meloni.
Chinese vice-president Han Zheng, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese and Pakistani prime minister Shehbaz Sharif will also be there. Iran has not been invited to the King’s coronation – joining a list that includes Russia, Belarus, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela.
Why is President Biden not at the coronation?
The President declined an invite to attend the coronation at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 May. However he has sent First Lady Jill Biden instead, who is joined by the couple’s granddaughter Finnegan Biden.
It is the first time the family of a sitting President has attended the coronation of a British monarch. Washington has worked hard to refute claims that the president’s choice to skip the event was meant as a snub.
No US leader has ever attended the crowning of a King or Queen since the country gained its independence in the 18th century.
Mrs Biden visited Charles Dickens Primary School children on Friday (5 May). Before getting up to leave for a tour of the school, the first lady told the pupils: “Nice to see you all, have fun tomorrow. I’ll be thinking about all of you.”
She also visited a Y6 music lesson and listened to pupils play guitars, a cello and a double bass to perform Lovely, a song by American artist Billie Eilish. After the performance, Mrs Biden said: “This was a treat, thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.”
Biden accepts state visit invite
The President may not be attending the coronation, but he has accepted an invite for a state visit. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “He congratulated the King on his upcoming coronation, they have a very friendly conversation, he has a good relationship with the King.
“He talked about how he enjoyed visiting the Queen back in 2021 when he and the First Lady came to Windsor and he hoped to visit again soon. Actually, during the call the King offered for him to come and do a state visit which the president accepted.
“So they will see each other again very soon, they have a very good relationship, there are many things that they both care about, key shared values, key shared issues, that they want to continue to discuss like climate change. And that conversation will continue in the visit in the near future.”