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President Biden, First Lady arrive at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrived on Monday to pay their last respects to the late British monarch Queen Elizabeth II – after getting stuck in a traffic standstill en route.

The presidential limousine, nicknamed “The Beast,” pulled up in front of the 13th-century Westminster Abbey, and the 79-year-old president and his 71-year-old wife got out and walked towards the entrance.

The armored limousine had previously stopped in front of a café in central London.

The First Lady wore a black knee-length skirt which she paired with a blazer and complemented her look with a matching fascinator. Biden wore a classic black suit.

The President and Dr. Biden entered the memorial service holding hands and were escorted to their seats 14 rows back in the south transept. The Commander-in-Chief sat behind Polish President Andrzej Duda and in front of the leader of the Czech Republic.

In the meantime, the First Lady has settled next to the representative of Switzerland.

President Biden's limousine arrives at Westminster Abbey in London.
President Biden’s limousine arrives at Westminster Abbey in London.
Getty Images
President Biden and the First Lady, holding hands, entered the memorial service site.
President Biden and the First Lady, holding hands, entered the memorial service site.
REUTERS

They were among hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries who were expected to fill Westminster Abbey for the funeral of the longest-serving monarch, who died on September 8 aged 96.

Despite the long-standing special relationship between the two nations, Britain’s official invitation to the US was “for the President and First Lady only,” according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

That left no room for the Bidens to invite any of the previous presidents, all of whom had met the Queen during their tenure.

The President and First Lady arrived in London on Saturday and paid their respects the next day by stopping at Westminister Hall and skipping lines that lasted up to 24 hours when people wanted to see the Queen’s coffin.

dr Biden wore a black skirt suit, which she combined with a fascinator.
dr Biden wore a black skirt suit, which she combined with a fascinator.
Reuters
The US President is among a crowd of dignitaries at Westminster Abbey.
The US President is among a crowd of dignitaries at Westminster Abbey.
REUTERS

Biden made the sign of the cross upon arrival and placed his hand on his heart while paying his respects. Both signed the Queen’s official book of condolences at Lancaster House on Sunday.

He later said the Queen stood out from the “awful number of important people” he had met, saying: “She was the same in person as her picture. Decent, honorable and all about service.”

The Bidens’ appearance heightened security concerns for what is likely to be the largest gathering of world leaders and royalty on British soil.

Her invitation also reportedly sparked anger among other dignitaries, who were forced to park and ride the bus to the service – while Biden was given permission to use his armored Cadillac, known as “the Beast.”

The President and his wife go to their seats before the funeral service begins.
The President and his wife go to their seats before the funeral service begins.
REUTERS
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President Biden sits next to his wife Jill amidst other heads of state.
Reuters

The Queen’s state funeral is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. local time – 6 a.m. ET – at Westminster Abbey, where she married Prince Philip in 1947 and had her official coronation in 1953.

Towards the end of the hour-long service, which will be led by David Hoyle, Dean of Westminster, a two-minute silence will be observed across Britain.

The national anthem ends the funeral at 12 noon in the UK and 7am in New York.

From there her coffin is taken on a final tour of London and greeted with gunfire as it is driven in the state hearse to Windsor for a funeral service at St George’s Chapel, near Windsor Castle.

Members of the Royal Family will then hold a private funeral service at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, where the Queen will be buried.

The remains of her late husband Philip are then placed next to his 73-year-old wife.

The Duke of Edinburgh was buried privately in the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel after his death on April 9, 2021. He was 99 years old.

Biden signed a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London on Sunday.
Biden signed a book of condolence at Lancaster House in London on Sunday.
AP

Biden had previously spoken to the new king, Charles III, and “expressed his desire to continue a close relationship with the king,” the White House said.

He also “affectionately recalled the Queen’s kindness and hospitality” and “conveyed the American people’s deep admiration for the Queen, whose dignity and steadfastness deepened the enduring friendship and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom,” White said House said last Wednesday.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/19/president-biden-first-lady-arrive-for-queen-elizabeth-iis-funeral/ President Biden, First Lady arrive at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

JACLYN DIAZ

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