Joe Biden refuses to go to coronation, but his wife and granddaughter are going
First Lady Jill Biden and her granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, are set to attend King Charles III's coronation ceremony in London. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden faces accusations of being disrespectful for not attending the event.
Finnegan, the daughter of Hunter Biden, will join the first lady as a guest at Westminster Abbey, with no official delegation from the White House.
White House Defends Decision
The first lady’s office said, "There is no official U.S. delegation. Finnegan is a plus one. As we’ve noted before with other family travel, historically, family members of Presidents have frequently joined them during travel. Current practices are consistent with those used by prior Administrations."
Jill Biden will make history as the first U.S. first lady to attend the coronation of a British monarch on Saturday.
She expressed her excitement about the trip, stating, "It's an honor to represent the United States for this historic moment and celebrate the special relationship between our countries," in a tweet.
President Biden Skips Coronation
President Joe Biden's decision to skip the coronation has been perceived as a snub by some critics. However, the White House has stated that the president maintains a strong relationship with King Charles and eagerly anticipates meeting him in the United Kingdom at a later date.
The White House also noted that no sitting U.S. president has ever attended the coronation of a British monarch.
Trump Criticizes Biden's Absence
Former President Donald J. Trump called Biden's decision to send his wife instead of attending the event "very disrespectful."
In an interview with British commentator Nigel Farage, Trump said, "I don't think he can do it physically, actually. I think it's hard for him to do it physically. Certainly, he should be here. He's our representative of our country."
First Lady's Packed Schedule
Jill and Finnegan Biden will participate in receptions and meetings at Downing Street, the British government's headquarters, during their London visit.
Jill Biden is scheduled to meet Akshata Murty, wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Friday afternoon at 10 Downing Street. The pair will also engage with veterans and their families and attend a local primary school's Coronation fair.
In the evening, Jill Biden will attend a Buckingham Palace reception hosted by King Charles.
Saturday's agenda includes the coronation ceremony in the morning and a reception held by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley in the evening.
On Sunday, Jill Biden will join Sunak and Murty for a “Coronation Big Lunch” at 10 Downing Street before heading back to Washington, D.C.
A Toned-Down Coronation
King Charles's coronation will be more subdued compared to his mother's, Queen Elizabeth II, in June 1953.
The ceremony will be shorter and have a smaller audience, with at most 2,800 guests.
Charles will be anointed with oil, receive the traditional symbols of the monarch, and have the St. Edwards Crown placed on his head for the first time. His wife Camilla will be crowned as queen consort.