Joe Biden mourns the Queen: US President and First Lady Jill pay their respects to Her Majesty at Westminster Hall before signing book of condolence and saying monarch ‘reminded him of his own mother’
- US President has paid respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state in the Palace of Westminster
- Biden touched his hand to his heart and snapped off a quick salute in a quiet tribute to late monarch
- Comes as French President Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte were spotted walking through London
- Macrons will present the new king with a picture book celebrating the Queen’s visits to France over the years
- They will join King Charles and other world leaders and royals for a reception at Buckingham Palace tonight
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
US President Joe Biden has paid his respects to the late Queen at Westminster Hall today before recalling how the late monarch reminded him of his own mother.
President Biden and First Lady Jill were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen’s coffin this afternoon which is under constant guard and draped in flags.
The American president touched his hand to his heart and appeared to snap off a quick salute to the late monarch in a gesture of respect, before continuing on through the hall.
He later travelled to Lancaster House where he signed the book of condolence, and told reporters that he would remember how the Queen treated everyone with ‘dignity’ and her 70 years of service.
Biden’s visit came moments after French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte were spotted making their way to the Palace of Westminster.
Mr Macron, who is seldom seen out of his trademark blue suit, was seen in a more understated dark navy jacket, charcoal grey trousers and black trainers alongside his wife, who dressed in a similar fashion.
The pair donned sunglasses as they strolled through central London, flanked by aides and security guards.
After paying their respects to the late monarch, Biden and Macron will join King Charles and scores of other world leaders and royals for a reception at Buckingham Palace, where they will present the new king with a book of pictures celebrating the Queen’s visits to France.
Elizabeth’s body has been lying in state at the historic Westminster Hall since Wednesday, and people from all walks of life and from around the world have been filing past in a constant, emotional stream, many queuing overnight.
The American president touched his hand to his heart and appeared to snap off a quick salute to the late monarch in a gesture of respect, before continuing on through the hall
President Biden and First Lady Jill (right), along with US Ambassador Jane Hartley (left) were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen’s coffin, which is under constant guard and draped in flags
The President later travelled to Lancaster House, where he signed the book of condolence for Her Majesty, and told reporters fondly of how she reminded him of his mother
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, London
Biden is seen top left looking down on the Queen’s coffin, as members of the public pay their respects to Her Majesty from the floor of Westminster Hall
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives in London in presidential motorcade following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain, September 18, 2022
French President Emmanuel Macron (C-L) and his wife Brigitte Macron (C-R) arrive at Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II in London, Britain, 18 September 2022. The queen’s funeral will be held on 19 September, following four days of lying in state inside Westminster Hall
Mr Macron, who is seldom seen out of his trademark blue suit, was seen in a more understated dark navy jacket, charcoal grey trousers and trainers alongside his wife, who dressed in a similar fashion
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan (pictured centre) was seen as part of his country’s delegation at Westminster Hall this evening. President Xi Jinping was invited to attend but has not done so
Royal guards stand by Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin lying in state on the catafalque at Westminster Hall on September 18, 2022 in London, England
The Queen’s coffin lies on a dias on the floor of Westminster Hall at the Palace of Westminster. It will remain in place until tomorrow morning, when it will be moved for her funeral at Westminster Abbey
The Macrons were seen donning sunglasses as they strolled through central London today, flanked by aides and security guards
Mr Biden had pulled up to Westminster in his famed armoured limousine, a £1.3 million stretch Cadillac nicknamed ‘The Beast’, where he was met by large crowds of people who cheered his arrival and greeted by Black Rod Sarah Clarke.
The couple were joined by the US ambassador to the UK, Jane Hartley, who bowed her head as she paid her respects to Her Majesty.
Later at Lancaster House he spoke warmly of the late monarch, saying: ‘To all the people of England, to al the people of the United Kingdom, our hearts go out to you’re fortunate to have had her [The Queen] for 70 years, we all were. The world was better for her, we all were.’
He added the Queen had reminded him of his own mother with ‘the way she touched when she leaned over, the way she had that look “Are you ok? Anything I can do for you? What do you need?”.
Wagging his finger he joked: ‘And also, “make sure you do what you’re supposed to do”.’
Mr Biden spoke warmly of the Queen and said she treated people with ‘dignity’, and that the world was lucky to have her 70-year reign. Here he is pictured with Her Majesty at Windsor Castle in June last year
The president was joined by his wife and the US Ambassador on the VIP balcony (pictured left) at Westminster Hall as he paid tribute to the late monarch
After attending Westminster Hall President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden (pictured) signed the book of condolence at Lancaster House
Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine, was pictured paying her respects to the Queen at Westminster Hall earlier today
The president said the Queen treated people with ‘dignity’, adding: ‘I talk about my mother and father, [they] thought that everyone, no matter who they were, no matter what their station, no matter where they’re from, deserved to be treated with dignity.
‘And that’s exactly what she [Her Majesty] communicated, just the way she walked by her staff, just the way she acted. And I think what she gave is a sense of, maybe above all, the notion of service.
‘We all owe something, there’s something in our capacity to do, that can make things, not just the world, but your neighbourhood better, your household better, your workplace better.
‘And that’s what she communicated to me anyway and it was an honour to meet her.’
He made the remarks ahead of a reception at Buckingham Palace being hosted by King Charles II and Queen Consort Camilla this evening, with up to 1,000 VIPs expected to attend.
Those expected to be there include US President Joe Biden, New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau, alongside European royalty and senior members of the British royal family,
Most are expected to view the Queen’s coffin, which will lie in state until tomorrow morning, in the ancient heart of Parliament today after being given a VIP timeslot.
Among those pictured at Westminster Hall today include President Emmanuel Macron of France and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska.
But the list of dignitaries also includes a string of controversial strongmen, including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who was filmed today giving a thunderous speech from the windows of the Brazilian Embassy in London to a cheering crowd waving the national flag.
And today the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia confirmed that Mohammed Bin Salman, known by the abbreviation MBS, had been invited to attend the funeral.
He is set to hold talks with British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Sunday evening, but his presence at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow sparked outrage after Saudi agents brutally murdered and dismembered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018.
China has also announced it will send its vice-president, Wang Qishan, to the funeral. He was pictured attending Westminster Hall this evening as part of the Chinese delegation, amid criticism from some MPs that an invitation was extended to the authoritarian nation.
Members of the delegation were pictured wearing face masks with the Chinese flag printed on them as they made their way along the VIP balcony in the palace.
Due to strained ties, the UK opted to invite ambassadors, not heads of state, from Iran, Nicaragua and North Korea. Meanwhile, Russia and Belarus are among a small group of nations excluded altogether following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and his wife Michelle Bolsonaro were among the world leaders to pay their respects inside Westminster Hall
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived in the UK yesterday and were pictured above getting off a plane at London Stansted Airport yesterday
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s presence at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow has sparked outrage amid his nation’s poor human rights record
The President of Armenia copped flak earlier today for disrespecting the Queen as he took photos and chatted to aides during a visit to see her lying-in-state in Westminster Hall.
Vahagn Khachaturyan, an ally of warmongering Russian president Vladimir Putin, was seen bowing at the late monarch’s coffin as one of his lackies snapped some pictures on his mobile phone.
Bystanders meanwhile claimed the Armenian leader was loudly rabbiting on to his entourage as they trundled along the VIP walkway and down to the floor where Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is lying.
His actions flew in the face of strict rules in the 1,000-year-old chamber which forbid the taking of photos or videos and call for quiet, respectful behaviour.
Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan is snapped by a member of his entourage as he stands at the foot of the Queen’s coffin
Members of the public pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 18, 2022
President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan (left) is seen embracing President of Russia Vladimir Putin in June. His behaviour in Westminster Hall today was criticised by some bystanders
Khachaturyan was seen in June of this year sharing a warm embrace with Putin at a Russian economic conference even as war raged across the border in Ukraine.
One attendee at Westminster Hall told The Sun: ‘There were hundreds of people in that hall – no one was speaking. Only him. Yap, yap, yap, yap. He clearly planned to have his photo taken.
‘He and his aide hold back as the group in front passes the coffin… He knows the rules and would have been told before he went in.’
Another angry source said: ‘Everyone has managed to follow those rules to the very letter – apart from this one individual.’
It is unclear whether Khachaturyan, who remains a close ally of the Kremlin despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, will join other world leaders at the Queen’s funeral tomorrow.
The VIP time slots given to visiting heads of state and foreign dignitaries comes as hundreds of thousands of people queue spend hour after hour lining up to see Her Majesty.
Since Wednesday many had patiently stood in line as they wait to pay their respects, with the queue snaking its way through central London for more than four miles past numerous landmarks including the Tate Modern, the London Eye and Tower Bridge.
Later today officials will stop more people from joining the queue as they look to clear the line before the Queen’s coffin is moved in tomorrow’s funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, where her funeral is being held tomorrow morning.
The Queen: All you need to know following her passing and a look back at her 70-year reign
- What happens on day of the Queen’s funeral?
- Who will be at the Queen’s funeral? From Joe Biden and Jacinda Ardern to European royalty and Her Majesty’s ladies-in-waiting
- Who becomes the Prince of Wales when Charles becomes King?
- How Princess ‘Lilibet’ became the UK’s longest-serving monarch
- What was the Queen really like?
- How the Queen’s family came to celebrate her Majesty’s historic reign during the Platinum Jubilee
- Trains to London for the Queen’s funeral: Which rail services are running?
- PICTURES: Queen’s iconic fashion sense over the last eight decades
- PICTURES: The Queen’s personal jewellery collection – including her engagement ring from Prince Philip
Source: Read Full Article