In London, Vice President Joe Biden said Queen Elizabeth II was 'decent, honorable, and all about service.'

In London, Vice President Joe Biden said Queen Elizabeth II was "decent, honorable, and all about service."

In London, Vice President Joe Biden said Queen Elizabeth II was 'decent, honorable, and all about service.'
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden look at Queen Elizabeth II's coffin, which is lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, London, on Sunday, September 18, 2022.(Joe Giddens/Pool Photo via AP)

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden paid their respects to Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, visiting her casket in state in Westminster Hall in London and signing condolence books at Lancaster House.

According to the President, the Queen is "the same in person as her image — decent, honorable, and all about service."

"We've got the opportunity to meet with a large number of influential people. But I can tell you that the ones that stick out in your mind are individuals whose interactions and relationships with you are consistent with their reputation "Biden made the remarks after signing a condolence book on Sunday evening.

Biden, who has frequently voiced his personal grief, also conveyed sympathies to the Royal Family and the whole United Kingdom, adding, "It's a devastating loss that leaves you feeling as if you'll never recover. But, as I've assured the King, she'll be by his side every step of the way."

Because of her demeanor, Biden claimed the Queen reminded him of his late mother "She gave me the 'Are you okay?' look. Is there anything I can help you with? 'What do you require?' 'Make sure you're doing what you're meant to do,' he adds."

Biden took his time signing a lengthy condolence statement in the book. Jill Biden signed a separate condolence book at Lancaster House for leader spouses, saying in part, "Queen Elizabeth II lived her life with wisdom and compassion for the people she served. We will never forget her compassion and warmth, as well as the chats we had."

Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to the UK, had earlier joined the Bidens on their visit to Westminster Hall. The President was observed making the cross sign.

The Bidens will also attend a banquet for visiting foreign leaders held by Britain's new king, Charles III, on Sunday at Buckingham Palace.

The President landed in London late Saturday for a two-day visit to celebrate the long-reigning monarch, whom he describes as having "shaped an era."

Biden will be joined by leaders from dozens of other countries in paying their respects to the late sovereign, whom he met last year and said reminded him of his own mother.

For Biden, it is an opportunity to reflect on a monarch who exemplified public service and whose life spanned the great historical events of the previous century.

Biden and the Queen first met in 1982, when Biden was a rookie senator and his Irish American mother told him, "Don't bow down to her."

He didn't bow then, or when he met the Queen as president during a Group of Seven meeting in England last year. But his admiration for a lady whose tenacity on the international stage over the last century has been palpable.

"She was a lovely person. We're overjoyed that we got to meet her "Biden stated on the day she died.

The Queen's unexpected choice to fly to the Cornish coast last year to meet international leaders for the G7 meeting signaled her wish to remain involved in global issues.

Later that week, when she welcomed Biden and the first lady for tea at Windsor Castle, she enquired about two authoritarian leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the President later informed reporters.

"She was really inquisitive. She was interested in American politics and what was going on. As a result, she put us at ease "Jill Biden recently stated in an interview with NBC.

Biden will encounter Charles for the first time since he became King at the event on Sunday evening. The two guys have already met and chatted over the phone last week.

As Prince of Wales, Charles was an outspoken advocate for themes that Biden has also championed, such as tackling climate change. It remains to be seen how interested the next King will be in these matters in the future.

Charles, 73, and Biden, 79, are quite similar in age and have both spent decades in the public spotlight before taking on their present responsibilities as heads of state.

Biden "conveyed the enormous admiration of the American people for the Queen, whose dignity and steadfastness reinforced the lasting friendship and special connection between the United States and the United Kingdom," the White House said of his chat with the King. "President Biden expressed his desire to maintain close ties with the King."

Security in London is at an all-time high as Biden and scores of other foreign leaders gather to memorialize the late Queen, who visited 13 sitting US presidents during her reign.

White House officials have declined to give detailed security specifics for the President's visit, but they have stated that they are working effectively with their British colleagues to ensure presidential security requests are satisfied.

Plans for the Queen's burial have been in the works for years, giving US advisers a better understanding of what will happen in the coming days as they prepare security plans. According to the White House, only the President and First Lady were invited, resulting in a smaller American imprint.

Biden flew to London on Air Force One with his national security adviser, communications director, and other personal aides.

When allegations surfaced last week that foreign leaders would be obliged to commute on a bus to the burial, US authorities were doubtful, dismissing Biden's offer that he drive to Westminster Abbey in a coach.

When other international leaders boarded a bus to visit a World War I memorial in Paris in 2018, then-US President Donald Trump drove himself. At the time, the White House said that the separate travel was necessary "due to security measures."

The Queen's death occurred during a period of economic and political instability in the United Kingdom. Liz Truss, the new prime minister, took office after months of uncertainty following the resignation of her predecessor, Boris Johnson.

Truss has asked many visiting international leaders to meet separately this weekend at 10 Downing Street. Truss will be meeting several of her overseas counterparts for the first time after only a little more than a week in the post.

While her office first said that Biden would be among the leaders visiting Downing Street, it was later revealed that Truss and the President will meet for official bilateral discussions on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday.

A number of challenges are presently putting the US-UK "special relationship" to the test, which has been constantly lauded in the days after the Queen's death.

The Queen died only two days after Truss came to Balmoral Castle in Scotland to formally accept the Queen's nomination as prime minister. The country has been in a state of mourning since then.

Truss inherited a profound economic crisis, exacerbated by rising inflation and skyrocketing energy prices, which has fanned predictions that the UK would shortly enter a lengthy recession. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the issues, causing instability in the oil and gas markets.

While few in the Biden administration wept over Johnson's retirement (Biden famously characterized him as Trump's "physical and emotional clone"), the US and UK were closely unified in their approach to Russia during his leadership.

Officials at the White House anticipate that collaboration will continue under Truss, even as she faces pressure to relieve domestic economic strains.

Less certain is whether Truss' tough stance on Brexit would damage relations with Biden. The President has expressed a personal interest in the Northern Ireland Protocol, a post-Brexit arrangement requiring additional inspections on goods transiting between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The restrictions were enacted in order to maintain the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland open and to prevent a return to sectarian bloodshed. Truss, on the other hand, has tried to modify those guidelines, creating widespread concern in both Brussels and Washington.

Biden, who frequently mentions his Irish ancestors, has made his feelings on the matter apparent, despite the fact that it does not directly impact the United States. Congressional Democrats have expressed similar alarm about any moves that may rekindle the Northern Ireland conflict.

According to the White House, Biden brought up the issue with Truss during their first phone contact as counterparts earlier this month. They highlighted a "shared commitment to preserve the benefits of the Belfast/Good Friday Deal and the need of obtaining a negotiated agreement with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol," according to a US readout of their talk.

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