Joe Biden to decline invitation to King Charles' coronation

Biden to skip coronation

Joe Biden will not attend King Charles' coronation.

The 80-year-old US president has been invited to Westminster Abbey in London on 6 May to see the British monarch formally crowned alongside his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, but he is "not expected" to be among the dozens of heads of state in attendance for the event and will send a delegation in his place.

But sources told the Daily Telegraph newspaper they don't want the decision to be viewed as a snub so high-profile representatives will be sent, with one possibility under consideration being that First Lady Jill Biden could attend in her husband's place.

Dame Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the US, and Buckingham Palace aides are believed to have had "cordial and diplomatic" talks with the White House but were told the president already has other commitments.

Biden is believed to be preparing to announce his intention to stand for re-election next year, and he is planning to visit Northern Ireland in April.

A source highlighted the president's age and said: "Foreign travel takes a fair amount out of him.

“They try to restrict it to the essentials, and they may just think twice about crossing the Atlantic twice in quick succession. They may think that he came to [Queen Elizabeth's] funeral, and that’s kind of enough.”

Another insider stressed the president has a "strong" relationship with the king, and the two men may meet during his Northern Ireland trip.

However, MP Bob Seely, who sits on the foreign affairs select committee, said the move was a "foolish decision".

He said: “It seems pretty remiss, and I’m tempted to say more fool him for not coming.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you would have thought he should come because he’s a head of state.

“If I was the President of the United States, I would come to the Coronation of the King of England – there’s no two ways about it. It just seems to be a foolish decision.”

But Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the defence select committee, said: “Whilst we’d hope Joe Biden would be invited, there is no historical protocol for a US president to attend royal coronations, so we should not read too much into any absence. America will be represented, and it will be telling who the president chooses to send.”

A senior US official suggested no final decisions had been made, while another source said the plan to decline the invitation was "not locked and loaded" and remained "technically in play".

When Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth - who died last September - was coronated in 1953, America's then-President Dwight Eisenhower wasn't in attendance, with a delegate taking his place to represent the US instead.

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