President Biden and first lady Jill Biden showed up fashionably late for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral and were relegated 14 rows back in Westminster Abbey’s nosebleed seats following what many see as a breach of decorum and lack of respect.
(Video Credit: 11Alive)
The funeral on Monday was packed with world leaders and dignitaries, but the so-called leader of the free world was seated way back in what the British press described as the result of a complex seating plan devised under long-established protocols, according to the Daily Wire. To many, it appeared to be a well-deserved slight considering the embarrassingly late arrival of the American leaders.
The First Couple was not ushered immediately to their seats on their arrival at Westminster Abbey. They had to be gently told they would need to stand and wait as a procession of George and Victoria Cross-holders went ahead of them down the nave of the abbey, according to The Guardian.
After an awkward period of small talk at the main entrance, as those awarded the highest decorations of military valor preceded them, the Bidens finally followed in the wake of Victoria Cross-holder Pte. Johnson Beharry, pushing the wheelchair of Keith Payne VC, 89.
Better seating was awarded to the president of Poland, the emperor and empress of Japan, other European royals, and the King of Jordan.
— Voice of America (@VOANews) September 19, 2022
“Biden isn’t very ego-driven but he’s going to be near the front,” Lord Renwick, who served as British ambassador to the United States in the early 1990s, told the Times in an interview. “[French President] Macron would have hysterics if he wasn’t given a place of honor. [German Chancellor] Olaf Scholz wouldn’t care. You’ve got to say to yourself: ‘Who is going to have a hissy fit?’”
The American power couple was given one privilege that other leaders were not allotted and were understandably miffed over. They were permitted to ride to the affair in the presidential limo, dubbed “The Beast,” rather than by bus. The reason for that allowance is that U.S. Secret Service protocols dictate that the president travels by armored car with a security detail on hand.
American President comes to a standstill in London traffic near Marble Arch. Might as well have taken the bus. pic.twitter.com/lJ2nNE5kC9
— Joe Armitage (@joe_armitage) September 19, 2022
Renwick asserted that it is standard procedure for the American president to be afforded special exemptions that other world leaders are denied.
“We don’t permit huge swarms of protectors to be around them, although you have to rein off for the president of the United States. He is always surrounded by Secret Service agents wherever he goes,” he noted.
Approximately 2,000 mourners packed into Westminster Abbey for the service and to say goodbye to Queen Elizabeth. She passed away on Sept. 8 at the age of 96 after ruling for 70 years. The first two rows were occupied by King Charles and the royal family. The Bidens were seated next to Swiss President Ignazio Cassis.
Following the service, Queen Elizabeth was buried at Windsor Castle.
Just two and a half hours after the service, the Bidens jetted back to the United States according to The Independent.
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