Moment Biden's Beast gets snarled up in London's roads
Fancy a cup of Joe? Moment Biden’s Beast gets snarled up in London’s roads outside a coffee shop chain en route to King Charles III’s banquet
- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill’s armored limousine came to grinding halt last night ahead of banquet
- Biden and Jill were seen in the back of their presidential car The Beast as it momentarily got stuck in traffic
- The President managed to reach Buckingham Palace last night where he paid his respects to King Charles III
- Today, Biden and Jill attended the Queen’s funeral and they sat 14 rows back in Westminster Abbey
- Other world leaders and foreign dignitaries are traveling to Westminster Abbey in a fleet of buses
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
President Joe Biden’s armored limousine last night came to a grinding halt outside a Pret a Manger coffee shop in central London as the world leader tried to reach King Charles III’s banquet to pay his respects to Queen Elizabeth.
Biden and his wife Jill were seen in the back of their presidential car The Beast as it got stuck in the busy London traffic on Sunday night.
Biden was seen waving to members of the public, who were shocked to see the US President and First Lady drive past them near Marble Arch in central London.
Video shows Biden’s car driving slowly through the streets of London before it came to a brief stop next to a Pret a Manger shopping shop.
A member of London’s Met Police Special Escort Group was seen racing past the Beast on a motorbike to clear the traffic ahead.
The President managed to reach Buckingham Palace last night and joined other world leaders in paying their respects to King Charles ahead of the Queen’s funeral today – in what was described by some as the ‘reception of the century’.
Biden’s armoured limousine, known as the Beast, got snarled up en route outside a Pret a Manger coffee shop in central London last night as he made his way to the banquet
Biden was seen waving to members of the public, who were shocked to see the US President and First Lady drive past them near Marble Arch in central London
Biden and other world leaders, as well as top foreign dignitaries, spent yesterday evening at Buckingham Palace to pay their respects to King Charles ahead of the Queen’s funeral today
His Majesty King Charles III, his wife Camilla, Prince William and his wife Kate greet Joe and Jill Biden during a reception at Buckingham Palace on Sunday night
President Joe Biden accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Buckingham Palace for a State Reception For Heads Of State on Sunday
During one of the largest gatherings of world leaders seen in recent years the newly crowned Monarch and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, greeted Biden and Jill as well as French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, for the glittering but sombre event.
Such a reception involving world leaders and British royals has not seen since the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s father George VI in 1952, more than 70 years ago.
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins was seen being dropped off from a coach along with the former King and Queen Consort of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, before the British royal couple met hundreds of dignitaries, including New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian premier Justin Trudeau.
The Prince and Princess of Wales and other working members of the royal family including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester joined Charles and the Queen Consort in mingling with guests including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and the Kings and Queens from Holland, Norway and Sweden.
Today, Biden travelled again through the streets of London – this time when the roads were closed – in the Beast to arrive at Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s funeral service, while other leaders took the bus.
Biden and first lady Jill sat 14 rows back in Westminster Abbey due to a complicated seating plan drawn up under strict British protocol rules.
The leader of the free world didn’t rank ahead of other royals: the Emperor and Empress of Japan were seated in the 6th row, behind European royals and the King of Jordan.
The Bidens arrived at the state funeral via their presidential car The Beast in a private motorcade while other world leaders rode together in buses. American security protocols for the president are strict and require him to travel in the armored car with security vehicles surrounding him.
During the hour-long memorial service, the president sat directly behind Andrzej Duda, the Polish leader, and directly in front of Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the Czech Republic.
Jill Biden sat next to Ignazio Cassis, the president of Switzerland.
The Bidens were seated in the south transept section of Westminster Abbey, in an area of the church reserved for world leaders. The south transept contains the poet corner were prominent British authors like Geoffrey Chaucer are buried.
After the memorial service, the Bidens left for Washington D.C.
Funeral seating has a strict protocol for the heads of state, prime ministers and presidents, members of European royal families and other guests among the 2,000 mourners gathered at the abbey.
Guests were seated to the left, right and in front of the platform that held the Queen’s casket. King Charles and members of the royal family made up the first few rows.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill sat 14 rows back in Westminster Abbey, above in the red circle, for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are seen sitting in their seats in the abbey
President Joe Biden sat directly behind Andrzej Duda, the Polish leader, and directly in front of Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the Czech Republic during the funeral service while Jill Biden sat next to Ignazio Cassis, the president of Switzerland
The Bidens were seated behind other royals, including King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan
President Joe Biden and Jill Biden near the back of Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s funeral
Joe and Jill Biden arrive at London Stansted Airport to board Air Force One for the journey back to Washington D.C.
The president and first lady wave as they as board the presidential plane; the Bidens left after the Queen’s memorial service
President Joe Biden takes his seat at Westminsteer Abbey, 14 rows back
The Bidens arrived for the memorial service in the presidential vehicle known as the Beast
Other world leaders rode together on buses for the Queen’s funeral
Foreign royals and dignitaries at the funeral
President Biden exits the Beast at Westminster Abbey
The Bidens held hands when they arrived at the abbey on Monday morning for the hour-long funeral service. The president wore a black suit and tie. Jill Biden wore a black dress by Schiaparelli.
Westminster Abbey began filling up from 8am as the congregation arrived up to three hours early, with Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron among the world leaders who paid their respects to the late monarch.
The Foreign Office handled the questions of who would sit where and by whom.
Queen Margrethe of Denmark, who is Europe’s longest-serving living monarch, sat at the front of the foreign section. Gulf royals were behind them, many of whom attended without their wives.
But all had something in common – they rode to the funeral on a large motorcoach.
The King and Queen of Bhutan, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain all came to the service via bus. World leaders like Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also arrived via a fleet of buses.
Biden was allowed to ride in The Beast.
More than 100 world leaders attended and concerns about traffic in London led to the majority of being put on buses for the movements to and from the funeral.
Biden was given an exemption to take his presidential limo.
Lord Renwick, who served as British ambassador to the United States in the early 1990s, told the Times that he felt sorry for Buckingham Palace’s protocol office as it worked out the complicated seating chart.
‘You can pretend it’s alphabetical order but it’s not,’ Renwick said. ‘Biden isn’t very ego-driven but he’s going to be near the front. Macron [the president of France] would have hysterics if he wasn’t given a place of honour. Olaf Scholz [the chancellor of Germany] wouldn’t care. You’ve got to say to yourself: ‘Who is going to have a hissy fit?’
He noted it was standard for the American president to receive exemptions that other world leaders would not receive.
‘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.
President Biden shakes hands with Switzerland’s President Ignazio Cassis – Biden’s chair shows his reserved spot in the church with its ‘United States of America’ label
President Joe Biden and his wife Jill arrive at Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral
Biden, wearing a black suit and tie, was seen holding Jill’s hand as they walked through the famous church to pay their respects to the monarch
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday for the Queen’s funeral
President Joe Biden and his wife Jill have arrived at Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral
Joe Biden and Jill shared a tender moment as they held hands as they walked into Westminster Abbey in London
Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at The State Funeral of Her Majesty The Queen, in Westminster Abbey on Monday
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II enters Westminster Abbey during her state funeral on Monday
Britain’s King Charles, Britain’s Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Peter Phillips attend the state funeral and burial of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, at Parliament Square in London on Monday
Catherine, Princess of Wales, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince George and Princess Charlotte attend the Queen’s funeral
Biden sat 14 rows back on the south transept behind the Polish leader and in front of the Czech Republic. The First Lady was next to Switzerland’s representative
Earlier Monday morning, huge crowds gathered in near silence to watch as the queen’s flag-draped coffin, topped with the Imperial State Crown, her orb and sceptre, was carried slowly to a gun carriage from parliament’s Westminster Hall where it had lain in state since Wednesday.
To the tune of pipes and drums, the gun carriage – used at every state funeral since Queen Victoria’s in 1901 – was then drawn by 142 junior enlisted sailors in the Royal Navy to Westminster Abbey.
The thousand-year-old church’s tenor bell tolled 96 times at one-minute intervals – one for every year of her life – stopping a minute before the service began at 11am.
The longest-serving monarch in British history died at Balmoral, her Scottish Highland retreat, on September 8 after a year of declining health.
Her eldest son and successor, King Charles III, dressed in ceremonial military uniform, followed the solemn procession, alongside his three siblings.
Charles’s eldest son Prince William accompanied them alongside William’s brother, Prince Harry, and other senior royals.
William’s two eldest children, George and Charlotte, who are next in line to the throne, also walked behind the coffin inside the abbey.
Meanwhile, Biden and his wife arrived in London late Saturday and paid respects to the queen on Sunday, viewing her coffin at Westminster Hall, signing condolence books at Lancaster House and attending a Buckingham Palace reception for funeral guests hosted by King Charles III.
On Monday morning, the President and First Lady left Winfield House, the official residents of the US Ambassador to the UK, at 9.45am before arriving at Westminster Abbey at 10.07am.
Biden’s public appearances in London have been limited and controlled, part of the choreography around the elaborate farewell to the only monarch most Britons have ever known.
He spoke only for just a few minutes Sunday about the queen, as he recalled how the woman he said reminded him of his mother kept feeding him crumpets when they had tea together last year at Windsor Castle.
One senior U.S. official said Biden’s lower profile was less about protocol and more about the fact that ‘it’s not our show. It’s the Brits’ show.’ The U.S. has to be sensitive to that, said the official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Dean of Westminster David Hoyle greets US President Joe Biden and Jill Biden ahead of the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, outside the Westminster Abbey
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive at the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey
The view in Westminster Abbey above the Queen – where she married and was crowned more than 70 years ago
King Charles III, Camilla, the Queen Consort, Princess Anne, and her husband Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince William, and Kate, Princess of Wales with their children Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince George of Wales, Britain’s Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowden, Peter Phillips, The Duke of Gloucester, Prince Michael of Kent and the Duke of Kent follow the coffin
The motorcade carrying U.S. President Joe Biden is seen leaving the residence of the U.S Ambassador in Regent’s Park, as it makes its way to the State Funeral for Queen Elizabeth II
Biden is seen inside ‘The Beast’ as the President makes his way to the Queen’s funeral on Monday morning
Members of Biden’s security team are seen driving with the President’s motorcade as they travel to Westminster Abbey
Guests arrive ahead of the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning
A long line of mourners walk into the UK’s most important church, Westminster Abbey, for the Queen’s funeral
Meanwhile, Biden paid his respects with Jill at the Queen’s coffin on Sunday before recalling how the late monarch reminded him of his own mother.
The President and First Lady were seen standing on a VIP balcony looking down at the Queen’s coffin on Sunday afternoon which was under constant guard and draped in flags.
Biden 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.
After paying their respects to the late monarch, Biden joined King Charles and scores of other world leaders and royals for a reception at Buckingham Palace.
Biden 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 on Sunday afternoon
US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Jill Biden attend the Lying-in-State of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Westminster in London on Sunday afternoon
Biden paid his respects with Jill at the Queen’s coffin on Sunday and he described the monarch as ‘decent’ and ‘honorable’ and ‘all about service’ as he signed the condolence book, saying his heart went out to the royal family
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.’
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