President Joe Biden on Monday caused a stir when he appeared to break royal protocol by touching King Charles III during his arrival at Windsor Castle, while the monarch appeared to lose his temper after a Welsh guard at the castle apparently spent too much time. Engage the boss in the conversation.
Biden, who arrived in the UK late Sunday and spent the night at the US embassy in London, ended his engagements by meeting with the king and a group of business leaders along with several US and UK officials.
Arriving on the grounds of Windsor by helicopter for their first one-on-one meeting since Charles became king last year, Biden raised eyebrows among longtime palace watchers by placing his hand on the monarch’s elbow as the two men shook hands.
After this warm salutation, the Chief laid his hand on the King’s back as they paraded through the Welsh Guards assembled in the Windsor quadrangle, with the King responding in a similar gesture shortly afterwards.
Both men appeared to be smiling and in good spirits as they strolled around the castle grounds, with Charles attempting to rush Biden at one point during a review of the honor guard.
Biden, who was engaged in conversation with one of the soldiers he was reviewing, failed to heed King’s polite suggestion to keep moving, as King seemed to snap and signal to the guard after the president moved.
Although protocol says the monarch should generally not be touched, a Buckingham Palace source told the people that Mr. Biden did not breach protocol and said the monarch was “completely comfortable” with the meeting.
“What a wonderful symbol of warmth and affection it was between individuals and their nations,” they said.
The King and Biden have met several times during their time in public life, their most recent meetings being during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow and a reception at Buckingham Palace during the 2021 G7 summit.
In both cases, the topic at hand was their respective efforts to combat climate change, and the same topic was on the agenda during Mr. Biden’s visit to the King.
The two men took part in what the White House described as a “climate engagement” that involved His Majesty and a number of “philanthropists and investors,” including the CEOs of Bank of America, Prudential, and BlackRock, as well as US climate envoy John Kerry. and Grant Shapps, UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.
Shapps told reporters that British officials are “very pleased” that the inflation-reducing bill that Biden signed last year “advance goals for clean energy.”
Biden’s audience with the king came immediately after a 42-minute visit to Number 10 Downing Street for tea with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
As he sat in the back garden with the prime minister, Biden said the US-UK relationship continues to be “moving in a positive way” and “solid.”
Joe Biden meets the King at Windsor Castle
The US president, who has met his British counterpart five times in the past five months, quipped that it was “nice to be back” and commented that he and Mr Sunak “only meet once a month”.
For his part, the British Prime Minister said he and Mr. Biden will take advantage of the brief bilateral meeting to discuss “how we strengthen our cooperation” and “shared economic security for the benefit of our citizens.”
He said: “We stand as two of the strongest allies in that alliance and I know we want to do everything we can to strengthen Euro-Atlantic security.”
After meeting with the king, Biden left London for Vilnius, where he will participate in a NATO leaders summit before traveling to Helsinki to meet with Nordic leaders.
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