World

Joe Biden, other VIPs lie low as spotlight stays on late Queen


LONDON: American presidents often make headlines when they travel abroad, grabbing attention and quickly becoming the center of attention.
Not this time.
For the President of the United States Joe Biden and the Presidents, Prime Ministers and other dignitaries, there were no red carpet attendees, no major speeches and no press conferences as they gathered for Monday’s state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. Instead, world leaders often use every word to test their ego to honor the Queen, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who died earlier this month at the age of 96. 70 years on the throne.
“They know they’re there to honor the passing, to honor the individual,” said Capricia Marshall, head of protocol for the US State Department during the Barack Obama administration. “They are also aware that they are representing their country.”
The Office of Protocol is a key body in U.S. foreign policy and foreign affairs, working to ensure U.S. officials do not say or do anything that might offend visitors or foreign landlords.
The president and first lady were among about 2,000 people attending the funeral at Westminster Abbey. The couple arrived for the funeral, waiting in the back as a procession moved past, before taking their seats among hundreds of others. They arrived in London late on Saturday and paid their 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 those guest at the funeral organized by King Charles III.
But the President’s public appearances in London have been limited and controlled, part of the choreography surrounding the elaborate farewell to the only monarch most Britons have ever known. He spoke only for a few minutes on Sunday about the Queen, as he recalled how the woman he spoke to reminded him of his mother who repeatedly fed him sponge cakes as they drank tea together. each other last year at Windsor Castle.
When Biden spoke to the BBC, the only outlet to broadcast live as he signed the condolence book, the network continuously shared screens with Sir David Manning, the former British ambassador to the US, and did not stream Biden’s comments live. .
Most of the other leaders in town are similarly low profile, appearing only to sign the official condolence book and quietly paying their respects before the queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall.
Several people gave interviews to share their memories of Elizabeth, including the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardernwho told the BBC of the advice the Queen gave her about balancing work and motherhood, “I remember her just saying, ‘Well, you just keep going’ and that really was probably the best advice and I think the most practical. was possible.”
Leaders such as Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese have questioned whether their countries are likely to become republics, saying now is not the time to discuss it. Both countries have the queen as their monarch.
An exception is Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who is running for re-election and gave a public campaign speech on Sunday outside his country’s embassy in London. Bolsonaro, who tracks former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in opinion polls, asserted to about 200 supporters that the polls are wrong and that he can avoid entering a labor on the 2nd. October.
Biden and new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss dropped out of the weekend meeting in favor of a closer sit-down next week in the United Nations General Assembly, and the White House did not even release news of the meeting. until British officials arrived.
A senior US official said Biden’s lower profile had nothing to do with protocol and was more about the fact that “it wasn’t our gig. It was the British gig. ” The official said the US must be sensitive to that, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Peter Selfridge, another former US official, said Biden is in London “to grieve” and may not care that he has gone largely unnoticed. Selfridge noted the President’s personal loss history, including the deaths of his first wife and infant daughter and later an adult son.
“Actually, that might be the way he wants it,” said Selfridge, Obama’s second-term US chief of etiquette.
Then again, some people’s wiring doesn’t allow them to avoid getting ready for the first camera they see, said Eric Dezenhall, a crisis management expert.
But Dezenhall said in an email that “the good news is that most US Presidents understand that modesty is required at certain times.”





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