The White House has refused to comment on why President Joe Biden will not be attending the coronation of King Charles III on May 6. Biden spoke with the King on Tuesday, congratulating him on his upcoming coronation and “underscoring the strength of the relationship between our countries and the friendship between our peoples,” the White House said in a statement. The president also told King Charles that first lady Jill Biden will be attending on behalf of the U.S., the statement reads.
Sources close to the president told The Telegraph that the administration is purposefully restricting Biden’s international movements, given he is the oldest president in U.S. history, and that he must save energy to focus on domestic duties. The sources also pointed out that there is no precedent for U.S. presidents to attend coronation ceremonies.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged questions from reporters inquiring why the president will not be attending the ceremony.
“They will see each other again very soon,” Jean-Pierre responded to a question from CBS’ Steven Portnoy.
The King offered for Biden to come for a State Visit, “which the president accepted” on their phone call, she added.
The two leaders had a “very friendly conversation” on the phone, and Biden “talked about how he enjoyed meeting the Queen back in 2021,” she said.
Another reporter pressed Jean-Pierre on why the first lady will be attending the coronation instead.
“The president is looking forward — he had a great conversation, he has a good relationship with King Charles III, and, as you know, they’ve met before. There’s a lot of shared interest, shared values, issues that they want to discuss … one of them being climate change,” Jean-Pierre said.
“At some time in the future, the King invited the president for a State Visit. He accepted and that will happen. I don’t have anything further to share on that,” she continued.
A third reporter asked if the administration is “concerned” the British people might see the president not going to the coronation as “a snub.”
“No, they should not see it as a snub,” Jean-Pierre said.
“The president has a very strong relationship with the United Kingdom. He has a strong relationship with King Charles III. He looks forward to seeing him again soon,” she added, according to the Daily Caller.
Biden’s decision not to attend the coronation is a break from tradition. Every U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower has attended the coronation of a British monarch. However, Biden is the oldest person to ever serve as president of the United States, and he has been dealing with a number of health issues in recent months. It is possible that the administration is concerned about the physical demands of a trip to London and the associated jet lag.
It is also possible that the administration is trying to avoid any potential controversy surrounding the coronation. King Charles is a controversial figure in some circles, and there have been calls for him to be stripped of his title. The White House may not want to be seen as endorsing Charles’s reign by sending Biden to the coronation.
Whatever the reason, Biden’s decision not to attend the coronation is a break from tradition and is likely to be seen as a snub by some in the British government and the royal family.