President Joe Biden said Friday that he will attend the funeral of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth, the most definitive comment to date from the White House on whether the president will travel for the service.
“I don’t know what the details are yet but I’ll be going,” Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One after a speech in Ohio. The president also said he knows King Charles but has not yet spoken to him since the death of his mother.
Up until Biden’s remarks, the White House had not confirmed whether the president would attend. In a gaggle with reporters earlier Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to provide details, deferring to “official protocol” regarding invitations for the service.
The queen, 96, died on Thursday, ending her reign as the longest-serving British monarch. She held the crown for more than 70 years and led the monarchy through 14 U.S. presidencies. Leaders around the world mourned her death, with Biden remembering her as a “stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”
Details regarding the queen’s funeral have not yet been announced, but it’s expected to be held at Westminster Abbey, where the queen was crowned. The space typically holds more than 2,000 congregants, but for the queen’s coronation in 1953, extra seating was arranged to accommodate more than 8,000 people.
When King Edward VII, the queen’s grandfather, died in 1910, representatives of 70 states attended — marking the largest ever gathering of European royalty.
For the queen’s funeral, members of Europe’s royal families, prime ministers, presidents and ambassadors are expected to attend.
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