US first lady Jill Biden met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty on Friday as she visited London to represent the United States at King Charles’ coronation.
Meeting for the first time, Biden and Murty embraced and posed for photos in front of black door of Number 10 Downing Street, behind which lies the prime minister’s residence and office.
The coronation ceremony takes place on Saturday at Westminster Abbey and will be attended by foreign heads of state and dignitaries.
Biden, 71, also visited a local school along with Murty on Friday afternoon, after which she was scheduled to meet staff at the US embassy and King Charles at a reception in Buckingham Palace.
“Have fun tomorrow, I’ll be thinking about all of you,” she told children at the school, where students greeted her wearing golden paper crowns and shared a tea-party lunch.
US President Joe Biden has faced some criticism, notably from his predecessor and potential 2024 election rival Donald Trump, for not attending Charles’ coronation.
But no US president has ever attended a British monarch’s coronation. During the last such event, when Charles’ late mother Queen Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, then US President Dwight Eisenhower sent a delegation of envoys to represent him.
The White House said last month Biden had told Charles he wanted to meet him in Britain at a future date.
Biden visited Northern Ireland and Ireland last month to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday peace pact.