Last weekend, His Majesty King George III was formally crowned king in a coronation event that brought leaders from throughout the world to London, with one notable absence.
In early April, President Joe Biden informed Buckingham Palace that he would not be attending the coronation but would send in his place his wife, First Lady Jill Biden.
The heads of state who did travel to London for the coronation included British Commonwealth Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau of Canada and Anthony Albanese of Australia. Also in attendance were French President Emmanuel Macron and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda.
Additionally, Northern Ireland’s leader Michelle O’Neill and China’s Vice President Han Zheng also attended the coronation.
Vice President Han’s appearance was especially surprising given his role in China’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a former British colony.
In an interview with GB News’s Nigel Farage last week, former President Donald Trump slammed President Biden for not attending the King’s coronation, saying the president should have attended to represent the United States and calling his absence “very disrespectful.”
Trump suggested that Biden’s age and physical limitations were likely the reason he did not attend, saying he thinks it is physically “hard for him to do it.”
However, President Biden’s absence from the coronation of a British monarch isn’t unprecedented.
In 1953 when Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower did not attend her coronation, choosing to send a US delegation instead.
President and Mrs. Biden did travel to London to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth last September.
The White House said that President Biden called King Charles last month to congratulate him on his upcoming coronation. The president told the King that he would like to meet with him soon.