President Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined more than 100 global leaders and foreign dignitaries in London Sunday, as the world gathered for Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral Monday after a record 70-plus years on the throne.
The Biden paid their respects from a platform overlooking the queen’s coffin lying in state Westminster Abbey and Mr. Biden later signed the official condolence book.
As Mr. Biden took his place on the platform, he could be seen making the Sign of the Cross and then placing his hand on his heart.
The presidential couple was joined by U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley.
During the official mourning period, Mr. Biden will have only an informal meeting with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss while in London, but the two are scheduled to have a more extensive formal meeting at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York later this week.
Signing the condolence book, Mr. Biden told reporters it had been an “honor” to meet the queen — whose reign extended over 14 U.S. presidential administrations — and that she reminded him of his own mother.
“Just because of the way the touched when she leaned over, the way she had that look, like, ‘Are you OK?’” Mr. Biden said.
His message in the condolence book read: “To all the people of England, all the people of the United Kingdom, our hearts go out to you and you were fortunate to have had her for 70 years, we all were. The world is better for her.”
Mrs. Biden wrote: “Queen Elizabeth lived her life for the people. She served with wisdom and grace. We will never forget her warmth, kindness and the conversations we shared.”
Mr. Biden was set to attend a reception for an estimated 500 guests Sunday at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles III before attending the state funeral Monday at Westminster Abbey.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.