On second thought, Joe and Jill Biden don’t actually have to ride an escorted bus from west London to Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s funeral. Guidance was released to overseas embassies late Saturday night from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Due to limited space, foreign leaders and guests would not be allowed to use their own transportation but share chartered buses to the funeral. That guidance has now been walked back.
No doubt the possible security risks that some world leaders traveling so modestly would pose outweighed the concerns of traffic jams around Westminster. Yesterday I wrote about the guidance that stated that the use of The Beast to transport the Bidens to Westminster would not be allowed. The guidance to use commercial flights instead of private jets and the banning of helicopters was also included in the document. Is Joe Biden flying commercial to the U.K.? No, of course not. And no one should expect him to do so. He’s the leader of the free world and he’s entitled to the security measures that go along with the job. It’s important to keep the dazed and confused Biden safe because otherwise we get Kamala and no one wants that.
The office of Prime Minister Liz Truss said Biden will not be subject to the same guidance that other world leaders must go by. The Beast is a go. Other leaders like France’s Macron, President Herzog of Israel, and Emperor Naruhito of Japan are all likely to use their own transportation. Invitations to the funeral are at a premium.
All countries with diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom will be asked to have a representative at the service, though delegations will be smaller than usual. All countries have been told their maximum allocation of seats is limited to the head of state or representative plus their partner.
Buckingham Palace issued a personal invitation to the first couple on late Saturday night and the Bidens accepted it on Sunday.
The guest list has not yet been finalized, but despite the war with Ukraine, Russia is expected to be represented by its ambassador and North Korea is also expected to be represented, according to The Times.
It remains unclear if any other presidents will attend the funeral service, which will take place on Monday, Sept. 19, at Westminster Abbey.
The palace could issue personal invitations to any one it chooses but has not said if there will be invites for Donald and Melania Trump, Barack and Michelle Obama, George W. and Laura Bush, or Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Joe Biden likes to pretend he’s Lunch Pail Joe from Scranton, Pennsylvania but he hasn’t been that guy in over fifty years, if ever. He’s led a life of special privileges as a U.S. Senator, Vice-President, and now President of the United States. The security risks that accompany ordinary travel for him and his entourage is too high, especially in today’s overwrought world.
I can’t imagine the headaches being experienced by those who are doing the logistical preparations for this funeral. It will be the largest gathering of foreign dignitaries in England since Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965. More than 100 kings, queens, and heads of state are expected to be in need of transportation on the streets of London to Westminster Abbey.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday the invitation came from UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office on late Saturday night and Biden formally accepted it on Sunday morning.
‘The invitation was extended to the US government was for the President and the First Lady only,’ she told reporters on Air Force One as the president traveled to Boston.
She declined to say if any former presidents or famous Americans had been invited to the funeral for the 96-year-old monarch, who died Thursday at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.
‘As far as invites, I would refer you to the United United Kingdom, their government, on that protocol,’ she note.
That tracks for KJP – never a straight answer from her on any subject.
The Bidens will leave for the U.K. on Saturday. The funeral is Monday and King Charles III is expected to host world leaders for a reception at Buckingham Palace the night before the funeral service.
Jean-Pierre said she didn’t know if Biden would meet with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss or any other officials during his trip, noting the details are still being worked out. She also said that Biden will attend the United Nations General Assembly, which starts on Monday, September 19, in New York – the same day as the Queen’s funeral.
Hmm. Sleepy Joe better keep up with his naps. Sounds like he’ll be busy.