Joe Biden, the 46th President of the United States, recently visited the UK to attend the G7 Summit of world leaders. He also turned heads due to his meeting with Queen Elizabeth. Despite long-standing royal protocol, Biden publicly disclosed the specific topics of conversation he enjoyed with the Queen during their meeting, creating a minor stir in the UK.
Biden, for his part, praised the Queen for her hospitality and kindness: “I don’t think she’d be insulted but she reminded me of my mother, the look of her and just the generosity,” Biden told reporters in London. “She’s extremely gracious, that’s not surprising, but we had a great talk. She wanted to know what the two leaders that I – the one I’m about to meet with, Mr. Putin, and she wanted to know about Xi Jinping, and we had a long talk.”
Biden, known for his affable personality and his penchant for minor gaffes, certainly broke royal protocol in sharing those details. However, the mood in the UK was more bemused at Biden’s lack of tact than angry with him over breaching protocol.
The first major in-person gathering of world leaders since March 2020, the G7 Summit was held in England over the weekend. The British government was able to capitalize on the location of the event, hosting world leaders even as they resolve the various post-Brexit issues that have cropped up in recent months.
The summit was largely considered a success, due in large part to the eagerness of world leaders to get back to “business as usual.” Agreements regarding climate change, trade, and vaccine sharing were all the main highlights of the summit.
Hosting Biden was a massive focus for the British government, as it was the president’s first formal meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his first overseas trip since taking office in January. Johnson was reportedly anxious to make a good impression after the Prime Minister’s reportedly close relationship with Biden’s predecessor, the controversial Donald Trump.
Biden and Johnson’s meeting reportedly went well, with the US president taking the situation in stride. The British government likely breathed a sigh of relief at the return of US diplomacy as it was before 2016.
The UK and the United States enjoy an unusually close diplomatic relationship, despite their checkered past. The two countries share a language, of course, making diplomacy that much easier. Moreover, the two share a history. It’s not difficult for each to see something of themselves in the other, whether that be a fiercely independent spirit or a sense of responsibility to the rest of the world.