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When President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden had the opportunity to meet with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in 2021, they were met with an unusual instruction: “Don’t talk about family.” In wake of the monarch’s passing, Jill Biden chatted with Today about her impression of the Queen from their meeting, and included this detail that may speak to how The Firm looked to protect the Queen from delicate subjects amid the rift between grandchildren Prince Harry and Prince William that dominated headlines in her final years.
In her interview, the First Lady shared “What I loved about her was that she was really independent. We went up to her living room and they said to us, ‘Don’t talk about family.'”
But, Jill fondly recalls, the Queen had her own ideas about how the conversation should go.
“So we went up and the first thing she starts with is family,” Jill continued. “Prince Philip had just died recently…I think she just wanted to talk about her husband.”
Jill also recalled the Queen’s insistence on serving her and Biden tea, sharing, “She poured tea and Joe and I said, ‘Oh, let us help you.’ ‘No,’ you know. ‘You sit there and I’ll get the tea.'”
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In addition to her independence, Jill remembered her curiosity: “She wanted to know all about American politics, what was happening. So, she put us at ease.”
President and First Lady Biden will travel to England for Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday. In a joint statement about her passing, the Bidens wrote, “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her. Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special.”
Queen Elizabeth II has been a global icon for 70 years. Since ascending to the throne at the age of 25, the long-reigning sovereign has approached her historic role with poise and quiet confidence. But behind the veneer of monarchy, Queen Elizabeth has been the leader of a family and household through good times and bad. Robert Hardman’s new biography, Queen of Our Times, takes longtime royal fans behind the veil with unprecedented access to royal records, friends, staff, and more, as the legendary leader and the House of Windsor celebrates her landmark reign. This will surely be known as the definitive book on Queen Elizabeth II.
Before you go, click here to see the best photos of Queen Elizabeth II before she was queen.