Joe Biden and the First Lady were seated in the 14th row back for the funeral of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, after the U.S. president arrived more than half an hour later than had been requested, it has emerged.
Almost all of the VIPs invited to the ceremony at Westminster Abbey in London on Monday opted to take a charter bus from central London to the venue; however, the U.S. president was given special dispensation on security grounds and insisted on being driven in “The Beast,” the heavily armored limousine that travels with the American leader.
A schedule published by Buckingham Palace revealed that foreign dignitaries were expected to take their seats between 9:35 a.m. and 9:55 a.m., ahead of the prompt 11 a.m. start of the widely broadcast ceremony; however, the Bidens were reportedly not sat in place until 10:07 a.m.
When Biden finally arrived at the venue, he suffered the further embarrassment of being made to stand and wait as a procession of George and Victoria Cross-holders, Britain’s highest military awards, went ahead of them into the Abbey.
The first couple were then escorted to seats in the 14th row back from the front, where they sat before Polish President Andrzej Duda, and next to Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, according to the Guardian.
Further up the pecking order towards the front of the abbey included leaders of other Anglosphere nations such as Justin Trudeau of Canada, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.