‘Her legacy will loom large in the story of our world’: Biden says Queen was ‘more than a monarch’ as he mourns her death at 96 – and is ‘eager’ to continue friendship with King Charles lll

  • President Joe Biden said the Queen was ‘more than a monarch’ as he paid tribute
  • He praised her ‘steadying presence’ in a world of constant change
  • And he said he first met her in 1982 when he visited the UK in 1982 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

President Joe Biden paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday afternoon, saluting the stability and constancy she brought to Britain and to an uncertain world. 

And he said was ready to build on his relationship with King Charles, who will now take up the British throne. 

‘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,’ said Biden.

‘An enduring admiration for Queen Elizabeth II united people across the Commonwealth.’

Biden, who met the Queen for the first time as a senator in 1982, was reportedly told of her death during a meeting in the Oval Office.

‘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,’ he said.

The White House said President Joe Biden had met the Queen three times, most recently for tea with first lady Jilly Biden at Windsor Castle in 2021

During that trip the UK, the Bidens also met the Queen in Cornwall during a reception for the G7 world leaders. The president said he first met the Queen in 1982 as a senator

Biden had been scheduled to deliver remarks on COVID-19 vaccines at the White House.

But the event was canceled minutes after Buckingham Palace announced the Queen’s death.

It means Biden will renew his relationship with Charles.

They met last year in Glasgow, on the sidelines of a major United Nations climate conference, where they bonded on their shared concern for the environment. 

‘In the years ahead, we look forward to continuing a close friendship with The King and The Queen Consort,’ said Biden.

‘Today, the thoughts and prayers of people all across the United States are with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in their grief.

‘We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who are not only mourning their Queen, but their dear mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. 

‘Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world.’

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was on the podium as news broke.

‘Is that confirmed,’ she asked as journalists shouted details.

When she was told the news came from official sources she paid tribute to the strong relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States.

‘Our hearts go to the people of the United Kingdom to the Queen and to to her family,’ she said.

Her briefing had been dominated by questions about the monarch, her health and Biden’s response.

She said the president was being kept updated throughout the day, and had offered warm words to Prime Minister Liz Truss on a video call with other world leaders.

‘His and the first lady’s thoughts are with the Queen and her family today,’ she said at the start of the briefing.

‘The president also conveyed to Prime Minister Truss during a previously scheduled video conference this morning that he and Dr. Biden are thinking of the Queen, her family and the people of the United Kingdom.’

She added that the president had last spoken to the Queen in June of last year, when the Bidens travelled to Britain for a G7 summit.

Biden’s tribute was one of dozens from world leaders as news spread around the world. 

Former President Donald Trump, who met her twice during his time in office, said: 

‘Our thoughts and prayers will remain with the great people of the United Kingdom as you honor her most meaningful life and exceptional service to the people. 

‘May God bless the Queen, may she reign forever in our hearts.’

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted Thursday that the Queen ’embodied continuity and the unity of the British nation over 70 years. I retain the memory of a friend of France, a queen of hearts who marked as never before her country and her century.’

Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, expressed sadness at the news, tweeting: ‘Germany remains forever grateful that she stretched out her hand to us in reconciliation after the terror of World War II.’

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