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Why Biden sat far behind other world leaders at Queen’s funeral

In the day since President Joe Biden attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London on Monday, much has been made of him sitting far from the front row of Westminster Abbey.

With 2,200 guests at the Abbey, the president, who was accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, was among nearly 500 guests who were overseas heads of state or foreign dignitaries.

The royal ceremony saw the Bidens take to pews about 14 rows from the front, directly behind Polish leader Andrzej Duda and one row ahead of Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Ignazio Cassis, the president of Switzerland, sat to the left of the first lady.

Former President Donald Trump, who was beaten by Biden in his bid for a second term in November 2020, used the optics to hit the US leader.

Speaking to his Truth Social platform, Trump shared a photo of mourners at the funeral, highlighting the seats Biden occupied, while also suggesting he would have been placed more prominently if he was still president.

“That’s what happened to America in just two short years. No respect ! Trump wrote. “However, a good time for our president to get to know the leaders of some third world countries. If I was president, they wouldn’t have made me sit there – and our country would be very different from what it is right now!

Eyebrows were also raised on Twitter, where conservative commentator Meghan McCain questioned Biden’s less than prominent seat.

shaper view Panelist McCain tweeted, “I’m just curious why our President and First Lady were basically in the nosebleed section of the Queens funeral…”

McCain’s tweet drew a flood of derision, with a number of other Twitter users explaining that Biden’s seats were all about protocol.

According to the British newspaper The Telegraphthe head of the United States – whoever he was at the time of the Queen’s death – would have been seated in the same way, with members of the royal family, past and current British prime ministers and Commonwealth leaders having precedence.

With royal protocol stipulating that Commonwealth leaders were ahead of those from other parts of the world at the Queen’s funeral, it meant Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat nine rows ahead of Biden.

According to the newspaper, the governors general of the kingdoms where the British sovereign was retained as head of state were seated first, with the elected leaders of the Commonwealth behind them.

In accordance with protocol, the governors-general of the realms that retain the monarch as head of state were seated first with the elected Commonwealth leaders behind them.

This meant that the leaders of countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Caribbean Islands, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were among those who would have been seated in front of the US President.

Despite the seated position, Biden had a major privilege, as he was allowed to arrive for duty in the presidential armored limo, nicknamed “The Beast”, which had been flown in from the United States for the brief visit.

This was in contrast to the many other world leaders present, who were seen traveling together by bus to the ceremony for security reasons. French President Emmanuel Macron was also allowed to arrive in his own car.

Biden arrived at Westminster Abbey outside the 20-minute window – from 9:35 a.m. to 9:55 a.m. – set aside for the filing of world leaders. The president and his wife were seen entering the abbey just after 10 a.m., less than an hour before the funeral was due to start at 11 a.m.

Video footage has been shared of the presidential car stuck in traffic en route to the funeral.

The Bidens returned to the United States just hours after the end of service in London.

Although Trump was not invited to attend Monday’s funeral, he was invited to a separate memorial service in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, alongside fellow living former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. None of the former presidents had confirmed their presence on Monday evening.

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