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Jill Biden reveals Queen Elizabeth II once told her off

The Independent logo The Independent 9/14/2022 Chelsea Ritschel
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Jill Biden has shared some of her fond memories of meeting Queen Elizabeth II, with the first lady revealing that she was told off by the late monarch when she offered to help serve tea.

Dr Biden reflected on the moment, which occurred when she and President Joe Biden visited Windsor Castle in June 2021, during an interview with Today.

According to the first lady, who began her story by first sharing her condolences to the Queen’s family after her death at age 96, she and President Biden were sitting with the monarch in her living room when the royal began to serve the couple tea.

However, rather than accept their offer to help pour the tea, the Queen promptly shut down the suggestion, Dr Biden said.

“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,’” Biden recalled of the Queen’s response.

The Queen was well known for her love of tea, with former royal chef Darren McGrady previously telling Coffee Friend that the royal’s favourite meal was “probably” afternoon tea.

“The Queen had afternoon tea every day, wherever she was in the world. If we were at Buckingham Palace and she was on her own for tea, or whether she had Prince William come and join her, or whether she had a garden party for 6,000 people or even if she was on the Royal Britannia in Australia,” he said. “The Queen loved afternoon tea, I would say it’s probably one of her favourite meals. Certainly when I was there, she would sit down religiously for tea.”

As for how she required her tea to be prepared, McGrady said it was essential that the “hot tea [had] to be hot”.

“Tea has to be absolute boiling water poured over the top of it, it has to steep for five minutes, that is the most important part. It’s really, really important when making tea is that it’s made in a teapot – that is a real cup of tea,” McGrady continued.

While reflecting on her meeting with the Queen, the first lady also praised the late monarch’s independence, with Dr Biden noting that what she “loved” about the royal was “that she was really independent”.

According to Dr Biden, this independence was evident when the Queen decided to discuss her family with the couple just moments after they were instructed not to talk about the royal family.

“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.’ So we went up and so the first thing she starts with is family. So Prince Philip had just died recently and I think she knows Joe. I think she just wanted to talk about her husband,” Dr Biden recalled.

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The first lady also remembered the Queen’s curiosity, as she revealed that the British ruler “wanted to know all about American politics, what was happening”.

“She put us at ease,” Dr Biden said.

The president and the first lady, who will travel to London for the Queen’s funeral next week, shared their condolences in a statement shared shortly after the monarch’s death on 8 September.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era. 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,” the couple wrote in part, adding: “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.”

In the statement, the president and first lady also reflected on their first time meeting Queen Elizabeth in 1982, during a visit to the UK as part of a Senate delegation, as well as the couple’s honour at being able to meet her again last year, when she “charmed us with her wit, moved us with her kindness, and generously shared with us her wisdom”.

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