What Jill Biden did in London after the coronation- lunched with PM Rishi Sunak and cycled with Akshata Murty

First Lady Jill Biden with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after the coronation of King Charles May 6, 2023. PHOTO: Twitter @FLOTUS

LONDON – The festivities for the coronation of King Charles III were a star-studded affair. Dignitaries flew in from around the world to witness the pageantry and regalia. The military hosted an air show. Celebrities performed at a special concert.

But for first lady Jill Biden, in attendance over the weekend to represent the United States, the coronation was also an occasion to drink tea and eat finger sandwiches on the street – as well as visit a familiar studio for some cardio.

Biden and Akshata Murty, wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, attended a 9:30 a.m. SoulCycle class in London’s posh Notting Hill neighborhood the morning after the coronation.

A company spokesperson confirmed via email that the two women secured spots in Sunday’s class (May 7, 2023) “on a walk-in basis.” (News of their attendance was first reported by People.)

First Lady Jill Biden with Akshata Murty, wife of UK Prime Minister, at 10 Downing Street, May 4, 2023. PHOTO: Twitter @FLOTUS

After the one-hour “SoulSurvivor” session – taught by instructor Abbey Ashley – Biden and Murty met up again at No. 10 Downing Street for a “special Coronation lunch” in honor of “community heroes, Ukrainian families and youth groups.”

The lunch, served on long picnic tables outside the prime minister’s residence, consisted of food sourced from throughout the United Kingdom, including beef from Gloucestershire in southwestern England and ice cream from Wales, Downing Street said.

British media outlets, alert for moments of cross-Atlantic humor, seized on Biden’s seeming confusion as she picked up a finger sandwich. “Jill Biden looks baffled by a cheese and pickle sandwich at lunch with Rishi Sunak,” read the Express.

The Downing Street meal was one of over 50,000 events organized across the United Kingdom on Sunday as part of an initiative known as the Big Lunch, designed to bring “neighbours and communities together to share friendship, food and fun.”

Biden attended with her granddaughter Finnegan. In a tweet, the first lady thanked Sunak and his wife “for welcoming me to your Coronation Big Lunch as we mark this special moment in history.”

Sunday’s Big Lunch capped off a busy few days for the first lady.

On Friday, she and Murty met with participants in a veterans charity boxing event called the Fighting Chance.

And accompanied by her granddaughter and Jane Hartley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, Biden and Murty visited the Charles Dickens Primary School in South London, greeting staffers and students. The children wore paper crowns.

“Have fun tomorrow, I’ll be thinking about all of you,” Biden told them, according to Reuters.

Biden also visited the U.S. Embassy in London, meeting staff members and taking part in a “moment of silence to remember fallen Foreign Service Officers” in honor of Foreign Service Day, the embassy said in a tweet.

Friday evening was capped by a reception for coronation guests from overseas, hosted by the royal family at Buckingham Palace. Photos show Biden with Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska.

On Saturday, Biden was a guest at the coronation, wearing a blue ensemble by American designer Ralph Lauren, according to Vogue. Her granddaughter wore a yellow dress with a cape by the fashion label Markarian, the outlet reported.

Later in the weekend, the first lady and her granddaughter “toasted the coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla” alongside Hartley and her husband, the ambassador tweeted.

In an interview with the Associated Press after the coronation, Biden said it was “just amazing to see” the “pageantry of the ceremony.”

“You can’t imagine that moment where you actually see the crown being placed on the head of the king and then on the head [of] the queen,” she told the AP. “As I sat there, I felt this sense of decorum and civility that binds together people of all nations.”



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