First lady Dr. Jill Biden is set to travel to London next month for the coronation of King Charles III of the United Kingdom, leading the US delegation to the highly anticipated event.
President Joe Biden spoke by phone Tuesday with King Charles, the White House said, offering his congratulations to the monarch as he reaffirmed the strong ties between the US and the UK.
“The President congratulated the King on his upcoming Coronation and informed him that First Lady Jill Biden looks forward to attending on behalf of the United States,” a White House readout of the call said.
As reports surfaced that President Biden would not attend the coronation, despite the expected presence of dozens of world leaders, US officials downplayed the possibility and noted that no previous US president has attended a British monarch’s coronation.
Instead, the first lady will attend the event, set for Saturday, May 6, and President Biden made clear in the Tuesday call that he plans to meet with King Charles in the future.
“The President also conveyed his desire to meet with the King in the United Kingdom at a future date,” the readout said.
The coronation itself will be “a solemn religious service, as well as an occasion for celebration and pageantry,” conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Buckingham Palace announced earlier this year.
The last coronation ceremony took place nearly 70 years ago as King Charles’ mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was crowned in June 1953.
Both the president and first lady traveled to London in September to attend the funeral of the late queen.
Jill Biden told CNN last year that she had spoken with King Charles about his mother during a private reception with the royal family and other visiting dignitaries on the eve of the funeral service.
“We really talked about the woman, and who she was, and what she meant really to the whole world,” she said in a phone interview from London in September, adding that she noted to King Charles the human toll of grief.
“He is the king, but, you know, no one should forget he lost his mother, and Prince William lost a grandmother, and sometimes we tend to forget the really human piece there, and the sorrow they have to bear – and how they have to grieve in public. But … they seem to be doing OK,” the first lady said.
CNN’s Max Foster and Kate Bennett contributed to this report.