Biden says Queen’s death left ‘giant hole’ for Royal Family

LONDON (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden, in London for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, said Sunday his heart goes out to the royal family, adding that the queen’s death had left a “giant hole.”

“It’s a loss that leaves a giant hole and sometimes you think you’ll never get over it,” said Biden, who often speaks in very personal terms about the loss following the death of his first wife and young daughter and later, of his adult son.

President and First Lady Jill Biden have kept a low profile since arriving in the UK. They traveled to Westminster Hall to pay their respects to the hundreds of thousands of mourners who waited more than 2 hours to pass the Queen’s coffin.

Biden and the first lady then went to Lancaster House to sign the book of condolences before heading to Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by King Charles III.

The president spoke briefly after signing the condolence book. “As I told the King, she will be with him every step of the way,” Biden said. “You were lucky to have had her for 70 years. We all were.

President Joe Biden signs a book of condolences at Lancaster House in London, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Sunday, September 18, 2022, as First Lady Jill Biden, left, and TH Jane Hartley, look on US Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, looks far right. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Susan Walsh

US President Joe Biden accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Buckingham Palace in London, Sunday September 18, 2022. King Charles III is hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace for heads of state and other leaders on Sunday evening before the State funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, pool)

Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Markus Schreiber

President Joe Biden signs a book of condolences at Lancaster House in London, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Sunday, September 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Susan Walsh

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US President Joe Biden accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden are greeted by Host Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt at Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday, September 18, 2022. King Charles III is hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace for the heads of state and other leaders on Sunday evening ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral on Monday. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, Pool)

Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Markus Schreiber

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US President Joe Biden accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden arrive at Buckingham Palace in London, Sunday September 18, 2022. King Charles III is hosting a reception at Buckingham Palace for heads of state and other leaders on Sunday evening before the State funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, Pool)

Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS/Markus Schreiber

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He said his reign was about “treating people with dignity”.

“I’m talking about how my mom and dad thought everyone, no matter who they were…no matter where they came from, deserved to be treated with dignity,” the president said. “And that’s exactly what she communicated. Just the way she walked beside her stick, just the way she acted.

Biden wrote in the book that “Queen Elizabeth was admired around the world for her unwavering commitment to service.”

The first lady signed a condolence book for the spouses and ambassadors, writing “Queen Elizabeth lived her life for the people. She served with wisdom and grace. We will never forget his warmth, kindness and the conversations we shared.

The president also said Elizabeth epitomizes service.

“There’s something in our ability to do that can make things better, not just the world, but your neighborhood, your home, your workplace,” he said. “That’s what she told me anyway. It was an honor to meet her, an honor to meet her.

The president will return to the United States on Monday and travel to New York for the United Nations General Assembly, where he is due to meet with Prime Minister Liz Truss, who had just taken over when the queen died.

More than 2,000 people were expected at Westminster Abbey on Monday for the state funeral.

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