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Jill Biden Recalls Private Tea Party with Queen Elizabeth — What Was Asked, What Was Shared

Read PEOPLE's exclusive excerpt from royal biographer Robert Hardman's new book, "The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy"

<p>Mark Cuthbert - Pool/UK Press via Getty</p> First Lady Jill Biden and Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2021 in Windsor, England.

Mark Cuthbert - Pool/UK Press via Getty

First Lady Jill Biden and Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2021 in Windsor, England.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden shared a cup of tea with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in a poignant encounter the year before the monarch's death.

The following year would see them return to pay solemn tribute at the Queen’s funeral following her death on Sept. 8, 2022, at age 96. Their private tea party during the president’s state visit in June 2021 transformed into a fond farewell for the Bidens, marking the end of an era and a testament to the enduring connections between the U.S. and the U.K.

The first lady shares intimate details about the couple’s afternoon with the Queen in royal biographer Robert Hardman’s new book, The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy (out Jan. 18).

In the exclusive excerpt below, she recalls the memorable tea party with the record-breaking monarch — and how then Queen’s iconic corgis even made an appearance.

Related: Queen Elizabeth Left Behind Two Letters on Deathbed: Her ‘Last Pieces of Unfinished Business’

Chris Jackson/Getty President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2021
Chris Jackson/Getty President Joe Biden, First Lady Jill Biden and Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2021

-- Excerpted from The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy:

[President Joe] Biden and his wife had started making travel plans as soon as the Queen’s death had been announced. ‘Joe and I just decided to attend,’ says the First Lady, Dr Jill Biden. ‘We all grew up with the Queen. She was such a big part of our lives. She was just always there and felt like she always would be – a really beautiful, spectacular, amazing woman.’  

For the Bidens, a cherished memory would always be tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle in the year before her death. ‘We went up to her apartment. And I loved her sense of independence. She had a big teapot. And Joe said to her: “Here, let me help you.”’ The Queen had been quite insistent, however. ‘No, no, no. You sit,’ she told the president. ‘I will serve you.’

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Whereupon she had plenty to discuss with her guests. 'Here she was with this big teapot pouring tea and we had the best time because she has such a sense of curiosity,’ Dr Biden recalls. ‘She asked all about American politics and what was going on and [the president’s] perceptions of different people and different events.’ It was, she reflects fondly, every American’s ‘picture’ of a quintessential British tea party, especially when ‘her little dogs came in.’ 

<p>Pegasus Books</p>

Pegasus Books

Robert Hardman's book, The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, tells the dramatic story of the new king’s evolution over the past year from Prince of Wales to King Charles III.

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