Why Biden Was Seated Far Behind Other World Leaders at Queen’s Funeral

In the one day since President Joe Biden attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in London on Monday, much has been made of him being seated far from the front row at Westminster Abbey.

With 2,200 guests at the abbey, the president, who was accompanied by the first lady, Jill Biden, was among the approximately 500 people invited who were overseas heads of state or foreign dignitaries.

The regal ceremony saw the Bidens settling into pew seats some 14 rows from the front, directly behind Polish leader Andrzej Duda and one row ahead of Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Ignazio Cassis, the president of Switzerland, was seated to the left of the first lady.

President Joe Biden is pictured right arriving at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022, for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, and the president and first lady during the service. The Bidens’ position at the funeral has sparked questions and criticism.
SEAN SMITH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images;/Jack Hill-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump, who was defeated by Biden in his bid for a second term in November 2020, used the optics to take a swipe at the US leader.

Taking to his Truth Social platform, Trump shared a photo of the mourners at the funeral, highlighting the seating occupied by Biden, while also suggesting that he would have been placed more prominently if he were still president.

“This is what’s happened to America in just two short years. No respect!” Trump wrote. “However, a good time for our President to get to know the leaders of certain Third World countries. If I were president, they wouldn’t have sat me back there—and our Country would be much different than it is right now!

Eyebrows were also raised on Twitter, where conservative commentator Meghan McCain questioned Biden’s far-from-prominent seating.

Form The View panelist McCain tweeted: “Just curious why our President and First Lady were basically in the nose bleed section of the Queens funeral…”

McCain’s tweeted was met with a flood of derision, with a number of other Twitter users explaining that Biden’s seating was all down to protocol.

Biden’s Seating at Queen’s Funeral Explained

According to British newspaper The Telegraphthe leader of the US—whoever they would have been at the time of the queen’s death—would have been seated in the same fashion, with members of the royal family, past and present UK prime ministers, and Commonwealth leaders taking precedent.

With royal protocol dictating that Commonwealth leaders outrank those from other parts of the world at the Queen’s funeral, it meant that Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seated nine rows ahead of Biden.

According to the newspaper, governor-generals from realms where the British sovereign was retained as head of state were seated first, with elected Commonwealth leaders behind them.

In accordance with protocol, the governors-general of the realms that retain the monarch as their head of state, were seated first with and elected Commonwealth leaders behind them.

This meant that leaders of such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the Caribbean islands Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were included among those who would have been seated ahead of the US president.

Joe and Jill Biden at Queen's funeral
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are pictured attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, held at Westminster Abbey, on September 19, 2022, in London. The president was allowed to travel to the service in an armored limousine, while many other world leaders made their way by bus.
Jack Hill/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Despite the seating position, Biden was allowed one major privilege, as he was granted permission to arrive at the service in the presidential armored limousine, dubbed “The Beast,” which had been flown over from the US for the brief visit.

This stood in contrast to the several other world leaders in attendance, who were seen traveling together by bus to the ceremony for security reasons. French President Emmanuel Macron was also given permission to arrive in his own car.

Biden arrived at Westminster Abbey outside of the 20-minute window—9:35 am to 9:55 am—reserved for the filing in of world leaders. The president and his wife were seen making their way into the abbey just after 10 am, less than an hour before the funeral’s tightly scheduled 11 am start.

Video footage was shared of the presidential car stuck in traffic en route to the funeral.

The Bidens returned to the US just hours after the service concluded in London.

While Trump wasn’t invited to attend Monday’s funeral, he was invited to a separate memorial service in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, alongside fellow living former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. None of the former presidents had confirmed their attendance as of Monday evening.

Donald Trump takes swipe at Joe Biden
Donald Trump is pictured in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on September 3, 2022. The former president suggested that he would have been placed in more prominent seating at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, had he still been leader of the US
ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images

Leave a Comment