Queen Elizabeth reportedly sent a private letter to President Joe Biden before he took office last week. The Sunday Times' royal correspondent, Roya Nikkhah, was the first to report that the queen reached out to Biden ahead of his inauguration. The contents of her message were not made public, nor is it clear if it was congratulatory, diplomatic or practical.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace later confirmed to Harper's Bazaar that the queen had sent a private letter to Biden, meant to reach him before his inauguration last Sunday. Again, they provided no details, but most political analysts seem comfortable in assuming that it was a friendly letter. Queen Elizabeth II has seen 14 U.S. presidents during her 52-year reign and has met with all of them except for former President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The Queen sent a private message to President Biden @JoeBiden earlier today, ahead of his inauguration, Buckingham Palace has confirmed— Roya Nikkhah (@RoyaNikkhah) January 20, 2021
While the queen's correspondence is confidential, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent a public message to Biden on social media. He tweeted: "Congratulations to [Joe Biden] on being sworn in as President of the United States and to [Kamala Harris] on her historic inauguration. America's leadership is vital on the issues that matter to us all, from climate change to COVID, and I look forward to working with President Biden."
Biden has some experience with British royalty thanks to his time as vice president from 2009 to 2017. In 2013, he and Dr. Jill Biden hosted Prince Harry at a reception for British and American wounded service members in the United States. The following year, Prince Harry invited Jill to the Invictus Games in London, England. In 2017, he met up with Biden at the Invictus Games in Toronto, Canada.
"My wife was with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games," Biden told The Guardian at the time. He remembered the tabloids reporting that "everywhere Prince Harry went, he had this blonde woman on his arm," and he joked: "The vice president's wife! I'm a little worried here, you know what I mean?"
Biden took office with a crisis on just about every front, but during his inauguration, he placed particular importance on establishing a sense of national identity. He said: "America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a case: a case of democracy. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded."