Her face was a picture of happiness as she chatted animatedly with President Biden and his wife Jill as they ended their widely-acclaimed visit to Britain – their first overseas trip since taking office – with this personal audience and honour.
Just 48 hours after Her Majesty travelled to Cornwall to meet global leaders, including the Bidens, attending the G7 summit, there appeared to be a particular intimacy as the US leader, and his wife, were greeted at Windsor.
In contrast to the awkwardness when Mr Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump visited Windsor in 2018, this was a far more friendlier occasion with Her Majesty’s guests simply honoured by their invitation at this time – their personal pleasure was self-evident and needed no further elaboration.
After all, it is still just over two months since 99-year-old Prince Philip died and Covid restrictions meant the Queen had to sit alone at the funeral of her beloved husband of 73 years.
But duty continues to come first, even at times of personal grief, and the preceding 48 hours prior to the arrival of the Bidens represented some of the busiest, and most significant, of the Queen’s 69-year reign that has seen her meet 13 US presidents (Lyndon B Johnson being the exception).
After she, and other senior members of the Royal family, put on a diplomatic charm offensive at the G7 that left international leaders starry-eyed by her sparkling presence, the Queen attended a scaled-back Trooping the Colour ceremony as the focal point of ceremonial events to mark her 95th birthday.
At one point she could be seen tapping her foot to the rhythm of military music before looking up in wonderment as the Red Arrows performed an evocative display to mark the occasion.
But the poignancy was palpable – this was the first Trooping the Colour since Prince Philip’s death and any newly-widowed person will empathise with the Queen and her conflicting emotions at such occasions.
It was from the same Windsor quadrangle, now the default setting for so many Royal events, that she followed the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin on its final journey to St George’s Chapel.
Now it played host to President and Dr Biden who chatted to dignitiaries after stepping off the Marine One helicopter, laughing and holding hands, before being taken in a Range Rover inside the castle precincts. Wearing a floral pink dress, the Queen was a picture of elegance as her guests arrived – Covid, though, did preclude the traditional shaking of hands in friendship or an undiginifed elbow bump.
They stood to attention on a dais as the American national anthem was played by the Band of the Coldstream Guards before Mr Biden inspected the guard of honour to the strains of the Star Spangled Banner.
As Her Majesty explained the ceremony to the Bidens, they then accompanied their host on steady walk to the Sovereign’s Entrance and afternoon tea.
It is said the Queen, by custom, personally pours the first cup of tea for her guests before light sandwiches, and cake, as part of a very British, and quaint, welcome – one which put the Royal seal on a new chapter in the enduring relationship between Britain and America.
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