While former US President Donald Trump would never let go of a chance to troll his successor Joe Biden, and he did it this time on learning that the current president was seated — or forced to sit — in the 14th row of dignitaries who were mourning Queen Elizabeth II inside London’s Westminster Abbey, no clarification has been issued so far either from Buckingham Palace or the Government of the United Kingdom on the apparently inexplicable seating arrangement.
The Bidens were perched behind the Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda, among the 2,000 attendees at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral.
As royal pageantry was on display to pay tribute to a monarch whose rule spanned seven decades, Biden was made to sit in the 14th row in front of Czech Republic Prime Minister Peter Fiala and his wife Jana Fialová and alongside the heads of Commonwealth states. Members of other royal families, such as Japanese Emperor Naruhito, were made to sit in front of the abbey for the Queen's funeral ceremony.
First Lady of the US Jill Biden was made to sit next to Ignazio Cassis, the president of Switzerland.
Was it the traffic that delayed Bidens' arrival? Most dignitaries had been asked to take a bus to Westminster Abbey, but the US president chose to travel in "the Beast,” a heavily armoured limousine.
The US head of state Biden did receive an "exception" to the strict security protocols recommended by the royal family that had strictly forbidden the guests from taking private aircraft to London or even using the state vehicles.
The foreign dignitaries were required to settle in their seats in Westminster Abbey between 9:35 and 9:55 AM, well ahead of the official start time at 11 AM for the funeral ceremony while the limousine of Biden was still crawling past an eatery in a traffic bottleneck around the time. A video clip on Twitter showed the US presidential limousine stuck in a traffic jam, and Biden could not arrive at the venue until 10:07 AM.
Unlike the general protocol where if the president of the US runs late for an event, he is greeted by the officials waiting eagerly, this did not happen during the funeral of Britain's late queen. A Guardian reporter said that the Westminster Abbey staff told the Bidens "gently” to wait until a seat was arranged among a line of British veterans.
Biden did not seem to mind that, the journalist wrote. When he signed the official condolence book for Queen Elizabeth II the day before the funeral, he noted that the Queen reminded him of his mother, and it was "an honour to meet her."
Biden paid his condolence by writing, "To all the people of England, all the people of the United Kingdom, our hearts go out to you.” He wrote of the queen in his remarks, "You were fortunate to have had her for 70 years. We all were. The world is better for her."
Trump wouldn't let go of an opportunity to mock Biden
Mocking the US president, his predecessor Trump asserted if he had been the president, the scenario would have been different, showing him more respect.
"This is what’s happened to America in just two short years. No respect! However, a good time for our President to get to know the leaders of certain Third World countries," Trump wrote on his social media platform, The Truth. "If I were president, they wouldn’t have sat me back there—and our Country would be much different than it is right now!" he added.