Joe Biden Not Attending King Charles' Coronation Wouldn't Be So Unusual, Actually

Major world leaders and representatives from allied nations are invited to attend the upcoming coronation of Britain's King Charles III on May 6, 2023, but the current President of the United States, Joe Biden, is not expected to be in attendance. While Biden was invited, he will reportedly be sending a delegation to attend in his place, rather than making an appearance himself. While this might seem surprising to some, it is not remotely unusual; no sitting U.S. president has ever personally attended the coronation of a British monarch.

In fact, when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953, the sitting American President Dwight D. Eisenhower also sent a delegation in his place. Plus, lest anyone believe Biden's choice is any type of slight toward the royal family or the British Monarchy, Biden made his respect for the monarchy publicly known by attending the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II, something no sitting American president had ever previously done. 

Even so, Biden is getting some criticism for his choice not to attend the upcoming coronation, and his true feelings are being called into question.  

Conservative British politicians are upset with Biden

Though President Biden will be sending his wife, first lady Jill Biden, as the head of the delegation that will attend King Charles' upcoming coronation in place of The President himself, some critics feel Biden should be attending the historical event personally since he was directly invited. 

"It seems pretty remiss, and I'm tempted to say more fool him for not coming," a Conservative member of the British Parliament named Bob Seely, told the Telegraph. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you would have thought he should come because he's a head of state." The White House has declined to comment on this call-out, perhaps because no previous president has ever attended a British coronation in person, and so there is no reason to believe Biden's choice is a snub.

That said, there are other theories as to why Joe Biden might have personal reservations about attending the coronation of King Charles III.  

Some are even blaming Biden's Irish roots

Joe Biden's ancestral homeland is Ireland, a country with a long, complicated, bloody history with Britain. While Ireland itself is now a free republic, Northern Ireland is still a part of the British Empire, under the rule of King Charles III. One editor has made major headlines by claiming that Biden would rather not attend Charles' coronation because of his loyalty to his Irish heritage. 

Russell Myers, the associate editor of the Daily Mail, told Sky News that while Biden's "punishing schedule" is likely the biggest reason for his inability to attend, he also said, "Biden is staunchly proud of his Irish roots, his Irish American roots, and so I didn't think it was a real possibility that he would come."

There is no evidence Biden truly harbors resentments toward the British crown, but he is in fact planning to visit both Ireland and Northern Ireland later this month. His visit to Belfast will coincide with the 25-year anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, which sought to end decades of violence between pro-Ireland Catholics and pro-Britain Protestants (via Washington Post). Just one week after this visit, former president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton will also be visiting, along with King Charles himself and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, all of whom will attend the official anniversary celebrations.

Neither Biden nor the White House has given a direct reason for Biden's decision, though no precedent is being broken by him not attending the coronation of King Charles III.