Who is Finnegan Biden? First Lady Jill Biden brings granddaughter to UK ahead of coronation

The US first lady and her granddaughter arrived at Buckingham Palace on Friday for a coronation reception hosted by King Charles III

Meredith Clark
New York
Friday 05 May 2023 23:06 BST

World leaders and royals arrive for coronation reception at Buckingham Palace

First Lady Jill Biden has touched down in the United Kingdom with her granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, ahead of the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

The First Lady of the United States is expected to attend the coronation ceremony tomorrow (6 May) at Westminster Abbey with her 23-year-old granddaughter. Ahead of Saturday’s coronation, the daughter of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden joined the first lady during a meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife exploring veterans’ affairs and education.

For the outing, the 71-year-old university professor dressed in a hot pink coat and matching dress, while the first granddaughter opted for a navy blue suit. On Friday evening, Finnegan was again by her grandmother’s side for a reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by the King. There, the two were seen chatting with the Princess of Wales inside the Palace.

According to the DailyMail, Finnegan is simply attending coronation weekend as her grandmother’s guest. “There is no official US delegation. Finnegan is a plus one,” the White House said in a statement. “As we’ve noted before with other family travel, historically, family members of Presidents have frequently joined them during travel. Current practices are consistent with those used by prior Administrations.”

Finnegan Biden is one of President Biden’s seven grandchildren. She is the second child of his eldest son, Hunter Biden, and his ex-wife, Kathleen Buhle. She was born on 9 September 2000 and is named after her paternal great-grandmother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan Biden.

Finnegan has an older sister, Naomi Biden, who was married on the White House’s South Lawn last November, and a younger sister named Maisy, who went to school with Sasha Obama. Her parents separated in 2015 and divorced in 2017.

In 2018, Hunter’s fourth child was born to Lunden Alexis Roberts in Arkansas, with a judge signing an order declaring Hunter’s paternity in early 2020. He married South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen in May 2019 and had a son with her in March 2020, named Beau Biden Jr.

First Lady Jill Biden and Finnegan Biden arrive for reception at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles III for overseas guests attending his coronation

Finnegan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021 with a degree in history with a concentration in American studies, and a minor in art history. Her older sister Naomi celebrated her graduation with a touching Instagram post. “BURSTING WITH PRIDE AND PERPETUALLY IN AWE OF MY FIRST LOVE AND LITTLE SIS,” she capioned the post. Meanwhile, Finnegan’s Instagram account (@finneganbiden) is private.

As a student, Finnegan led a successful petition to extend the university’s pass/fail deadline in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I was talking with a lot of my friends,” she told UPenn’s student-run publication 34th Street Magazine at the time. “They were expressing this sincere anxiety about the pass/fail deadline… being in a different time zone, and not knowing if their families are going to get sick.”

“I was thinking of ways to enact change and to talk about it productively [so] the school might respond, and [the petition] seemed like the most productive [way] to show the school that the students really did care about this,” she said.

It wasn’t her first time getting involved in school politics. In high school, Finnegan fought to change her school’s dress code. “I started this campaign where all the girls came into school and surprised the faculty, which they hated, wearing T-shirts saying: ‘I’m not the distraction.’ That was the first time I actually saw sincere impact [from] something I did because we got rid of the dress code and had a forum at our school about it,” she also revealed to the publication.

Finnegan Biden meets with Akshata Murty, wife of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, at 10 Downing Street on 6 May 2023 in London, England

Finnegan also joined her grandparents on the campaign trail around the US during the 2020 presidential race, and even encouraged young Americans to vote by hosting an event with the Young Democrats of America.

It’s not unusual that Finnegan has joined her grandmother in the UK for the King’s coronation. Last June, she and her sister Maisy accompanied the president and first lady in Spain for a meeting of NATO countries.

In addition to Finnegan, President Joe Biden is also a grandfather to Naomi Biden, 29, Maisy Biden, 21, Natalie Biden, 18, Robert Hunter Biden II, 16, Beau Biden Jr, two, and Hunter Biden’s daughter Navy Joan Roberts who he fathered with Lunden Roberts in 2018.

The Bidens’ appearance in the UK comes after President Joe Biden received criticism for sending his wife to the coronation in his place. Former president Donald Trump hit out at Biden for his “disrespectful” decision to not attend the service. “I was surprised when I heard that he wasn’t coming,” said Trump. “I think it’s very disrespectful for him not to be there.”

No American president has ever attended a British coronation. Instead, the White House confirmed that Biden would travel to the UK for a state visit in “the near future”.

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