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Jill Biden opens up about what tea with Queen Elizabeth II was like

‘She was such a big part of our lives,’ first lady says of late monarch

Brittany Miller
New York
Friday 19 January 2024 17:22 GMT
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Jill Biden reveals Queen Elizabeth II once told her off

Jill Biden has revealed more details about her tea with the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Prior to the monarch’s death on 8 September 2022, both President Joe Biden and Dr Biden were able to share a cup of tea with the late ruler at Windsor Castle in June 2021, when the couple was on the president’s state visit.

More information about what happened has recently come out in royal biographer Robert Hardman’s new book, The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, which was released on Thursday 18 January.

In the book’s excerpt, obtained by People, Dr Biden looked back on the tea party, noting that even the monarch’s pet corgis made an appearance at the time.

“Joe and I just decided to attend,” Dr Jill Biden said. “We all grew up with the Queen. She was such a big part of our lives. She was just always there and felt like she always would be – a really beautiful, spectacular, amazing woman.”

She continued in the book, talking about how “independent” she thought the late Queen was.

“We went up to her apartment. And I loved her sense of independence. She had a big teapot. And Joe said to her: ‘Here, let me help you.’ The Queen had been quite insistent, however. ‘No, no, no. You sit,’ she told the president. ‘I will serve you.’”

Dr Biden continued:  “Here she was with this big teapot pouring tea and we had the best time because she has such a sense of curiosity.”

“She asked all about American politics and what was going on and [the president’s] perceptions of different people and different events. It was, she reflects fondly, every American’s ‘picture’ of a quintessential British tea party, especially when ‘her little dogs came in,’” Hardman wrote.

The first lady also reflected on the meeting in an interview with Today back in September 2022.

“What I loved about her was that she was really independent. We went up to her living room and they said to us: ‘Don’t talk about family.’ So we went up and so the first thing she starts with is family. So Prince Philip had just died recently and I think she knows Joe. I think she just wanted to talk about her husband,” Dr Biden recalled at the time.

The Queen was well known for her love of tea, with former royal chef Darren McGrady previously telling Coffee Friend that the royal’s favourite meal was “probably” afternoon tea.

“The Queen had afternoon tea every day, wherever she was in the world. If we were at Buckingham Palace and she was on her own for tea, or whether she had Prince William come and join her, or whether she had a garden party for 6,000 people or even if she was on the Royal Britannia in Australia,” he said. “The Queen loved afternoon tea, I would say it’s probably one of her favourite meals. Certainly when I was there, she would sit down religiously for tea.”

As for how she required her tea to be prepared, McGrady said it was essential that the “hot tea [had] to be hot”.

“Tea has to be absolute boiling water poured over the top of it, it has to steep for five minutes, that is the most important part. It’s really, really important when making tea is that it’s made in a teapot – that is a real cup of tea,” McGrady continued.

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