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Jill Biden becomes oldest sitting first lady and marks it with a bike ride

Bidens celebrate birthday by going to Delaware beach house

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 03 June 2021 21:53 BST
First Lady Jill Biden and President Joe Biden ride bicycles in Cape Henlopen State Park on June 3, 2021, in Lewes, Delaware.
First Lady Jill Biden and President Joe Biden ride bicycles in Cape Henlopen State Park on June 3, 2021, in Lewes, Delaware. (AFP via Getty Images)
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Jill Biden has become the first sitting first lady in modern US history to reach her 70th birthday.

The Bidens celebrated the event on Thursday by going to their beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware, which they bought in 2017. It’s their first visit to the house since Joe Biden became president.

The first lady was born on 3 June 1951, around eight and a half years after Joe Biden, 78, was born on 20 November 1942. They married in 1977.

How old were other first ladies?

Jill Biden was the oldest first lady to enter the office in January at 69 years old. Bess Truman, Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush were all 67 as their husbands left the office. Anna Harrison, wife of William Henry Harrison, was the second oldest first lady to enter the office at 65, only lasting a month between March and April 1841 before her husband passed away. Mr Harrison became the first president to die in office and remains the most short-lived president, dying on the 32nd day of his tenure.

For several decades now, the average age of the first lady has been 50. Helen Taft, Grace Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump all celebrated their 50th birthdays while in the White House.

Biggest age gaps between presidents and first ladies

Melania and Donald Trump come in third on the list of the widest age gaps between presidential couples. There are 24 years in between them. She was 35 when they married in 2005. Mr Trump became the first president to be on his third marriage when he entered office in January 2017.

The second-widest age gap was between Frances and Grover Cleveland. She married the then 49-year-old president at age 21. She remains to this day the youngest wife of a sitting president. There were 28 years between them. President Cleveland served between 1885 and 1889, and between 1893 and 1897. He’s the only president in US history to have served two nonconsecutive terms.

John and Julia Tyler have the largest age gap of all presidential couples at 30 years. They married in 1844 while Mr Tyler was president. He served in the White House from 1841 to 1845.

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