On Thursday, after almost five months of presidency, Joe Biden’s first international tour began. The president of the United States landed in Europe. His first destination has been the United Kingdom, to participate in the G-7 meeting and meet Boris Johnson and Queen Elizabeth II (on Sunday the 13th); then he will go to Brussels to the NATO summit and later to Geneva (Switzerland), where a long-awaited bilateral meeting will take place with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But the first image of what was expected as a fully working trip gave way to a much more familiar staging, full of affectionate gestures.
The first stop was in the Cornwall area, in the south of the country. That’s where the Bidens and Johnsons met. Although they had a few moments alone, the choreography of the moment (with affectionate greetings, a reception from the British to the Americans at the foot of the car and moments of private activities) made it clear that this was not only a meeting of leaders. Their wives have also been present, subtracting political formality from the appointment and giving more relevance to the image, something that generates an idea of reunion between the two couples and, at the same time, between the two countries.
The two couples walked and allowed themselves to be photographed on the promenade of Carbis Bay, a small tourist enclave of about 4,000 inhabitants in the extreme southwest of the country. The two couples walked hand in hand, not arm in arm, or side by side. A symbolism that wanted to reflect relaxation, affection and intimacy. The four, smiling, seemed comfortable and calm. Even the president told his British counterpart, referring to the landscape: “It’s beautiful, now I don’t want to go home.”
The clothing was formal for the photographs and to attest to the meeting: they, in a suit and tie; them, midi dresses and high heels. Bad weather – the fog, in particular – forced them to change the planned program: instead of visiting the castle of Saint Michael, on an island very close to Carbis Bay, they opted for a walk.
While Carrie Johnson showed off her English blood and withstood the minus 15 degrees of temperature in a red short-sleeved chiffon suit from LK Bennett, the first lady of the United States bundled up in a jacket over her black and white dress from Brandon Maxwell moles. A garment from the French firm Zadig & Voltaire (which he had already worn in 2019) and which was very photographed because it had on the back the word LOVE (love) formed with studs. A much more positive message than that remembered trench coat worn by her predecessor, Melania Trump, where it read (in English): “The truth is that I don’t care, do you?” In fact, when asked about the garment, Jill Biden said: “Well, I think we bring love from America.”
After the walk, Boris Johnson (56) and Joe Biden (78) met for a private chat and to pose for photographers in a hotel. Carrie Johnson — after getting married a couple of weeks ago, she left her last name Symonds behind — and Jill Biden were left walking on the beach. For the walk, they decided to change the heels for some flip-flops.
Then came the surprise of the day. The wife of the British president took their son to the sand, who until then had remained out of the picture. Little Wilfred is just 13 months old and he accompanied his parents in this meeting. Jill Biden (70) and Carrie Johnson (33) were with the little boy, dressed in a T-shirt and a diaper, on the beach, where they even dared to dip their feet in the water.
After their private meeting in a hotel, the two leaders also gave way to the personal in their statements with the media. Boris Johnson even said of Biden that he is “a breath of fresh air.” The American did not hesitate to tell the press: “I have told the prime minister that we have something in common, that we both got married beyond our means.” Johnson continued with the joking tone: “I’m not going to disagree with the president on that … or on anything else.” Joe and Jill Biden married in 1977 in second nuptials; he had lost his wife in a car accident and she was divorced. Johnson married Symonds just two weeks ago, in what is his third marriage. They are both parents of Wilfred, their first child in common, the sixth for him. premier British.
After the meeting, the couples left each on their own. The Bidens continued to flaunt their normalcy and decided to go for a drink at a nearby hotel bar. As Jon Sopel, a BBC reporter, recounted, on your Twitter account, the president and his wife sat at a table near the reporters and ordered a Coke for himself and a glass of red wine for Jill. Everyone present was shocked. “For the first time in my career, the president of the United States comes and sits at a table in a bar near me,” tweeted the BBC journalist. “I will try to act calm,” he added.