US President Joe Biden’s itinerary this week in Europe is dominated by the ongoing war in Ukraine and his continued efforts to rally an international coalition against Russia’s invasion of its neighbor. The U.S. president’ will put his first leg in Britain during his three-nation trip, where he’ll meet with King Charles III for the first time since the latter was crowned in May. Biden did not attend Charles’s coronation, sending first lady Jill Biden instead, and Monday’s visit will be marked by a bit of royal pomp — including a royal salute, a viewing of U.S.-related artifacts at Windsor Castle and teatime for the two men.
Biden and Charles will also use their visit to draw attention to climate issues, hosting a forum that will focus on how to encourage private companies to engage in more clean energy efforts, specifically in developing economies.
“The president has huge respect for the king’s commitment on the climate issue in particular, that he has been a clarion voice on this issue and more than that, has been an actor, someone who’s mobilized action and effort,” Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told media on Air Force One as Biden reached London. “So the president comes at this with enormous goodwill.”
That visit is paired with the sixth meeting between Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak since Sunak assumed office in October. It’s all meant to highlight the so-called enduring “special relationship” between the U.S. and the United Kingdom. When Biden declined to attend Charles’s coronation, he promised the king in a phone call that he would visit soon.
Biden last had formal talks with Charles, as the prince, at the COP26 U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021. Biden also attended the state funeral of Charles’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in September as well as a reception for heads of state at Buckingham Palace the night before the service.
The climate portion of Biden and the king’s visit also underscores the high priority that the environment has been for the 74-year-old Charles, who has long fought to protect wildlife and battle climate change. Formally called the Climate Finance Mobilisation Forum, Biden and Charles will be briefed by officials from the financial and philanthropic sectors on their discussions about expanding clean energy initiatives in developing nations.
Before making his way to Windsor Castle, the US president sat down with Sunak in a session that the White House said will focus on a range of global issues but is sure to be dominated by their continued efforts to back Ukraine. The two nations have been among the most stalwart defenders of Kyiv, and the U.K. has pushed the White House to take more aggressive steps in providing military aid to Ukraine.