Queen Elizabeth II welcomed President Biden and the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, to her home, Windsor Castle, on Sunday in a very private visit, with cameras and reporters kept well away.
Mr. Biden and the queen inspected an honor guard of grenadiers in the castle’s sun-splashed quadrangle before retiring inside for tea. The queen has sought refuge at Windsor since abandoning Buckingham Palace early last year as the coronavirus pandemic was bearing down on Britain.
It was Mr. Biden’s last meeting before he left for Brussels, the next stop in his European tour. And it was a gentle coda to a visit that featured an ice-breaking meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose pro-Brexit government was once seen as more ideologically in sync with Mr. Biden’s predecessor, Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Johnson praised Mr. Biden as a “breath of fresh air” and said he and the president were “completely on the same page” on issues like climate change and education for women and girls.
Still, on every presidential visit to Britain, it is the meeting with the queen that most symbolizes what diplomats on both sides still reflexively call the two nations’ “special relationship” — a term Mr. Johnson recently said he did not care for because it made Britain sound needy.
It was the second visit this weekend for the Bidens and the queen. On Friday, in Cornwall, England, the queen joked with the Group of 7 leaders during a summit photo and cut a cake with a sword.
There was little description of the meeting at Windsor Castle, however, as the reporters who cover the president were given no access to the grounds once he arrived from Heathrow Airport by his helicopter, Marine One.
Mr. Biden has met the queen before this weekend but not since 1982, when he was a senator on a trip sponsored by the British-American Parliamentary Group, which promotes relations between Parliament and Congress.
After nearly seven decades on the throne, the queen has met every American president since Harry S. Truman, save Lyndon B. Johnson, and has been exposed to a range of presidential gestures, quirks and the odd faux pas.
During her meeting with Mr. Trump in 2018, he appeared to step directly in front of Queen Elizabeth while the two were inspecting the honor guard at Windsor Castle, forcing her to step around him. The image set off a social media storm, with royal commentators one-upping one another about the gravity of the breach in diplomatic protocol.