Queen Elizabeth II "was the same in person as her image: decent, honorable and all about service," President Biden told reporters in London after signing a condolence book Sunday evening. "Our hearts go out to the royal family, King Charles and all of the family," he added, per USA Today. "It's a loss that leaves a giant hole and sometimes you think you'll never overcome it." The president and first lady Jill Biden arrived Saturday night for the events honoring the queen, whose funeral will be Monday morning. The first lady signed a separate book for the spouses of leaders, per CNN.
The Bidens then went to Buckingham Palace for a reception hosted by King Charles to welcome the hundreds of world leaders who will attend the funeral. Earlier, they had gone with US Ambassador Jane Hartley to Westminster Hall, where the public has been streaming past the queen's coffin. The three walked alongside members of the public, per the Guardian. As he stood before the coffin, Biden took a deep breath, made the sign of the cross, and put his hand over his heart, per the Washington Post. He first met Elizabeth in 1982 when he was a senator. At 8pm local time, the nation, including the people in line at Westminster, paused for a moment of silence. One woman in line said she wanted to pay her respects in person, per the AP. "The world is in such a weird place and then this happened," said Lauren Wilson, 36. "It feels more momentous." (Read more Queen Elizabeth II stories.)