Joe Biden ‘inflaming’ Northern Ireland tensions says Mulvaney
Mr Biden has arrived in the UK for the G7 summit in Cornwall, but will round off his trip with a visit to Windsor Castle to see Her Majesty on Sunday. The President, who is very proud of his Irish heritage, has been outspoken on the subject of Brexit and how it might affect Northern Ireland and the Good Friday Agreement. This puts him at odds with Mr Johnson, one of the architects of Brexit, who has not managed to prevent tension over the Irish border with his deal.
The Biden administration has warned the UK’s Brexit negotiator Lord Frost that he risks inflaming the situation if he does not compromise on border checks.
Meanwhile, EU-UK talks on the subject appear to have collapsed on the eve of the G7, with European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic saying patience was wearing “very, very thin”.
However, the Queen, as the ultimate diplomat, has managed to smooth over such tensions in the past.
During a historic visit for her Diamond Jubilee 10 years ago, the Queen met and shook hands with Sinn Fein grandee and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.
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Mr and Dr Biden arriving in the UK on Air Force One
This is despite the fact Mr McGuinness was implicated in the assassination of one of the Queen’s own family members, Lord Mountbatten, in 1979.
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told Express.co.uk that Mr Biden will be bearing this in mind as he navigates his first visit to the UK as President.
He said: “The President, of Irish Catholic extraction, plays to his constituency as any politician would.
“The Good Friday Agreement is sacrosanct for him and his views on Brexit and the way it affects issues linked with Northern Ireland differ from those of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The Queen shaking hands with Martin McGuinness
“He will bear in mind that the most successful state visit of the Queen’s reign was her visit to Ireland in 2011 which led to a reciprocal visit by the Irish President and also to a meeting with the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.”
He added that the Queen’s friendship with Barack and Michelle Obama will “undoubtedly” help Mr Biden’s relationship with her, as he was Vice President under Mr Obama for eight years.
Mr Fitzwilliams also argued that the meeting of the Queen, 95 and Mr Biden, 78, exemplifies how older people can still make fantastic contributions to national life.
He told Express.co.uk: “The Queen had a very friendly rapport with the Obamas and this is undoubtedly of significance.
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Barack Obama and the Queen got on very well
The Queen greeting Barack and Michelle Obama
“Both she and President Biden have enormous experience and both are examples of how persons of advanced age can continue to make significant contributions to national life.
“He will be aware that she is the world’s most high-profile head of state and the only one remaining who saw service in the War.
“The meeting between them will therefore be a particularly special occasion.”
Mr Fitzwilliams went on to say that the Queen can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that her conversations with Mr Biden will remain private.
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His predecessor Donald Trump broke protocol in telling ITV’s Piers Morgan what the Queen said about Brexit: that it was “complex”.
The expert said: “She will know that in Biden, she can rely on their conversations being kept private, which was not the case with President Trump, whose erratic behaviour became infamous.
“The meeting between them should prove invaluable to the famously close links which America has with Britain.”
The only sticking point for their relationship may be Mr Biden’s comments about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The President praised Meghan’s “courage” for speaking out about mental health.
However, for the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family, the interview was a complete disaster, as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex flung accusation after accusation at The Firm.
Mr Fitzwilliams said: “Much has been made of Biden’s praise for Meghan’s ‘courage’ in speaking out on the topic of mental illness during the ‘bombshell’ interview with Oprah Winfrey which was so damaging for the monarchy.”
However, the Queen has always been able to keep her own feelings inside and do what is best for the country, the meeting with Mr McGuinness being a case in point.
It is almost certain she will be able to put aside any feelings she has about that interview in order to warmly welcome Mr and Dr Biden to her home in Windsor.