While en route to a NATO summit in Lithuania, President Joe Biden made a brief stop in the U.K. to meet with King Charles III. The British monarch welcomed Biden to Windsor Castle, where they discussed how to confront climate change and emphasized positive relations between the U.S. and the U.K.

On Monday morning, Biden and Charles met for the first time since the monarch’s coronation ceremony in May, reports CNN.

The pair’s exchange “underscored the strength of the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and the friendship between our people,” said a statement from the White House.

Charles welcomed Biden to Windsor Castle with a handshake. The president arrived to inspect an honor guard formed of the Prince of Wales Company of the Welsh Guards as the military band welcomed Biden to the castle with renditions of “God Save the King” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Although meetings between British monarchs and U.S. presidents are typically ceremonial, the two men met with policy in mind.

“We’ve got a lot to talk about,” Biden said, per the Guardian. “Our relationship is rock solid. Couldn’t be meeting with a closer friend and a greater ally.”

Both leaders have expressed a common interest in tackling the climate crisis.

Biden once called climate change “the existential threat to human existence as we know it,” per The Washington Post. Charles began sharing his opinions on climate change in the 1970s and has continued to express his thoughts on the subject, per Canada’s National Observer. He has used his position to advocate for conservation of oceans, forests, and biodiversity.

Accompanied by his climate envoy, John Kerry, Biden’s meeting with Charles was also attended by the U.K.’s energy secretary, Grant Shapps, and executives and philanthropists to discuss climate finance in the world’s poorest countries, per the Guardian.

Kerry described the meeting as “time well spent” and proceeded to praise Charles’ “convening power” on a critical issue, per CNN.

Before his meeting with Charles, Biden met Monday morning with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. And after leaving the U.K., Biden traveled to Vilnius, where he will participate in the NATO leaders’ summit.

Did Biden breach royal protocol?

Upon his arrival at Windsor Castle, Biden shook King Charles’ hand, then proceeded to casually place his hand on Charles’ back.

Royal protocol says a monarch is generally not supposed to be touched, but a Buckingham Palace source told People that Charles was “entirely comfortable” with the exchange.

“What a wonderful symbol of warmth and affection it was between both the individuals and their nations,” the source continued, per People.

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The source added that despite popular belief, Biden was “keeping with the correct protocol.”

President Biden did not attend King Charles’ coronation ceremony

Biden did not attend King Charles’ coronation in May, making it Charles’ first formal meeting with a U.S. president since being crowned monarch.

Despite making the exclusive guest list, Biden informed the king that he would not attend his coronation ceremony during a phone call, reports CBS News. Biden expressed interest in meeting with the king in the future. The White House noted that the phone call underscored the “strength of the relationship between our countries and the friendship between our peoples.”

Biden opted out of the event due to previous commitments. His wife, first lady Jill Biden, and their granddaughter, Finnegan Biden, represented the U.S. at the coronation ceremony.

President Biden will not attend coronation — here’s why
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