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First Lady Jill Biden spoke about the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II. She and President Biden spent time with the late monarch shortly after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, on April 9, 2021. Here’s what Biden shared about the queen.

What Jill Biden admired about Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth waves while wearing a white outfit.
Queen Elizabeth II | Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Biden tells the Today show she has fond memories of Queen Elizabeth. She appreciated her thoughtfulness. Although she and the president were instructed not to talk about family during their 2021 visit, the first lady says Queen Elizabeth spoke about family during tea.

According to Biden, the queen spoke about her late husband, Prince Philip. Queen Elizabeth was likely aware the president is a family man, so she chose to focus on a topic they both had in common.

“What I loved about her was that she was really independent,” says Biden during an interview on the Today show. “We went up to her living room and they said to us, ‘Don’t talk about family.’ So, we went up, and the first thing she starts with is family. So, Prince Philip had just died recently, and I think she knows Joe [Biden]. I think she just wanted to talk about her husband.”

Jill Biden says Queen Elizabeth poured tea for her and Joe Biden

Biden says another thing she admired about Queen Elizabeth was how she cared for others. She appreciated how the queen went out of her way to make her and the president feel comfortable. The first lady says she and the president offered to help the queen pour tea, but she insisted they relax while she prepared tea for them.

“She poured tea, and Joe and I said, ‘Let us help you.’ [Queen Elizabeth] said, ‘No, you sit there, and I’ll get the tea.’ And then she had such curiosity. She wanted to know all about American politics, what was happening. So, she put us at ease.”

Helen Mirren had ‘a lesson in embarrassment’ during tea with Queen Elizabeth

Helen Mirren wears a pink hat and pink dress.
Helen Mirren | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Actor Helen Mirren, who portrayed Queen Elizabeth in the 2006 movie The Queen, says she was invited to have tea with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. During a discussion titled The Business: Helen Mirren and Hawk Koch Discuss the Magic of Movies, Mirren talks about a moment during tea that made her feel embarrassed.

Mirren says she tried “desperately to make polite conversation,” but her words came out like “gobbledygook.” At one point, she wanted to have milk in her tea, but the milk was near Prince Philip. This was a tricky situation because she forgot how to address the prince.

“The milk is over here on the other side of Prince Philip,” says Mirren. “And I want some milk in my tea. But my brain goes completely dead. I cannot remember how I’m supposed to address Prince Philip. Is it sir? Is it your majesty? Is it your highness? I cannot remember.”

Mirren says she didn’t know what to do. She really wanted milk for her tea, but she was too embarrassed to ask, so she decided not to say anything. “It was a lesson in embarrassment,” she says. “But [Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip] were lovely; they were utterly gracious.”

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