During a speech to gun control advocates on June 16th, President Joe Biden concluded his remarks with a peculiar comment: “God save the queen, man.” The statement left the White House press corps perplexed, as they struggled to decipher its meaning within the context of the President’s speech. The subsequent explanation provided by the White House did little to shed light on the matter.
The phrase “God save the Queen/King” is commonly associated with the British monarch, particularly Queen Elizabeth II prior to her passing, serving as a prayer for the ruler of the country. However, with Queen Elizabeth’s passing, the more appropriate reference would now be “God save the King,” alluding to the newly-crowned King Charles III.
Some speculated that Biden may have been unaware of Queen Elizabeth’s passing, leading to the tongue-in-cheek remark, “Who’s gonna tell him?” joked one social media user. Alternatively, there is a new queen in England, albeit not the primary ruler—could the President have been referring to Queen Camilla, the queen consort? Or perhaps, in a speculative stretch, he was alluding to Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, who assumed the position of Europe’s longest-reigning living sovereign after Queen Elizabeth II’s demise.
However, according to the White House, all of these theories have been deemed incorrect. When reporters confronted Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton about the remark later that day, seeking clarification, Dalton simply stated that Biden was “commenting to someone in the crowd”—as though it was an inside joke shared between them. The press secretary offered no further explanation or elaboration.
This remains an unusual situation, especially considering that President Biden did not attend the May 6th coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, adhering to a longstanding American tradition of not personally attending British monarchs’ coronations—a nod to our country’s Revolutionary days.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time President Biden has used the phrase publicly. Back in 2017, while serving as Vice President presiding over the counting of electoral votes confirming Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory, Biden jokingly remarked “God save the Queen” to then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan before concluding the session.