Joe Biden paid tribute to the Queen on the eve of her state funeral and compared her to his late mother, despite the fact that she reportedly hated the English.
The president appeared on a balcony overlooking the late monarch’s coffin at Westminster Hall, before signing a book of condolence on Sunday.
Mr Biden said of Queen Elizabeth: “She was the same in person … as her image: decent, honorable and all about service. Our hearts go out to the royal family.”
Mr Biden was then asked why he has previously said that the Queen reminds him of his mother, Catherine Finnegan, who was known as Jean and was of Irish descent.
The president told reporters that it was “just because of the way she touched when she leaned over. She had that look like ‘are you okay, anything I can do for you, anything you need?’ But also, ‘make sure you do what you’re supposed to do.’”
The comparison between the two women is an awkward one, as it has previously been reported that Ms Finnegan disliked the English so much that she once refused to sleep in a bed that the Queen had slept in.
Georgia Pritchett, a writer and co-producer on the TV comedy Veep, wrote in her autobiography My Mess is a Bit of a Life that she met Mr Biden in the White House when he was Barack Obama’s vice-president.
She wrote that she had been talking to the then vice-president about a trip to Ukraine, which was quickly shut down by his advisers.
“He changed the subject to how much his mother hated the English. His parents were Irish and she had written several poems about her hatred of the English. He went off to find them and returned with hundreds of poems describing how God must smite the English and rain blood on our heads,” she wrote, according to The Guardian.
And she went on to say how Mr Biden had described how his mother had an issue while staying at a hotel in the UK whereto Queen had previously stayed.
“She was so appalled that she slept on the floor all night, rather than risk sleeping on a bed that the Queen had slept on,” Ms Pritchett wrote.
Mr Biden’s mother died in 2010 and lived with him after his father died in 2002.