Almost five months into her new job, Jill Biden is still revealing what kind of first lady she wants to be, but one thing is already clear: you can call her “Jill.”
Biden has insisted at just about every turn that people address her by her first name. She means it — people actually call her that or, sometimes, “Dr. B.” The familiar approachability is part of the Biden narrative, and an aspect of her personality into which she leans hard.
This week, however, Biden steps into a global spotlight, complete with the expectations that come with being the spouse of the leader of the free world, and one that includes an audience with the Queen of England. Yet Biden has not had withering bouts of nervousness, nor has she scrutinized the choreography of royal protocol, two people familiar with the first lady’s thinking in the run-up to the trip tell CNN.
“Put her in a palace with a Queen, or wherever you want, she’s ‘Jill from Philly,’ ” says one longtime acquaintance of Biden, when asked if the first lady might maintain her casualness while in the presence of one of the most formally nuanced people in the world. Internally, embracing her down-home roots is fine, but externally, meeting Queen Elizabeth II involves a curtsy, speaking only when spoken to, and making sure the royal is always leading the encounter, whether she sits or stands or walks — the guest does so only after Her Royal Majesty.