President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met for the first time Thursday, looking to highlight their nations' famed “special relationship” but doing so against a backdrop of differences both political and personal.

Biden hopes to use his first overseas trip as president to reassure European allies that the United States had shed the transactional tendencies of Donald Trump’s term and is a reliable partner again. Tensions could simmer beneath the surface, but the leaders immediately struck a tone of conviviality.

“I told the prime minister we have something in common. We both married way above our station,” Biden joked after a highly choreographed walk with their spouses.

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