'She reversed the flow of history,' Biden says of Madeleine Albright.

'She reversed the flow of history,' Biden says of Madeleine Albright.

President Joe Biden praised Madeleine Albright, the first female US secretary of state, on Wednesday, calling her a "force of nature" and a champion of democracy.

"She reversed the tide of history with her decency and elegance, her compassion and brilliance," Biden said at the memorial ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral.

"She had a gift for articulating to the American people why it mattered to them that people all around the world were battling to breathe freely," the President added.

He learned of Albright's death while going to Europe for an emergency summit with NATO allies to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to the President.

"It wasn't lost on me that Madeleine was a large part of why NATO is still strong and energised today," Biden added. Albright remained a "nexus of the foreign policy community" in the decades after she left office, according to the President. Albright, according to Biden, was "I'm always, and I mean always, up to date on what's going on in the world. Always standing up for democracy and the first to raise the alarm when fascism is on the rise."

Presidents and leaders throughout the world, including myself, continued to seek her assistance," Biden added. President Obama lauded Albright's diplomatic abilities, saying that one of the reasons he thought she was so good was that "she recognised something I've always believed: That all politics, especially foreign politics, is personal."

Albright served as chairperson of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington from 2001 until her death, and she lectured at Georgetown University throughout her time as secretary of state. Albright was also a prolific writer, with seven New York Times bestsellers to her credit.