First lady Jill Biden and Kate Middleton looked like the best of friends, bonding over their shared interests in children and education during at an appearance together Friday at an elementary school in Cornwall, England, while President Joe Biden attends the nearby G7 summit.
Biden and the Duchess of Cambridge also looked as though they color-coordinated their outfits — or that they had their assistants make sure their outfits would be complementary. Biden wore a dark pink blazer over a white dress, while the duchess wore a fuchsia Alexander McQueen dress. Both women wore nude heels.
The Duchess of Cambridge and the US First Lady visited a school in Cornwall on Friday, as leaders of the G7 arrived for a summit. Kate Middleton and Jill Biden were at Connor Downs Academy where they chatted with students and met the class rabbit. pic.twitter.com/hpkUomksK8
— The Royal Family Channel (@RoyalFamilyITNP) June 11, 2021
The friendly photos of Kate and Jill Biden, a lifelong educator, chatting easily together, meeting with the school’s young students and feeding carrots to the children’s rabbits, present a contrast to the last time the duchess was in the presence of an American first lady, Melania Trump — and how awkward it all seemed.
In June 2019, President Donald Trump and his family visited the U.K. for a three-day state visit, but during that visit, the only time Kate might have interacted with Melania Trump was at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, and there is a notable absence of photos showing the royal couple with this particular president and first lady.
Prince William, as future king, and Kate attended the state banquet, with the duchess looking regal in a white Alexander McQueen gown, tiara and sapphire and diamond earrings.
William and Kate were not specifically photographed with America’s controversial president or his first lady. There only is video of them following the queen, Trump and Melania Trump, escorted by Prince Charles, into the banquet. The duty of posing for photos with Donald and Melania Trump was left to the queen and to heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 3, 2019
Meanwhile, Kate and William didn’t shy away from being photographed multiple times with the Trumps’ predecessors, Barack and Michelle Obama.
The younger members of the royal family, especially Prince Harry, were known to be friendly with the Obamas. Kate and William invited the former first couple to a private dinner at their apartment at Kensington Palace when they visited England in April 2016. The two couples also appeared together in a now iconic photo of Barack Obama meeting their son Prince George, then 3.
Remember when Prince George wore his bathrobe to meet Barack Obama? That was my peak. pic.twitter.com/2F1cVdvtGz
— Greta (@GretaRamsey) November 17, 2019
During the Trumps’ visit, things became especially awkward earlier on June 3, 2019 when the queen hosted a lunch at Buckingham Palace for Donald and Melania Trump. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, tagged along to the lunch.
William and Kate weren’t at the lunch, but Prince Harry attended and reportedly tried to keep his distance from the president. That was understandable, given that Trump’s visit to the U.K. was preceded by controversy: Trump had called Harry’s American wife, Meghan Markle, “nasty” in an interview, because the former TV actress had labeled him a misogynist during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Harry was seen by a royal reporter looking uncomfortable and trying to avoid being photographed with Ivanka Trump, Trump’s White House senior advisor. The Duke of Sussex “noticeably hung back” when the queen led the group into the palace’s picture gallery, to look at artifacts in the palace’s collection. He also “drifted off” after entering the gallery with Ivanka Trump.
Prince Harry, who was also at the private lunch, noticeably hung back. He walked in with Ivanka (was he supposed to show her round the exhibition?? or maybe they sat next to each other at lunch) and then drifted off to talk to the Lord Chamberlain (the Earl Peel). pic.twitter.com/NLyfNvkZx6
— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) June 3, 2019
So far, it’s fair to guess that Kate and William will be more comfortable interacting with the Bidens than they would have been with the Trumps, had Donald Trump been re-elected.
Meanwhile, Kate and William also have been taking on a larger public-facing role in the past couple of years, particularly following the exit of Harry and Meghan Markle from royal life.
As second in line to the throne, William also has taken on an increased role in helping the 95-year-old queen and Charles lead the royal family, while he and Kate continue to champion causes such as mental health, the overall well-being of children and the importance of sports and visual arts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kate and William also were at the forefront of royal efforts to show support for healthcare workers and to encourage Britons to get vaccinations. For the G7 summit, they are attending some official events, marking another milestone in their progression as senior royals, the Daily Mail reported.
With her visit with Jill Biden to Connor Downs Academy preschool, Kate was able to show her commitment to children’s education. Biden, who still works as a community college professor, was asked about the impact of early-childhood education.
“It’s very important to the foundation,” she said. “As a teacher at the upper levels, if they don’t have a good foundation, they fall so far behind. This is amazing to see how far advanced they are.”
In the evening, Kate and William are expected to attend a reception for world leaders, hosted by Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.