In their first royal duty since their wedding on April 29, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met briefly with President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, right before William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, hosted a special lunch for the American visitors.
Lasting between 15 and 20 minutes in the 1844 room in Buckingham Palace and described as “relaxed,” the meeting was held so they could trade talk of William and Kate’s upcoming tour of the U.S. – they will visit California in July – and, it is believed, they chatted about the couple’s wedding. The Duchess wore a $340 dress by Reiss.
The Obamas’ arrival at the Palace marked their formal welcome to the U.K. They stepped out into the garden terrace bathed in spring sunshine to listen to renditions of the countries’ respective national anthems, and the President inspected the guard of honor, alongside Prince Philip.
A short distance away, in Green Park, a 41-gun salute could be heard.
Perhaps to underscore that the newlyweds, despite their fame and popularity, are not official working members of the Royal Family, William, 28, and Kate, 29, were not seen on the steps. They also were not included in the lunch and are not set to take seats at the grand State Banquet Tuesday night.
About 200 royals and other dignitaries are expected for dinner, say reports. The Obamas will spend two nights at Buckingham Palace before continuing their tour of Europe – a trip that had been moved forward out of fears that the ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano could have hampered their flights.
After lunch, the Obamas headed to the site of the Royal Wedding, Westminster Abbey. There, the President laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. It was at the Tomb that Kate, following tradition, had sent her bridal bouquet to be left.
• Additional reporting by SARAH DURHAM WILSON