The first lady and the Duchess of Cambridge met with young students on Friday

By Virginia Chamlee
June 11, 2021 11:42 AM
The Duchess of Cambridge (right) and US First Lady Jill Biden during a visit to Connor Downs Academy
Dr. Jill Biden and Kate Middleton
| Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

While Dr. Jill Biden spent time with Kate Middleton during a joint visit to a school on Friday, one topic that didn't come up was the first lady's meeting with Queen Elizabeth.

Asked whether she solicited advice from the Duchess of Cambridge ahead of Sunday tea with the monarch, Biden (who has previously met the Queen) told reporters: "No I didn't. We've been busy. Were you not in that room? We were talking education."

Biden, 70, and Kate, 39, met Friday to tour a school and participate in a roundtable about early childhood education.

The Duchess and the first lady, a lifelong educator who champions schooling and the value of teachers, also took part in a lesson with the young students of the Connor Downs Academy preschool in the Hayle neighborhood of Cornwall.

Soon after arriving, the pair paused at the entrance to put on masks before sitting down in mini-chairs and meeting with the children.

Following their meeting with students inside the school, Biden and Kate ventured outside to feed the school rabbits some snacks and chat quietly, out of earshot of the press.

In the roundtable, Biden thanked the school and expressed appreciation for "the children, who were so inspiring and so well-behaved."

The first lady continued: "Early childhood education is so important to lay the foundation for all of our students. So thank you for having me everybody. It's a very special place."

The Duchess of Cambridge (right) and US First Lady Jill Biden during a visit to Connor Downs Academy
US First Lady Jill Biden (left) and the Duchess of Cambridge talk with children during a visit to Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, West Cornwall, during the G7 summit in Cornwall
| Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Biden and her husband, President Joe Biden, are in the U.K. for the Group of Seven summit. Elsewhere this week, they also spent time with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his new wife, Carrie Johnson, and their young son, Wilfred.

On Thursday, Dr. Biden tweeted a photo from a beach outing with Carrie, writing, "It was wonderful to spend some time with Carrie Johnson and her son, Wilfred, today. The special relationship continues."

The president and first lady will meet the Queen, 95, in a visit to Windsor Castle on Sunday before they leave the U.K.

The Bidens will be welcomed at the dais in the Quadrangle of the castle, and a Guard of Honor formed of the Queen's Company First Battalion Grenadier Guards will give a royal salute. The U.S. national anthem will be played.

The president will then accompany the Officer Commanding, Major James Taylor, and Major General Christopher Ghika to inspect the Guard of Honor before returning to the dais to watch the military march past alongside the Queen and the first lady, according to Buckingham Palace.

Three years ago, the Queen welcomed President Donald Trump to Windsor Castle and then retired for tea, just as she will with President Biden. Trump's 2018 visit was marked by a small controversy when he broke royal etiquette by walking in front of the monarch.

Two years before that visit, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were also entertained at the castle when Mrs. Obama also broke protocol by giving the Queen a side hug.

Palace insiders later said that the hug was just fine with the Queen, with longtime friend Angela Kelly writing in a 2019 book: "In reality it was a natural instinct for the Queen to show affection and respect for another great woman and really there is no protocol that must be adhered to."