It’s not every day that an Oval Office visitor generates more buzz than the president himself.
President Barack Obama welcomed Prince William for his first visit to the White House to thank the Duke of Cambridge for the British royal family’s hospitality during presidential visits to the U.K. and to underscore “the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom,” the White House said in announcing the visit.
The president and the prince posed briefly for photographs at the start of their meeting and made no remarks.
Meanwhile, his wife, Kate Middleton met with Chirlane McCray, New York City’s first lady Monday morning. They both visited the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem where the Duchess of Cambridge was greeted with cheers from a crowd of several dozen spectators standing behind police barricades across the street.
The centre provides educational and mental health services to about 3,300 children and families each year.
William and Kate arrived in New York City yesterday. It’s the royal couple’s first visit to the U.S. since 2011 and the first either has made to New York or Washington. They left their 16-month-old son, Prince George, at home.
The prince took the U.S. Airways shuttle from New York to Washington this morning.
The centrepiece of 32-year-old William’s visit will be his speech later today at a World Bank conference highlighting the poaching of animals and the illegal ivory trade. The prince is the president of United for Wildlife and will speak at the opening session of the International Corruption Hunters Alliance, according to the World Bank.
Tonight it’s a meeting of royalty, of sorts. The couple is scheduled to see a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are led by star forward LeBron James, who is known as “King James.”
The National Basketball Association is a partner with the prince’s Royal Foundation and United for Wildlife.
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Tomorrow, the couple will visit the National Sept. 11 Memorial museum, visit a charity serving youth in New York, attend a reception showcasing British arts in New York and attend a gala and fundraiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in honour of the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland.
But no first-time visit to New York is complete without a trip to the top of the Empire State Building, and the Duchess of Cambridge, it turns out, is no different from any other excited tourist when it comes to sorting out her priorities.
Royal aides had left her off the list of dignitaries for an official visit to the city’s most famous building on Tuesday, anxious to give her some down-time to make allowance for her pregnancy.
But the Duchess, it seems, cannot resist the opportunity to visit the 86th-floor viewing platform and has told her staff she would like to go too.
The spot is perhaps best known as the location where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan meet for the first time in the romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle, and the Duchess will be able to ask Hanks about his memories of filming the scene when they meet at a dinner later the same day.
Despite their privileged upbringings, neither the Duke nor the Duchess has ever been to New York before, and they have been “immensely looking forward” to exploring the city, aides said.
But their 48-hour stay will have no time for private sightseeing or Christmas shopping before they fly home on Tuesday night, and the 32-year-old Duchess is clearly keen to grab every opportunity to see as much if the city as she can.
A royal source said: “The Duchess has told us that if she is feeling up to it she would like to join her husband at the Empire State Building on Tuesday.
“Her program has been put together to take account for the fact that she is five months pregnant and had an illness for the first stage of her pregnancy.”
The Duke of Cambridge will be at the Empire State Building to attend a reception for British entrepreneurs as part of the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign to promote investment in the U.K.
The Duchess will have spent several hours on her feet by then, spending the morning at a youth organization in Harlem and part of the afternoon at another GREAT campaign reception, this time to celebrate New York-based Britons working in the arts and creative industries.
Later that evening the couple will attend a gala dinner at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to raise money for the St. Andrews University 600th anniversary appeal. Tom Hanks, whose daughter, like the Duke and Duchess, studied at St Andrews, will give the toast at the dinner.
Danny Lopez, the British consul-general to New York, said: “Over the last few weeks it has been incredible to witness the level of excitement from people here wanting to be part of this.”
The royal couple, who are staying at the Carlyle hotel, began their visit last night by attending a private dinner hosted by Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of the WPP advertising group, and attended by 15 supporters of the Duke and Duchess’s Royal Foundation charity.
With files from The Associated Press