Prince William and Kate Middleton got their royal visit rolling Monday morning, meeting Barack and Michelle Obama at the White House. While Prince William held a sit-down with the president, the Duchess of Cambridge chatted with the First Lady, sparking what some royal-watchers termed a “fashion face off.”
But the prince and the president, after exchanging pleasantries in front of the press, retreated behind closed doors for a 20-minute private conversation.
Prince William politely avoided answering any of the questions fired at him from the shoulder-to-shoulder thicket of media members who were allowed into the Oval Office for the first five minutes of the royal meeting with Obama, wisecracking, “You’ve got pretty much every member of the press here.”
Before reporters were unceremoniously booted out of the room, they heard Prince William confess that when his son Prince George was born, he didn’t know if he was the father of a boy or a girl.
“You forgot to ask?” asked an incredulous Obama.
“The excitement of the event and everything else was just chaos,” Prince William told the U.S. President. “I forgot to work out whether it was a boy or a girl.”
William also told Obama that he expects 2015 will be “an interesting year… a busy year,” with the expected birth of his and Kate’s second child, a baby due to be delivered in April.
After chatting briefly with U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton caught a quick flight back to New York City, where she joined with the wife of New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio, Chirlane McRay, to visit the Northside Center for Child Development in Harlem.
The Duchess met with staffers at the center, which provides services for more than 3,000 underprivileged kids every year, and wrapped holiday gifts with the children.
“There are many places she could have picked in New York, and we’re very proud she visited us,” said the center’s intake coordinator Jennifer Hogan, remarking that the Duchess seemed like a down-to-Earth person.
Meanwhile, the contents of private discussions between President Obama and Prince William were not disclosed, but they may have covered an issue close to the Prince’s heart: the battle against wildlife poaching.
After meeting with Obama, Prince William stopped at the World Ban, where he delivered an address, assailing the international traffic in illegally hunted animals, calling it “one of the most insidious forms of corruption and criminality in the world today.”