Inside Kate Middleton and Dr. Jill Biden’s Meaningful Meeting
How’s this for historic? Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden met each other for the first time yesterday for a special royal engagement during the G7 Summit in Cornwall yesterday. The two powerhouses paid a visit to the Connor Downs Academy in Hayle, West Cornwall, on June 11, where they “led a roundtable discussion on the importance of early childhood on lifelong outcomes… and what can be done to make a difference”.
They were also joined by early childhood experts from both countries and discussed how “a fundamental shift in how [both] countries approach the earliest years of life” was vital, as Dr. Biden wrote in an op-ed for CNN. The pair also met with the school’s reception class and took part in several activities in the school, including feeding Storm, the school rabbit.
Early childhood education has been a cause close to both the Duchess and Dr. Biden. The Duchess has actively spoken up about the topic and been involved with drawing awareness to the issue through her activities as a royal, and Prince William’s Royal Foundation also commissioned the biggest ever UK study on the early years, of which the findings were released in 2020.
Meanwhile, Dr. Biden, who has previously worked as an English professor, former high school teacher and reading specialist, and continues to teach at the Alexandria campus of Northern Virginia Community College, is also committed to supporting early childhood education. In her op-ed for CNN, she said, “If we care about how children perform at school, how they succeed in their careers when they are older, and about their lifelong mental and physical health, then we have to care about how we are nurturing their brains, their experiences and relationships in the early years before school.
“The evidence from the UK and US and internationally is now overwhelming. Multiple studies show that it is these early years that really matter for lifelong outcomes. It is time to put this evidence at the heart of how we rebuild with boldness and purpose from the pandemic.”
In press statement following their meeting, Kensington Palace also announced, “Next week, The Duchess will step up her work in this area, with a major announcement outlining how she will elevate the importance of early childhood and continue the conversation on this vital issue.”
This is the first time that the Duchess and Dr. Biden have met each other, although this is not Dr. Biden’s first royal connection. The US First Lady also knows Prince Harry—who now lives stateside—since 2012, having met him at at a reception for US and British wounded warriors in Washington.
Dr. Biden will meet with Queen Elizabeth II later in the week, much to her excitement. “Joe and I are both looking forward to meeting the Queen,” she said. “That’s an exciting part of the visit for us. We’ve looked forward to this for weeks and now it’s finally here. It’s a beautiful beginning.”
Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Join Forces With Procter & Gamble: Here’s Why It Matters
The G7 Summit is currently underway in Cornwall, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of the European Council Charles Michel, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and their spouses.
This year the UK has also invited India, South Africa, and South Korea to attend the Leaders' Summit as guest countries, as well as the EU.
The global organisation brings together seven of the world’s top democratic nations to foster a more prosperous and green future, as well as to discuss climate change, trade, technology, and scientific advancements. It will take place from June 11 to June 13, 2021.