HAYLE, England (AP) - U.S. first lady Jill Biden and the Duchess of Cambridge learned about bunny care Friday on a joint outing to a preschool in southwest England.
They also took part in a talk about the role of early childhood education in life outcomes with experts from the U.K. and some from the United States who joined via Zoom.
“It’s a huge honor to have you in the United Kingdom,” the duchess, formerly known as Kate Middleton, said before the discussion. She thanked Biden, a longtime English teacher, for her interest in early education, also a topic of interest for the duchess, who has three young children with husband Prince William.
The women wore face masks as they visited with maskless 4- and 5-year-olds in a classroom at Connor Downs Academy in Hayle. The school works with children who have experienced trauma. It also has outdoor space where the children plant vegetables and flowers and tend to animals, including two families of rescued rabbits as well as hens.
Biden carried a bowl of carrots when she and the duchess went outside to see a bunny named Storm and handed it to a group of kids on the other side of a fence so they could feed it.
Before the indoor roundtable, Biden said she was glad to visit the school.
“I met some wonderful teachers and principals and most of all the children, who were so inspiring and well behaved,” the first lady said. “I couldn’t get over it.”
She is traveling with her husband, President Joe Biden, who is attending a Group of Seven summit of leaders from the world’s largest economies that opened Friday in Carbis Bay.
She thanked the news media for covering the appearance “because early childhood education is so important to lay the foundation for all of our students.”
Both women took notes during the discussion, which centered on child mental health and the importance of early education in childhood development. There also was discussion of how to get parents involved early on.
Biden said she had so many questions and apologized that her time at the school was “so short as there’s so much to talk about.”
Biden has met William’s brother, Prince Harry, several times through their work and support of military veterans, but Friday was her first time meeting the duchess, according to the first lady’s office.
As she departed with the duchess, reporters asked Biden if she had sought her advice on meeting Queen Elizabeth II, which the Bidens are set to do at a G-7 summit reception later Friday, followed by tea with the monarch on Sunday at Windsor Castle outside London.
“No, I didn’t,” the first lady replied. “We’ve been busy. Were you not in that room? We were talking education.”