Kate visits NYC kids; Prince William joins Obama
Updated: 2014-12-09 10:55
US President Barack Obama (R) meets Britain's Prince William in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington December 8, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
NEW YORK - Britain's Prince William sat down with President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday and unveiled an effort to curtail illegal wildlife trading while his wife, Kate, made an impression of a down-to-earth duchess on preschoolers and prominent British expats in New York.
In the first full - very full - day of the popular royal couple's first visit to either place, William went to the White House and spoke at a World Bank conference. Kate wrapped Christmas gifts and helped children decorate picture frames while touring a child development center with New York City's first lady, then talked technology, theater and more with a British-success-story guest list at a lunch at the consul general's home.
On their first official US trip since 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a packed agenda devoted partly to spotlighting conservation and youth development issues.
"Our collective goal must be to reduce the wildlife trade by making it harder, denying traffickers access to transportation, putting up barriers to their illegal activities and holding people accountable for their actions,'' William said at a World Bank anti-corruption conference.
William, who is president of United for Wildlife, an umbrella group of conservation organizations, announced that it will convene a new task force to develop recommendations within a year on how the transportation industry can help cut off wildlife trafficking routes.
Meanwhile, the duchess and first lady Chirlane McCray met with families, took a turn gift-wrapping and heard about the work of the Northside Center for Child Development, which was founded by psychologists whose research on the effects of racial discrimination was cited in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision to strike down public school segregation.
"Very nice to meet you,'' Kate told a classroom of 3- and 4-year-olds, who were embellishing picture frames with stickers.
After encouraging a boy named Sammy in his work, the duchess, who is expecting the couple's second child this spring, turned to a girl named April.
"Where should I put this one?'' the duchess asked, pressing a sticker into the frame.
Kate and the first lady later wrapped a few children's Christmas presents in the center's gymnasium, with Kate joking that she hoped she'd be given a square package to tackle.
Later, Kate chatted with lunch guests including actor Matthew Rhys, TV and theater producer Colin Callender, Parsons The New School of Design fashion dean Simon Collins and tech news site Mashable founder Pete Cashmore. She asked how Callender's recent New York staging of "Macbeth'' had been received and told Cashmore his "must be such an exciting industry to be a part of.''
The royals' schedule for their three-day trip includes a visit to the National Sept 11 Memorial and Museum, a reception highlighting conservation efforts with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton, a visit to showcase arts education at a youth organization, a Cleveland Cavaliers-Brooklyn Nets game and a black-tie, up-to-$10,000-per-seat scholarship fundraiser for their alma mater, the University of St. Andrews.
Kate, dressed in a black coat by the British fashion brand Goat, was greeted with cheers from a crowd of several dozen spectators as she arrived at the child care center. Aaron Victor and his wife, Crystal Pizarro, had waited almost an hour on a freezing, gray day with their 3-year-old daughter, London, to catch a glimpse of the duchess.
"It was a very good experience, and I'm glad she got to see her,'' Pizarro said.
The royals are visiting a city where thousands of people have protested over the past week to decry a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, and activists planned to demonstrate at the basketball arena while the royals took in the game.