While Britain's Prince William met with President Barack Obama at the Oval Office on Monday, his wife, Kate, toured a child development center with New York City's first lady, Chirlane McCray.
On the first full day of a trip partly devoted to discussing conservation and education issues, Kate visited a Harlem organization that provides afterschool programs, psychotherapy, parent education and other services to about 3,300 children and families each year. Meanwhile, William was scheduled to attend a World Bank conference and discuss illegal wildlife trafficking.
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 stepped out of a black SUV and shook hands with McCray.
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Kate met with children and staffers at the Northside Center for Child Development, wrapping some presents for the children and leaving the staff with an impression of a down-to-earth duchess, clinical intake coordinator Jennifer Hogan said.
" There are many places she could have picked in New York, and we're very proud she visited us," Hogan said. The 68-year-old organization was co-founded by educator and psychologist Kenneth B. Clark, whose pioneering study on the effects of racial discrimination was cited in the Supreme Court's 1954 decision to strike down public school segregation.
After about an hourlong visit, the duchess and the first lady exchanged handshakes with several mothers — and leaned down to shake hands with children — who gathered outside as the two left.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are making their first official visit to the U.S. since a 2011 trip to California and are getting their first taste of the Big Apple. William also is visiting the nation's capital for the first time, though he and the president met while Obama was in the United Kingdom. The prince also met briefly Monday with Vice President Joe Biden.
The couple's schedule is packed with events including 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, events celebrating British talent in creative fields in New York, a Cleveland Cavaliers-Brooklyn Nets game and a black-tie, up-to-$10,000-per-seat scholarship fundraiser for the University of St. Andrews.
Throngs of well-wishers awaited the royals, who are expecting their second child in April, as they arrived Sunday evening at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Some admirers had been waiting for hours, behind police barricades, hoping for a glimpse of them.
The royals are visiting a city where thousands 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.
Even Cavaliers star LeBron James said Sunday that it was "possible" he might wear a shirt saying "I can't breathe" — a rallying cry that has developed around Garner's last words — before Monday's game.
He added that playing with William and Kate in the audience would be "a huge honor."