Joe and Jill Biden join Spanish King Felipe and Queen Letizia at lavish dinner at royal palace
President Joe Biden joked with Spain’s King Felipe VI at a lavish dinner at the royal palace in Madrid on Tuesday night when Jill Biden admitted she was afraid she and Queen Letizia would clash in their outfits.
Biden pulled out one of his favorite jokes when the royals welcomed them to the largest royal palace in use in Europe. The ornate granite building has 135,000 feet of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms.
“We’re both married way beyond our means,” Biden joked to the King and Queen after he and Jill greeted the royal couple, who were waiting in the throne room. It’s one of the president’s favorite jokes and he uses it regularly.
Dressed in a white pantsuit, Jill Biden admitted she had other concerns – namely that her outfit would clash with the stylish Spanish royal.
“You’ve changed,” Queen Letizia, in a black cocktail dress, told the first lady.
Jill shook her hand warmly and laughed. She said to the president, “She was wearing a white suit today. I said, “Oh no, are you wearing that tonight?”
The two women spent the early part of Tuesday with Ukrainian refugees who had moved to Spain. Letizia wore a white pantsuit during that visit.
Spain’s Queen Letizia, President Joe Biden, Spain’s King Felipe VI and First Lady Jill Biden pose for a formal photo before dinner at the Royal Palace to open the NATO summit
Queen Letizia told President Joe Biden how she met two of his granddaughters earlier that day
President Biden jokes with the King of Spain ahead of the official family photo
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia pose with President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders for a formal dinner at the Royal Palace
Jill Biden feared her outfit would clash with Queen Letizia’s, who wore a white pantsuit at an event the two women attended earlier Tuesday.
The Spanish royal family hosted NATO leaders at their home for a formal dinner to kick off the NATO alliance.
Among the guests were British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The leaders had to climb a long granite staircase to get to the reception. The Bidens held hands as they climbed the stairs.
Dinner took place at a long table in the ornate dining room, where huge chandeliers hang from the painted ceiling. Tapestries hang on the walls.
Biden sat next to King Felipe. Jill Biden sat next to French President Macron.
Biden was jovial during the event, joking with the king and repeatedly patting his arm.
The leaders also posed for a large family photo with the king and queen in a large hall where Biden spoke with Queen Letizia afterwards.
To kick off the evening, King Felipe and Queen Letizia welcomed each of the leaders into the palace and posed for a picture with them.
After they posed with the Bidens, President Biden joked to Letizia, “You only have two hours left. God loves you.’
She laughed and told him how she had met his granddaughters Maisy and Finnegan earlier that day.
Jill Biden had introduced the girls to Letizia during their visit to a Ukrainian refugee center.
The Queen gave Maisy and Finnegan Biden warm hugs and chatted with them ahead of the event.
Jill Biden, 71, and Queen Letizia, 49, visited several Ukrainian refugee families who had been taken in by Spain on Tuesday afternoon.
The two women sat down with the families to hear their stories and hugged many of the children. They posed for a selfie with a little boy. Maisy and Finnegan – the daughters of Hunter Biden and his first wife Kathleen – joined them on this day.
The first lady and queen also met Chef Jose Andres and volunteers at his World Center Kitchen. The Andres team has worked in Ukraine to aid humanitarian efforts and help feed refugees across Europe.
Andres took a selfie with Jill, Letizia and some of his volunteers. He then showed the two women his operation.
French President Emmanuel Macron kisses Spanish Queen Letizia’s hand as his wife Brigitte Macron speaks with Spanish King Felipe
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia at a reception at the Royal Palace
Queen Letizia and King Felipe pose with the Bidens in the palace throne room
President Biden with a member of the Spanish Royal Guard at the reception
President Biden, meanwhile, had a bilateral meeting at the palace with King Felipe, who ascended to the throne in June 2014 after his father’s abdication.
Biden, who arrived in Madrid on Tuesday afternoon, thanked the king for taking in migrants from the US southern border.
The president noted that many children in the United States today are native speakers of Spanish and that America’s future “depends greatly” on the assimilation of that population.
“You know, I tell people that the idea that we’ve always had great migration is pouring into the United States over the years — we’re a nation of immigrants. But this is a statistic that — I think 24 out of 100 students in grades one through 12 in America speak Spanish, speak Spanish as an original language,” Biden said during a meeting with the king at the Royal Palace in Madrid. .
“So the future of my country depends a lot on it, an assimilation of a population that has grown into the same values that you possess,” he said.
The Hispanic population in the United States is the largest growing population.
It reached 62.1 million in 2020, an increase of 23% from the previous decade and surpassing the country’s total population growth of 7%, Pew Research Center found it.
Biden also thanked the king for his help crossing the southern border of the United States.
“Your help in Latin America is also hugely important,” he said.
“The help and support and input has been extremely valuable,” he noted.
Spain has pledged to host a significant number of Central American refugees who enter the US illegally. The largest group of migrants crossing the southern border come from Central American countries, who speak Spanish.
Jill Biden will leave Spain on Wednesday and President Biden will leave on Thursday after the NATO summit ends.