US President George W. Bush, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, first lady Laura Bush and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose at the White House as they arrive for the social dinner on the second day of the royals' eight-day visit to the US in Washington, DC.
Bush, first lady host Britain's royal couple
Prince Charles pronounced himself "still here" and "alive" Wednesday on his arrival at the White House for a visit showing off his new bride, Camilla. The Duchess of Cornwall, hoping to impress American Diana-philes on her first overseas trip as a British royal, was decidedly more enthusiastic.
Greeted by President Bush and his wife, Laura, with a no-pomp welcome, the all-smiles Camilla could be heard declaring something Mrs. Bush said was "fabulous." As the foursome headed inside for an intimate lunch, Camilla briefly lagged behind, straying off the red carpet and showing the jostling media horde a shy grin and a little wave.
There was no shortage of pageantry for the royal couple in the evening. A rare White House black-tie evening featured buffalo for dinner, music by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and dancing with several dozen luminaries from the worlds of politics, history, writing, diplomacy and sports.
With an American tour that began Tuesday in New York, Charles and Camilla were looking to stoke trans-Atlantic enthusiasm for their new marriage. Camilla was long reviled in the British press as the woman who broke up Princess Diana's marriage to Charles, but has begun gaining acceptance with increasingly high-profile appearances since the longtime lovers wed in April.
The visit invited comparisons to Charles' 1985 U.S. trip with Diana. Then, the young princess wowed America with her demure smiles, fashion sense and well-remembered turn around the White House dance floor with John Travolta.
On Wednesday, no military bands or ceremony heralded the royals' arrival - only the President and first lady waiting in the White House driveway. The duchess and the first lady both chose unadorned suits, Camilla's of navy blue with a kick-pleated skirt, Laura Bush's in tan and more tailored.