President Joe Biden joked with Spanish King Felipe VI at a lavish dinner at the royal palace in Madrid on Tuesday night as Jill Biden admitted she was worried she and Queen Letizia would clash in their outfits.
Biden pulled out one of his favorite jokes as the royals welcomed them to the largest royal palace in use in Europe. The ornate granite building has 135,000 meters of floor space and contains 3,418 rooms.
‘We both married way above our stations,’ Biden joked to the King and Queen after he and Jill greeted the royal couple, who stood waiting in the throne room. It is one of the president’s favorite jokes and he uses it regularly.
Jill Biden, wearing a white pants suit, admitted she had other worries – namely that her outfit would clash with the stylish Spanish royal.
‘You changed,’ Queen Letizia, in a black cocktail dress, told the first lady.
Jill shook hands with her warmly and laughed. She told the president: ‘She had on a white suit today. I said “Oh no, are you wearing that tonight?”‘
The two women spent the earlier part of Tuesday visiting with Ukrainian refugees relocated to Spain. Letizia wore a white pants suit during that visit.
Spanish Queen Letizia, President Joe Biden, Spanish King Felipe VI, and first lady Jill Biden pose for a formal photo ahead of dinner at the royal palace to kick off the NATO summit
Queen Letizia told President Joe Biden how she had 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 ahead of a formal dinner at the royal palace
Jill Biden had worried her outfit would clash with Queen Letizia’s, who wore a white pants suit at an event the two women attended earlier Tuesday
Biden leans in to speak to Queen Letizia of Spain before the royal gala in Madrid hosted by King Felipe
The Spanish royals hosted NATO leaders at their home for a formal dinner to kick off the NATO alliance.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among the guests.
Biden looks on during the team photo at Madrid’s royal palace
The leaders had to climb a long granite staircase to reach the reception. The Bidens held hands as they walked up the stairs.
The dinner took place at one long table in the ornate dining room, which has massive chandeliers hanging 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 grandball room where Biden talked with Queen Letizia afterward.
To start the evening, King Felipe and Queen Letizia welcomed each of the leaders to the palace and posed for a photo with them.
After they posed with the Bidens, President Biden joked to Letizia: ‘You only have to stand for two more hours. God love ya.’
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 warms hugs to Maisy and Finnegan Biden and chatted with them ahead of the event.
Jill Biden, 71, and Queen Letizia, 49, visited several Ukrainian refugee families on Tuesday afternoon who were taken in by Spain.
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 – who are the daughters of Hunter Biden and his first wife Kathleen – joined them for the day.
The first lady and the Queen also met with Chef Jose Andres and volunteers at his World Center Kitchen. Andres team has worked in the Ukraine to help humanitarian efforts and are aiding in feeding refugees around Europe.
Andres took a selfie with Jill, Letizia and some of his volunteers. He then showed the two women around his operation.
French President Emmanuel Macron kisses the hand of Spain’s Queen Letizia while his wife Brigitte Macron speaks with Spain’s King Felipe
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia during a reception at the Royal Palace
Queen Letizia and King Felipe pose with the Bidens in the throne room at the palace
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 the abdication of his father.
Biden, who arrived in Madrid Tuesday afternoon, thanked the king for taking in migrants from the U.S. southern border.
The president noted many children in the United States these days are native Spanish speakers and that the future of America ‘depends considerably’ on the assimilation of that population.
‘You know, I tell people that the idea we’ve always had great migration flows into the United States over the years – we’re a nation of immigrants. But this is a statistic that – I think it’s 24 out of every 100 students in grades one through 12 in America speaks 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 considerably, an assimilation of a population that has grown to have 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% over the previous decade that outpaced the nation’s 7% overall population growth, Pew Research Center found.
Biden also thanked the King for his help with migrants crossing the United States’ southern border.
‘Your help in Latin America is also extremely important,’ he said.
‘The help and support and the input has been extremely valuable,’ he noted.
Spain has committed to taking a significant number of Central American refugees coming illegally into the U.S. The largest group of migrants coming over the southern border are from centeral American countries, which are Spanish speaking.
Jill Biden leaves Spain on Wednesday and President Biden leaves on Thursday after the NATO summit concludes.