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Obama to Prince Charles at White House visit: Americans are 'quite fond of the royal family'

by Eun Kyung Kim / / Source: TODAY

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Prince Charles received a warm White House welcome Thursday from President Obama, who told the future British king how “quite fond” Americans are of the monarchy.

Prince Charles and President Obama in the Oval Office.
Prince Charles and President Obama in the Oval Office.Chris Jackson / Getty Images

“I think it’s fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family,” Obama said during their Oval Office meeting. “They like them much better than they like their own politicians.”

The prince replied: "I don't believe that."

Pool/Getty Images

Charle's wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, also attended the gathering, sitting across from Vice President Joe Biden. The White House visit came on their second full day spent in the nation’s capital and toward the tail end of their brief U.S. visit.

Obama and Prince Charles last met in the Oval Office in May 2011.

Earlier in the day, the royals toured Lincoln Cottage, where President Abraham Lincoln developed the Emancipation Proclamation. The couple then headed to the nearby Armed Services Retirement Home before going off into different directions: Prince Charles to a charter school for adult immigrants and his wife to a forensic sciences center.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles during a tour of President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers Home in Washington, DC.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Charles during a tour of President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers Home in Washington, DC.Mark Wilson / Getty Images

They will end the day at an awards reception where Prince Charles will be recognized for his extensive conservation work.

Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and other guests at a Washington reception.
Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and other guests at a Washington reception.Joshua Roberts / AP

On Wednesday, their first full day in the nation's capital, Prince Charles and Camilla toured several of the city's historic landmarks, including the Lincoln Memorial, where they were mobbed by other tourists and answered questions about the impending birth of the next royal heir.

OLIVIER DOULIERY / EPA

At the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, the royals were joined by two civil rights leaders: the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a King protege, and Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who marched in the "Bloody Sunday" demonstrations for minority voting rights in Selma, Alabama, 50 years ago.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

They also paid a visit to Mount Vernon, the plantation estate that belonged to George Washington. During his White House visit, Prince Charles told President Obama how much he enjoyed returning to the site.

"I was there 45 years ago — in 1970 — so it was fantastic. It is very special there," the prince said.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pay a visit to Mount Vernon, the plantation home of George Washington.
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, pay a visit to Mount Vernon, the plantation home of George Washington.Manuel Balce Ceneta / Pool via Reuters

The couple also made separate appearances Tuesday: Prince Charles toured the National Archives and then spoke to leading environmental organizations, while Camilla paid a visit the Shakespeare Theater Company.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Michael Kahn, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company, visit the wig room during a tour of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Michael Kahn, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company, visit the wig room during a tour of the Shakespeare Theatre Company.Carolyn Kaster / AP

The couple arrived late Tuesday night for their whirlwind four-day tour of the United States. They are scheduled to fly to Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday to attend various cultural events there before returning home to London.

Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall arrive for a reception at the British Ambassador's residence on Tuesday, March 17.
Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall arrive for a reception at the British Ambassador's residence on Tuesday, March 17.Andrew Harnik / AP

This is the third official U.S. visit together for the royal couple: Charles and Camilla made their first trip together in 2005, shortly after their April wedding. At the time, Camilla was one of the more reviled figures, both in America and Britain, after being called the “third person” in her husband’s first marriage to the beloved Princess Diana.

But her husband's obvious fondness for her, along with gushing reviews in numerous interviews, have helped soften her public image over the past decade.

This article was originally published Mar. 19, 2015 at 4:39 p.m. ET.

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