Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t the only member of his family who will step into the international limelight next week when he makes his first official visit to Washington.
Mr. Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, will be front and centre as well. Ms. Grégoire-Trudeau will join the Prime Minister during the official welcoming ceremony on the White House south lawn Thursday morning, followed by a luncheon hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry and the state dinner that evening.
While her husband meets President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Ms. Grégoire-Trudeau will join first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday as part of the “spousal program.” That program will highlight Ms. Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, a U.S. government effort to raise awareness for girls’ education around the world.
“It is not always the case, when the state visit comes through, that the first lady will make time to do something [with a visiting spouse],” said Matt Browne, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress, an independent policy institute in Washington. “Inside the White House and beyond that, there is clearly an interest in who [Ms. Grégoire-Trudeau] is as a person, and that element of glamour within the couple adds to the whole occasion.”
That glamour will be on display at Thursday evening’s White House state dinner, where the Trudeaus will be the guests of honour amongst Washington’s power players and world-famous celebrities, followed by an after-party at the ultra-modern W Hotel. The comely couple will also attend more casual gatherings around town during their three-day visit. “Across the city, there’s a kind of buzz about it,” Mr. Browne said. “Having somebody who has a bit more of an inspirational politics is a respite from lot of what we’re seeing at the moment in the U.S. media.”
When the Trudeaus arrive on Wednesday, they’ll attend a cocktail party in the evening organized by the Centre for American Progress and Canada 2020, a progressive think tank with a friendly relationship with Mr. Trudeau.
The party is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “unbelievably cool” Renwick Gallery across from the White House, according to organizer Alex Paterson. Currently on the guest list of about 500 people is Toronto-born R&B singer The Weeknd, who just scored two Grammys. The mixer will feature two signature drinks: The Canuck, made with Crown Royal Northern Harvest rye, lemon juice and maple syrup; and L’Habitant, with Ungava gin, Campari, vermouth, soda and a rosemary sprig. It all has “a more fun vibe about it than some of the more staid and stuffy receptions,” Mr. Browne said.
On Friday morning, the Trudeaus will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Following that, Mr. Trudeau will host a question and answer session with students at American University, and attend a Canada 2020 luncheon at the historic Mayflower Hotel. Mr. Trudeau is expected to deliver a short speech for about 150 people, followed by an onstage interview.
Mr. Browne said guests at the luncheon will include members of Congress, senators, diplomats, political strategists and policy makers. “I think everyone in D.C. is really excited about it,” he said.
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