Click here to send this news item to a friend Prince Charles and his wife Camilla had a double date with US President George Bush on Wednesday, when he invited them to lunch and dinner at the White House. The royal couple met with big names from the worlds of politics, fashion and the media when they were greeted by the president and his wife Laura at a glittering dinner inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Duchess chose an elegant, embroidered cashmere top and long skirt in classic black for the high-profile event.

"Your Royal Highness, it is a great honour for Laura and me to host you and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall at the White House," said the president before an audience of 130 VIPs which included the designer Oscar de la Renta and Frasier star Kelsey Grammer.

Also in attendance was former first lady Nancy Reagan who said she had fond memories of the first-in-line's previous visit in 1985, when he was accompanied by Princess Diana. President Reagan's widow also told reporters she was "looking forward to having fond memories of tonight," before adding: "I'm very happy for them."

Prince Charles likewise reminisced about previous functions at the White House, mentioning one in 1970 when the local media seemed hopeful he might strike up a romance with the then-president's daughter. "The press was busy trying to marry me off to Patricia Nixon," he recalled with a laugh.

Earlier in the day Mr Bush welcomed his guests on the manicured lawn in front of the building when they arrived for a light lunch. They also found time to visit a boarding school for underprivileged youngsters, where the Duchess playfully refused to return her husband's pen after using it to sign the visitors' book.

Camilla's sartorial style has been the subject of much media interest in the US, with some publications offering less than flattering appraisals of her fashion choices. The 58-year-old seems to have found an unexpected ally, however, in the form of chat show host Joan Rivers, who is generally known for her stinging criticisms of other celebrities' outfits. "Camilla is one of the world's best dressed women and it's ridiculous to suggest otherwise," affirmed the presenter. "It's not about what you wear, it's about how you wear it and she pulls it off every time. As us New Yorkers say, she's got it."

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Camilla was elegant in classic black when she and her husband met up with the president and his wife for a formal dinner. Mr Bush has hosted only five such banquets since he took office in 2001Photo: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
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The Duchess seemed reluctant to return her husband's pen after signing the visitors' book at SEED school for underprivileged childrenPhoto: © Getty Images
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Camilla joins some of the students in classPhoto: © AFP
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