First Lady Melania Trump and Queen Rania of Jordan School visit Excel Academy, a public charter school for girls, in Washington, DC on April 5, 2017.
First lady Melania meets Queen Rania
02:01 - Source: CNN

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First lady Melania Trump hosted Queen Rania in Washington

The two visited a local public charter school for girls

Washington CNN  — 

First lady Melania Trump and Jordan’s Queen Rania traveled Wednesday to an impoverished area of Washington to visit DC’s first and only public charter school for girls in pre-K through eighth grade, where they participated in a listening session and visited classrooms.

The model and the monarch visited Excel Academy located in southeast Washington, and were greeted by students bearing bouquets of flowers.

“That’s so beautiful, thank you,” the first lady said as she gave student Danielle Chatman a hug.

The down-to-earth Queen engaged with the listening session participants frequently, asking a parent on the panel where she was from, and inquiring about the school’s mission regarding building life skills.

“We believe that in educating a girl, we educate a family, we educate a community,” school CEO Deborah Lockhart said, discussing the school’s social services, extracurricular and special needs programs.

The sunny charter school was filled with colorful, student-designed feminist posters, some reading, “Women are Intellectual Queens,” “Sisterhood is not a destination, but a journey,” and “I am woman, hear me roar.”

The duo stopped by an 8th grade art class and a 5th grade science class, where Trump greeted students working on Van Gogh-inspired watercolor paintings of daffodils. The pair spoke with students in lab coats and safety goggles excitedly dissecting owl pellets.

Melania Trump
Melania Trump: US must send clear message
01:13 - Source: CNN

Queen Rania has made education and children a top advocacy priority, launching several key initiatives, including the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development; the Queen Rania Teacher Academy; the Jordan River Foundation, which focuses on child safety and community empowerment; and Madrasati, which connects “individuals, private companies and organizations, and provide them with support for improving the physical and educational learning environments of Jordan’s most neglected public schools.”

Their husbands, President Donald Trump and King Abdullah II held meetings at the White House.

Trump and Queen Rania appeared to already be friendly and comfortable together: As they settled in around a table for the conversation with students, parents and faculty, Queen Rania’s chair was noticeably elevated.

“You got very tall,” Trump said, laughing.

“Oh, I think it’s my chair,” the Queen said, adjusting her seat. “Bring me down to earth.”

As Queen, she has visited with four first ladies in Washington since King Abdullah came to power in 1999, writing fondly of Michelle Obama as she left office earlier this year.

“Exceptional first lady – looking forward to the next chapter in your life and the inspiration you will bring to girls’ education. Watch out world – you haven’t seen the best of this woman yet!” she wrote in an Instagram post.

And as Trump continues to staff her East Wing and prepare for a move from Trump Tower to the White House at the conclusion of the school year, her platform as first lady is coming into focus.

While she said on the campaign trail that she planned to focus on combating cyberbullying on the campaign trail, recent appearances also indicate her interest in women’s empowerment and education.

CNN’s DJ Judd contributed to this report.