In Depth

Melania Trump: is first lady coming to a school near you?

President's wife planning solo trip to meet British schoolchildren during UK tour

Melania Trump will visit a British school on Friday to talk about the dangers of cyberbullying as part of her Be Best campaign.

The US president and first lady touch down in the UK this evening for a four-day visit that will include meeting the Queen at Windsor, a black-tie dinner with the prime minister at Chequers, a military parade at Blenheim Palace and a round of golf in Scotland.

Melania will accompany her husband for most of the week-long European trip, which began in Brussels at the Nato summit and ends in Helsinki where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, but she will have her own solo events and agenda.

“She's looking forward to representing the United States, and also exchanging ideas around issues facing children with her counterparts,” said Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's communication director.

What is the Be Best campaign?

Launched in May, the first lady’s “Be Best” campaign is designed to teach children about “the importance of social, emotional, and physical health”.

The drive urges children to use social media in a “positive” way and warns about the dangers of opioid addiction.

“As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behaviour such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,”  she said during a White House briefing to launch the three-pronged programme.

“I believe our responsibility lies in the critical time before a child reaches adulthood.”

Following the announcement, spectators were quick to critique the campaign slogan’s grammar, with President Trump reportedly laughing off queries about whether it was grammatically correct, says Newsweek.

On previous trips abroad, Melania has focused predominantly on children, “her main area of interest”, says the Daily Mail.

She tends to focus on children's hospitals, having spent time with sick children on five of her last foreign trips, although she also visited schools during her trip to Japan and China last year.

Where will she visit?

Details haven't been released on what school she will visit. Last month The Daily Telegraph said an event in London had been ruled out “amid fears it could become a focal point for protesters voicing their opposition to Donald Trump”.

The paper said British figures involved in the planning were “keen to avoid a repeat of the Hamburg G20 gathering last year, when Melania was unable to leave her hotel due to protests”.

However, reports in the Daily Mail suggest that, while the president is likely to avoid the worst of the protests, as he'll be having meetings and events in the countryside, “the first lady will be in the capital city in the centre of the storm”.

It is likely press will only be notified of the location at the last minute to avoid a clash with protesters but UK officials say the final decision is up to the first lady’s team of advisers.

If the visit does go ahead, Melania will be mimicking another first lady's visit to London. Michelle Obama's stopped at a London girls' school in April 2009 in one of her first solo events abroad as first lady.

What else is on Melania's UK itinerary?

As well as their joint engagements and her individual trip to a British school, the Mail says Melania will also meet with army veterans.

While her husband meets May, Melania will have her own meeting with the prime minister’s husband, Philip May, who has apparently bought a new suit for the occasion.


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