US first lady Melania Trump kicked off her first day on a multi-stop European visit with an event hosted by Belgium at the prestigious suburban Brussels music conservatory.
Eleven squares of white tape were evenly spaced on the patio at Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, one for each significant other of a NATO world leader. Trump took her place on her square between her Belgian and French counterparts and smiled for a gaggle of cameras.
Joined by 10 other NATO spouses – including one husband – the US first lady enjoyed a concert, a chocolate tasting by the Belgian royal family’s official chocolatier and a fashion display that included hats by Belgian milliner Fabienne Delvigne.
While her husband discussed world affairs and openly critiqued his European counterparts at NATO headquarters, Trump smiled warmly at multiple photo opportunities, greeting Amelie Derbaudrenghien, who is the partner of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and Ingrid Schulerud, wife of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. She did not say a word in front of the press.
Seated between Derbaudrenghien and French first lady Brigitte Macron, Trump observed the concert of Hubay, Tchaikovsky and Piazzolla, at one point clapping prematurely with her counterparts, then smiling and continuing to listen.
Wednesday marked the first official day of activities on the week-long trip, which will also include stops in the United Kingdom and Finland. Trump is set to have an independent schedule of her own events, as well as alongside her husband, including tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Friday.