Jill Biden was ‘in on the joke’ after Meghan Markle sent her a bunch of lemons amid social media speculation the first lady was in Tim Sussex.
After Prince Harry and Meghan’s now-infamous Oprah Winfrey interview, their fans saw something that led them to believe Jill sympathized with the Duke and Duchess.
The day after the explosive interview aired in 2021, Jill wore an Oscar de la Renta dress with a lemon pattern to the State Department’s International Women of Courage Awards. She even topped it off with a matching face mask which she removed before speaking at the event.
The frock is similar to the $2,890 dress by the same designer that Meghan wore a month ago.
The day after Harry and Meghan’s explosive Oprah interview aired, Jill Biden wore an Oscar de la Renta dress with a lemon pattern to the State Department’s 2021 International Women of Courage Awards.
Meghan and Harry had a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in May 2021, and the next day the First Lady appeared to show her support for the couple.
Meghan wore the same print and designer for her first appearance since leaving the royal family. Photo: The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry at a Spotify event
Jill Biden was ‘in on the joke,’ a source close to her said. Jill is pictured giving a speech at the International Women of Courage Awards
Twitter saw Jill’s outfit as a subtle nod to her support of Team Sussex, although the First Lady had worn the outfit on several occasions before and since.
And, as DailyMail.com exclusively revealed, Meghan even sent the First Lady a basket of lemons as a thank you.
A source close to her told DailyMail.com that Jill was ‘in on the joke’.
It’s unclear what happened to the lemons after they arrived at the White House, and the first lady’s office did not respond to inquiries about the matter.
It is also believed that Jill, who is known to be thoughtful, almost certainly sent Meghan a thank you note for the gift.
The move could be an attempt on Meghan’s part to get closer to the First Lady, who enjoys a good relationship with Prince Harry.
Despite their 33-year age gap, Jill and Harry have formed a bond over their shared interest in the elderly. She is the mother of a veteran — the late Beau Biden served in Iraq as part of the Delaware National Guard — and started Join the Force, an initiative to help veterans and their families. Prince Harry served in Afghanistan.
And the First Lady, a voracious reader, is said to have read Prince Harry’s memoir Spare.
In fact, Jill was supposed to attend the Warrior Games in September 2021 in Orlando, Florida with Harry, who was already living in California.
Harry was inspired to start his Invictus Games after attending the Warrior Games in Colorado in 2013. However, the 2021 Games were changed to a Zoom event when in-person events were canceled due to Covid.
Their longtime friendship extended to May 2013 when they met at a reception for US and British wounded soldiers in Washington, DC.
They appeared to form an instant bond as Jill traveled alone to London for Harry’s inaugural Invictus Games the following year, where they were spotted together during several events.
Prince Harry and Jill Biden have enjoyed a close friendship for several years, with the First Lady regularly showing her support for the Duke’s Invictus Games.
Despite their 33-year age gap, Jill and Harry have formed a bond over their shared interest in the elderly. They are pictured at the 2017 Invictus Games
Both have strong ties to the armed forces; Harry served 10 years in the British Army (left), while Jill’s late stepson Beau was a major in the US Army (right).
In September 2014, Jill flew to London to attend the inaugural Invictus Games and her apparent bond with Harry prompted Joe to joke that he was ‘a bit worried’.
Joe Biden even joked that he was ‘a little bit worried’ about how much time Harry and Jill were spending together, something the then vice president repeated when his wife met the prince again in 2016 at the Games in Orlando.
‘Jill went to London for the last Games. She spent too much time with Prince Harry,’ she said.
Joe and Jill Biden both attended the Games in Toronto in 2017 – the year Harry first stepped out in public with Meghan. It’s unclear if Biden met Meghan at the time.
But Jill was a public supporter of Prince’s passion for helping seniors.
During a visit to the UK for the G7 summit in June 2020 – where she held separate meetings with Kate Middleton, the then Duchess of Cambridge, and Queen Elizabeth – Jill Biden highlighted Prince Harry’s great work at the Invictus Games as she met with British veterans as part of her Joining Forces initiative.
Harry and Meghan officially stepped back from their royal duties at the time.
Prince Harry also had kind words for games he founded for disabled veterans and Walking with the Wounded, another veterans group championed by him.
‘I’ve done a lot with the Invictus Games and Walking with the Wounded. Joe and I met them. So there are so many connections and that’s why it was important to hear their stories and hear how they’ve overcome,’ she said of her interest in veterans.
Jill Biden served as patron of the Walk of America, a 2018 campaign led by Walking with the Wounded, with Prince Harry as a patron of the group. Harry walked with six veterans – three Americans and three British – on one of their UK legs.
Meghan may be trying to forge her own relationship with the First Lady — hence the lemon basket gift.
It is still unclear how the Duchess got the lemon to Jill Biden.
Normally, any mail sent to the White House with gifts goes to a center in suburban Maryland where it goes through a screening process that includes heat and radiation tests against potential toxins like anthrax.
The procedure — which also applies to mail sent to members of Congress — was put in place after the Sept. 11 attacks and the delivery of anthrax to offices on Capitol Hill.
The high temperatures used to screen for toxins can literally burn pieces of black mail and destroy any decaying matter.
However, as a VIP, Meghan probably had a different way of sending him gifts.
For friends and family of the president and first lady, the items are usually sent to a point of contact, usually a staff member, who brings it directly to the White House. It will still be screened but the process is more direct, less cumbersome and the gift is only x-rayed, not fried.
There are strict rules for giving official gifts to the President and First Lady. For example, any gift from a foreign official is given to the State Department and is considered a gift to the nation. The President and First Lady have the option to pay for whatever they want to keep personally.
But, when it comes to personal gifts, the rules are a little different. First couples may receive ‘unrestricted gifts from relatives and gifts based on personal friendship’, according to federal regulations.
DailyMail.com revealed on Wednesday that Harry and Meghan requested to fly back to the US on Air Force One after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
Joe and Jill Biden wave as they board the presidential plane at London’s Stansted Airport after the Queen’s memorial in September 2022
Biden’s staff did not immediately receive one, admitting the request was a bad idea. ‘It will strain relations with the palace and the new king,’ a source told DailyMail.com
Perishable items like food are a bit more complicated. But it is not unknown for any White House to accept them.
For example, during George W. Bush’s presidency, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle wanted to see her state’s Kona coffee served at the White House so she began a lobbying campaign, including personally bringing some beans to then-First Lady Laura Bush, who served it at a National Governors Association dinner.
Harry and Meghan have attempted their own lobbying campaign with the White House, including wanting to fly back to the US on Air Force One after the Queen’s funeral – a request that was denied, DailyMail.com has exclusively revealed.
Dukes and Duchesses were then no longer members of the royal family but private persons.
Sources with knowledge of the decision said there was barely any discussion on the matter, just a general agreement that the request was a ‘non-starter’.
A few months ago, Jill Biden was also invited to attend Harry’s Invictus Games – but shot down the idea that her presence there might upset the royal family.
The April 2022 Invictus Games, held in The Hague, Netherlands, were the first Games since the Sussex royals stepped down.
The first lady wanted to attend, according to a source close to her.
However, British officials, in working-level conversations, told National Security Council staff they thought the idea would go down badly, a source said.
“She wanted to go,” a person familiar with the event told DailyMail.com of the first lady, but noted that the East Wing was concerned the palace might suffer if she attended.
Instead, the US delegation was led by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chastain.