Obamas meet royal newlyweds

US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama meet with Britain's Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at Buckingham Palace in London. (AP)

US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle met with Prince William and his new bride Catherine on the first day of their state visit to Britain on Tuesday.

The royal newlyweds, fresh from their honeymoon in the Seychelles, greeted the Obamas in the grand 1844 room of Buckingham Palace after making a special trip to London to see the Obamas.

It was the first time Catherine had undertaken a role as a member of the royal family since her wedding on April 29.

A Clarence House spokeswoman said the couples spent around 20 minutes together, chatting informally.

No television cameras or reporters were allowed in the room for the meeting, but a photograph released of the meeting showed Michelle Obama chatting to Catherine while the prince was deep in conversation with the president.

Catherine, now officially known as the Duchess of Cambridge, was wearing a coffee-coloured dress while the First Lady wore a floral green dress with a bright pink bolero.

Obama spoke of how his country was fascinated by the royal wedding when he met William's father, the heir to the throne Prince Charles, at the White House in Washington a few weeks ago.

William and Kate will be visiting California during their first overseas tour as a married couple, which begins at the end of next month.

The royal newlyweds did not join the Obamas for lunch and neither will they attend the state banquet being held later Tuesday.

"They ordinarily don't go to state dinners," a palace spokesman said.

The Obamas were forced to arrive early in London from Ireland on Monday, because of fears of restrictions to British airspace caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

They will stay in the sumptuous Belgian Suite at Buckingham Palace, where William and Catherine spent their wedding night.

William is a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot and he and his wife live near the base in Anglesey in north Wales.

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