The First Wives have found common ground despite political differences

Click to follow
Indy Politics

They have perfected the art of juggling their roles as mothers, social campaigners and influential wives to powerful political leaders.

Now Laura Bush and Cherie Blair have overcome their political differences to forge an unlikely friendship as members of the elite First Wives club. Despite their different backgrounds, they share common ground on an array of subjects, from the Taliban's treatment of women to the drunken mishaps of their teenage offspring.

And so it should come as little surprise that the First Lady and the Prime Minister's wife will spend a day together while their husbands talk business. On Thursday, Mrs Bush and Mrs Blair will visit a school to watch a performance of Shakespeare. Thiswill be followed by a lunch at Downing Street - minus their partners - prepared by Nigella "Domestic Goddess" Lawson.

Mrs Bush and Mrs Blair are believed to have forged a strong friendship during one of their husbands' weekend summits in Texas last year. They then met on a number of occasions, with and without their partners.

Mrs Bush, a former teacher, is renowned for her homely Southern style, understated confidence and her dedication to the privacy of family life. However, the most defining feature of her role as the First Lady is the influence she wields over her husband, whom she married just three months after meeting him. He converted to her Methodist faith on the day their children were baptised in 1982. She is also thought to have prompted him to give up drinking soon after his 40th birthday in order to help him find greater direction in his life. Today, she can occasionally be heard whispering the calming words "Rein it in Bubba" when the President reverts to his trademark Wild West rhetoric - which his wife is believed to have helped him tone down.

Mrs Bush and Mrs Blair have frequently joined forces on issues that lie close to their hearts including a fund-raiserin Dallas last year in aid of breast cancer research. Mrs Blair lost an aunt and a best friend to the disease while Mrs Bush's mother was also a victim. Mrs Blair was a guest of honour at one of the key dates in the Washington social calendar in May - the annual First Ladies' Lunch.

Thursdaywill provide Mrs Blair with a chance to repay the kindness of her US hostess during her UK trip.