Dr Jill Biden: who is Joe Biden's wife and US First Lady, how did the pair meet - and what is she a doctor of?

Dr Biden and President Biden, who have a nine-year age gap between them, visited the UK for the G7 Summit at the weekend

The G7 Summit thrust Joe Biden into the spotlight as the new US President met with world leaders for the first time since he assumed office.

But attention was also on America’s First Lady, Dr Jill Biden, who accompanied her husband on his first foreign trip as US leader.

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During the summit, Dr Biden, an educator herself, visited a primary school in Cornwall alongside the Duchess of Cambridge to learn about the work carried out to support children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

President Joe Biden First Lady Jill Biden at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall (Getty Images)President Joe Biden First Lady Jill Biden at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall (Getty Images)
President Joe Biden First Lady Jill Biden at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall (Getty Images)

But the New Jersey-born First Lady is no stranger to high-profile political events, as she has already served as the Second Lady of the US while Mr Biden was Barack Obama’s Vice President.

Here is everything you need to know about her.

Who is Jill Biden?

When Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the US in January, Dr Jill Biden, 70, assumed the role of First Lady, taking over from Melania Trump.

Born Jill Tracy Jacobs in Hammonton, New Jersey, she spent much of her childhood in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania - the same state where her future husband was born.

The eldest of five sisters, Dr Biden graduated from high school in 1969, before studying fashion merchandising at junior college in Pennsylvania.

A year later she married Bill Stevenson when she was just 18, and the pair attended the University of Delaware together, though their marriage was short-lived.

She graduated from the university in 1975 and started work as an English teacher at local public schools.

But Dr Biden did not put a pause on her own education, instead going on to earn two Master's degrees, in reading at West Chester University and English at Villanova University, while she was working and raising a family.

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She then taught English for 15 years at Delaware Technical and Community College, as well as at a public high school and a psychiatric hospital for adolescents.

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How did Jill and Joe Biden meet?

Three years before the pair met, following Mr Biden’s election to the US Senate in 1975, the politician tragically lost his first wife Neila and one-year-old daughter in a car accident.

He met Dr Biden while she was still attending college, on a blind date organised by his brother.

Despite the nine-year age gap, the pair hit it off.

In an interview with Vogue magazine, Dr Biden said: "I was a senior, and I had been dating guys in jeans and clogs and T-shirts, he came to the door and he had a sport coat and loafers, and I thought: ‘God, this is never going to work, not in a million years.’ He was nine years older than I am!

"But we went out to see A Man and a Woman at the movie theatre in Philadelphia, and we really hit it off."

However, Mr Biden had a hard time securing his engagement to Dr Biden, as he proposed to her five times before she eventually accepted.

The pair were then married in 1977, and welcomed their daughter Ashley in 1981.

What is she a doctor of?

In 2007, Jill Biden earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware, studying under professor Barbara Curry.

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Her dissertation focused on maximising student retention in community colleges.

The achievement was her fourth university degree.

While Dr Biden has forged an impressive academic career, she has previously been attacked for her use of her title.

A controversial op-ed written by Joseph Epstein for the Wall Street Journal last year referred to the now First Lady as "kiddo" and called her use of the honorific as "fraudulent, even comic".

But the First Lady was unperturbed by the criticism, responding a few days later with a short Tweet reading: "Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished."

What is her role in the White House?

Dr Biden has made history within the White House by becoming the first woman in her position to continue her own career while her husband runs the country.

She did the same during her role as Second Lady, when she balanced her political position with her job as an English teacher at Northern Virginia Community College.

The educator completed her marking while flying on Air Force Two, while her security officers dressed up as college students so they would be undetected at the college.

During her short tenure as First Lady, Dr Biden has made an effort to highlight the work of teachers across the country and the particular difficulties they’ve faced during the pandemic.

She has previously said she has no plans to change her career while Mr Biden is President.

Describing her passion, Dr Biden has said: "Being a teacher is not what I do but who I am".

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