Buchanan was elected president of the United States in 1856, and Harriet Lane became the first lady upon his inauguration. At age twenty-six, she added youth and grace to the White House and the capital cultural scene. She tried to imitate the standards she had experienced in Europe. Artists were always welcomed at the White House, and Harriet encouraged and supported their efforts to establish a national gallery of art. The president greeted a number of distinguished visitors to Washington, including Edward Albert, prince of Wales, in 1860. Harriet entertained him with dinners, receptions, dances, tours to patriotic sites, such as George Washington's tomb and home, and an excursion aboard the cutter Harriet Lane, named in honor of the president's niece. Many years later, when the prince became Edward VII, he invited Harriet to his coronation.
Mary K. Dains, "Johnston, Harriet Lane," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/20/20-01368.html.