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Did Michelle Obama take it a touch to far with the Queen?

Posted by on Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:34 PM
  • 11 Replies

A touch too far by Michelle Obama?

Posted: Thursday, April 02, 2009 11:05 AM
Filed Under:

By Chris Hampson, NBC News Director of International News


LONDON - Of all the G-20 moments, it was always tipped by those of us in the know as the meeting to watch, because the unthinkable could always happen. And it did.

It wasn't President Barack Obama talking to Prime Minister Gordon Brown about how to bail out the world's economies. Not the nuclear discussions with those tricky Russians either.  Nor even what the Axis of Evil might get up to in London (France's Sarkozy and Germany's Merkel, that is!).


Group of 20 summit at London's Excel Centre
VIDEO: First lady touch, a royal faux pas?

No. It was a simple touch.

It came when the first lady of the United States of America met the first lady of Great Britain - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State of the United Kingdom and of 15 other Commonwealth realms. She is our Head of the Armed Forces, Fount of Justice and Defender of the Faith.

The queen's been on the world stage for more than five decades; Michelle Obama for about five minutes  - but all of them quite dazzling.

Yesterday she showed Britons why.

It wasn't only President Obama who slayed Britain with his charm. His wife was also successful, standing head and shoulders above the best.

She strode across the plush Buckingham Palace carpet to shake the queen's hand with the kind of courteous informality that characterizes Americans. Unlike the British royals, they don't do "stuffy." And they don't curtsey much either.

The queen - accustomed to pomp and protocol at every step - seemed surprisingly at ease too. She took hold of Mrs. Obama's hand firmly - not her usual end-of-fingertips, don't-come-too-close handshake.

She gave the Obamas a signed and framed photograph of her and her husband Prince Phillip.

In return, the first couple gave her majesty an iPod. Not the most obvious gift for a monarch in her 9th decade, you might think - but then I guess they realized that those little ear-phones are just perfect when wearing a crown.

But there was more to come.

Over centuries those around the royals have drawn up a list of do's and dont's. Among them: Keep your hands off.

Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating was dubbed the "Lizard of Oz" by British tabloids when, in 1992, he was photographed with his arm resting on the queen's back.  Simply not done, old chap.

President George W. Bush got a withering look in 2007 when he gave her a cheeky wink. He's lucky she didn't poke him in the eye.


Image: Bush Hosts Queen At The White House
Mark Wilson / Getty Images file

Queen Elizabeth II gives President George W. Bush a withering look post-wink.

So I hid behind the sofa when I saw Mrs. Obama slide her arm around the queen yesterday.

But then the biggest surprise of all. 

The queen returned the gesture, and placed her own arm gently on the first lady's back.

Whatever next? You could almost hear Michelle inviting the queen to come over for a clambake. Another Buffalo wing, your majesty?

How do you feel? Did she go to far?

 


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by on Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:34 PM
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Replies (1-10):
karin0622
by New Member on Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:40 PM

She might have bucked protocol, but it appears from the article I read that the Queen reacted favorably to Michelle's gesture.  She's not just a monarch, Queen Elizabeth is a human being and she might have welcomed a gesture of warmth from our First Lady.

trippyhippy
by Gold Member on Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Seems like it went over really well so I don't see a problem but I'm sure some haters will show up any minute and freak out over it.

avpriddis
by on Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:49 PM

I think it's great!  And that the Queen reacted so warmly back I believe is a show of good faith from Britain to the US!

Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:58 PM

I saw the press conference and the Queen put her arm around Michelle Obama first.  So.... 


   Wife of a Marine - Mommy to a Little Prince
            
& Expecting a Princess in May!                

llrey74
by Member on Apr. 2, 2009 at 1:58 PM

Seriously,with all the missteps elected officials make this is a huge concern??  So what,  the First Lady of the Free World touched the ageing Queen.  I feel First Lady Michelle Obama is a far more powerful figure than that of the queen of England. (she is a figure of power but they have a Parliament)  Seriously why the big deal about "breaking protocol" and "subjects" shouldn't touch the queen. FYI we are NOT the Queen's Subjects, that's what the Revolution was fought for.  I am not a big Obama and Michelle supporter but I don't understand what the all the bruha is all about.

Wyldbutterfly
by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2009 at 2:03 PM

 Who cares?

gogetem
by Bronze Member on Apr. 2, 2009 at 2:07 PM

I don't like her OR her husband, but seriously?!  Are people really taking offense to her putting her hand on the Queen's back?   April Fools was yesterday.  Let's focus on the important things.

realtorshelly
by on Apr. 2, 2009 at 3:47 PM

No, it think it was a warm, unconscience gesture. Mobama seems like a touchy-feely kind of person.

They're all too bloody uptight, making a mountain out of a molehill.

forsythia_18
by on Apr. 2, 2009 at 3:49 PM

It's not a big deal.  Geeze...

llrey74
by Member on Apr. 2, 2009 at 3:51 PM

I guess it must come with the territory.  Remember the flak they gave Dubya for winking at her.  Please.  It's so no biggie.  But your right Idk why they are making so damn much of it.

Quoting realtorshelly:

No, it think it was a warm, unconscience gesture. Mobama seems like a touchy-feely kind of person.

They're all too bloody uptight, making a mountain out of a molehill.


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