Michelle Obama broke protocol when meeting the Queen, by placing an arm around her maj. And she apparently wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
Speaking about her hit memoir Becoming at the O2 arena, Obama recalled the touching moment she broke the royal rules, before describing Queen Elizabeth II as ‘wonderfully warm. And funny’.
As reported by Vanity Fair, the likeable former first lady said she harbours no regrets about her bit of rule breaking:
What is true among world leaders is that there are people who handle protocol, and usually the people they’re representing don’t want all that protocol.
So you wonder well who are you doing this for because they don’t want it, we don’t want it.
But it’s just the way things are. So I don’t know that I could have done anything differently because it was a natural human reaction.
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I’m so thrilled to be in Europe this week! We kicked off our trip in Copenhagen, tonight we’re in Stockholm, and we’ll also make our way to Oslo, London, Paris, and Amsterdam. I’m so excited to visit these beautiful cities and can’t wait to hear the inspiring stories from so many new faces. And I want to keep hearing from all of you! What questions do you have? Share in the comments below.👇🏾#IAmBecoming
I learned over the course of my time on the international stage to see that either hold my hands together tightly or behind my back to sort of kind of just make sure I was thinking before I reacted naturally.
But in that moment, no. That was absolutely the right thing to do, because it was the human thing to do.
Speaking about the Queen herself, Obama had nothing but lovely things to say, sharing a sweet anecdote about a gift:
She’s wonderfully warm. And funny. And she’s elegant and kind and considerate in really interesting ways. I remember, I don’t know if it was the first visit or the second visit, we gave her this little pin. You know, what do you give her majesty the Queen?
It’s like, OK, we gave her a little pin and I remember the evening of the dinner after we exchanged gifts, we were standing in line and she had on a beautiful – I’m sure it was covered in diamonds and a crown, and you sort of look and go ‘all of that is real’ you know.
You go ‘that’s nice’ but it’s all real. And in the gloriousness of that outfit that she had on she put on the little bitty pin we gave her. And I did the same thing, I was like ‘You wore the pin’, and she just said ‘hmm hmm yes’.
That was my experience. That has been my experience. That kind of warmth and graciousness, and intelligence and wit. I like her.
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Today I stopped by one of Portland's locally-owned bookstores, @BroadwayBooks, and spent time with a group of young professional women who are juggling careers, relationships, and children, and trying to find a little time for themselves too. We talked about the importance of self-care and finding a group of women to support us through all our ups and downs as we try to manage our chaotic lives. And you don’t have to be here in Portland to take part in this conversation—let me know what you and your book clubs have been discussing! #IAmBecoming
Just goes to show, you’re never too regal for a friendly hug or a thoughtful gift.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.