The Queen

Michelle Obama gives first hand look at what it’s like to spend time with Queen Elizabeth

Michelle Obama’s highly anticipated memoir, Becoming, gives an inside look at the former First Lady’s life up to this point. From her first time she met Barack Obama to the inside workings of the White House.

Perhaps the most exciting points are her vivid memories of conversations had with those she met along the way, one such person is Her Majesty The Queen.

The protocol police were all over Michelle Obama when in 2009, the First Lady put her arm around The Queen at a G20 Summit reception.

Queen Elizabeth had first commented “You’re so tall,” motioning towards her Jimmy Choo shoes and then her own black pumps asking: “These shoes are unpleasant, are they not?”

In her book, Michelle writes: “I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed that hers hurt, too. We looked at each other then with identical expressions, like, When is all this standing around with world leaders going to finally wrap up? And with this, she busted out with a fully charming laugh.

“Forget that she sometimes wore a diamond crown and that I’d flown to London on the presidential jet; we were just two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes.

“I then did what’s instinctive to me any time I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly. I laid a hand affectionately across her shoulder.

“I couldn’t have known it in the moment, but I was committing what would be deemed an epic faux pas.”
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Mrs Obama continued on to explain how the headlines over the hug over-powered the work being done by Barack.

She adds: “If I hadn’t done the proper thing at Buckingham Palace, I had at least done the human thing. I daresay that the Queen was okay with it, too, because when I touched her, she only pulled closer, resting a gloved hand lightly on the small of my back.”

Michelle Obama speaks of the State Banquets, describing them as “so big that it almost defies description” where they ate with “with forks and knives coated in gold”. Saying the Buckingham Palace is “breathtaking and incomprehensible at the same time”.

Their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, were not as keen on the glitz that the palace brought

“Don’t you want to come downstairs tonight and hear Paul McCartney play?” the girls were asked before a private concert was to be given.

On another meeting, Barack and Michelle were briefed on their way to Windsor Castle what would happen upon arrival. Once their helicopter landed, The Queen and Prince Philip would drive them in a Land Rover up to the castle. Michelle was to sit in the front, next to Prince Philip who was driving. Barack was supposed to sit in the back row next to Queen Elizabeth. It was the first time that the couple would not have the Secret Service driving them, or even be in the car, since becoming the Presidential couple.
Approaching the car, The Queen gestured for Michelle to sit in the back seat, saying: “Did they give you some rules about this? That’s rubbish. Sit wherever you want.”