Michelle Obama isn't fussed that she broke royal protocol

Louise Donovan
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

When Michelle Obama first met the Queen, in 2009, she accidentally broke royal protocol. The former First Lady placed an arm around Her Majesty. Naturally, the British press lost their minds. Touching, of any sort, is considered one of the greatest taboos surrounding the British monarchy.

Is Michelle worried? Not so much. On Sunday night (14 April) at the O2 arena in London, she spoke openly about the incident to a sell-out crowd (a whopping 15,000 people). She was there to promote her best-selling autobiography Becoming.

"Yikes! Sorry guys," she joked, explaining that she later learned to keep her hands clasped or behind her back.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Nevertheless, she had no regrets. When asked if she would behave any differently, she said: "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] in that moment, no. That was absolutely the right thing to do, because it was the human thing to do."

The Queen actually pulled Michelle in closer at the time and placed a gloved hand on the small of her back. Michelle, 55, has previously said that the Queen thinks royal protocol is "rubbish" and the only people obsessed by it are their staff.

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The mum-of-two also said she had been touched by the queen’s decision to wear a small pin badge that she and her husband, Barack, had given her as a gift and praised the Queen:

"That was my experience, that has been my experience: that kind of warmth and graciousness and intelligence and wit - I like her.

"She’s wonderfully warm. And funny. And she’s elegant and kind and considerate in really interesting ways."

The ninety minute event covered everything from daughter Malia's driving lessons to the current state of American politics. Michelle likened the Trump-run country to a troubled teenager.

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"We come from a broken family, we are a little unsettled," she explained. "Sometimes you spend the weekend with divorced dad. That feels like fun, but then you get sick.

"That’s what America is going through right now. We are living with divorced dad."

She never once referred to Trump by name, but agreed with host, US TV presenter Stephen Colbert, that the Commander-in-Chief should occupy a moral position. "The presidency doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are," she said.

When asked by Colbert what advice she had for people in Britain on staying calm in a time of turmoil - a likely Brexit reference - said London should treasure its diversity.

"This trepidation, the anxiety, it’s everywhere, it’s all over the world," she said.

"I was looking out over the city, London, a beautiful city, and the thing I love about it is it is truly representative of true international diversity, in ways that you don’t see in cities, most cities particularly, even in the United States, and that is a gift."

Michelle's book, Becoming, was published in November and has already sold over 10 million copies. It's on track to be the best-selling memoir in history.

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