Royal family: The adorable moment the Queen broke royal protocol and put her arm around Michelle Obama
The Royal Family is a global institution and everyone from the Queen to Kate Middleton must follow protocol – but, as with everything, exceptions can and have been made.
According to the Royal Family website, he suggests that when meeting with royalty, men should bow their necks and women should take a little bow. The other option would be a formal handshake.
The same rules apply when addressing a royal. It’s “Your Royal Highness” at the first meeting and then “Sir” or “Madam”.
As for the ripping up of the royal rulebook, you’re not going to address the Queen as “Liz” or the Prince of Wales as “Charlie”, but there are times when the warm glow of humanity cracks through an icy formality.
READ MORE: Why The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will need to take on more royal duties
The more cautious example was that of the state visit of former US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to Buckingham Palace in 2009.
As they stood side by side at a small reception, Michelle chose to put her arm around the now 95-year-old monarch.
Much to everyone’s amazement, the Queen returned the gesture and placed her gloved hand on the back of the former First Lady.
Protocol dictates that you must refrain from touching members of the Royal Family, unless they initiate the contact.
In 2018, Michelle opened up about why she put her arm around the Queen and what happened next in her hit memoir, Becoming.
She said: “The Queen took a look at the pair of black Jimmy Choo I was wearing. She shook her head. “These shoes are nasty, aren’t they?”
“She gestured with some frustration towards her own black pumps. I then confessed to the queen that my feet hurt. She confessed that hers hurt her too.
“We then looked at each other with identical expressions, like, when is this all with world leaders finally going to end? And with that, she burst into a very charming laugh.”
The former FLOTUS explained that she did what was “instinctive” to her by affectionately placing her hand on the Queen’s shoulder, unaware that she “committed what would be considered an epic misstep.”
She added: “If I hadn’t done the right thing at Buckingham Palace, I had at least done the human thing… I guess the Queen was okay with that too, because when I got there touched, she moved closer, resting a gloved hand lightly on my lower back. “
“I did what is instinctive to me whenever I feel connected to a new person …[We were just] “two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes,” she concludes.
The Queen’s close confidante and dresser, Angela Kelly, also recalled the interaction in her book “The Other Side of the Coin”.
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“The Queen has the ability to make everyone feel so relaxed that it is sometimes instinctive to be tactile with her.
“Much was said about the meeting between Michelle and Her Majesty when an instant, mutual warmth was shared between these two remarkable women, and protocol was dropped as they held each other tightly with their arms around their backs.”
Kelly continued, “Actually, it was a natural instinct for the Queen to show affection and respect for another great woman and really there is no protocol that needs to be followed.”
Watch the adorable video here.
What’s your favorite moment from a royal breakup protocol? Tell us in the comments!