Queen ‘charmed by Michelle Obama’ as ‘world freaked’ out over royal protocol breach

Michelle Obama: Expert recalls Queen being ‘charmed’ in 2009

The 57-year-old and the Queen had a longstanding friendship while Michelle’s husband Barack Obama was US President. During their time in the White House, the couple travelled all over the world. But their appearance at a G20 summit sparked royal outrage after Michelle appeared to ignore tradition and made a move to touch Her Majesty. Although Michelle was criticised, insiders at Buckingham Palace claimed the pair were in fact “charmed by one another”.

The infamous incident, which saw the Queen also move to wrap her arm around Michelle, generated international debate, and in a similar episode on the same trip, Michelle appeared reluctant to break protocol a second time.

Michelle was left concerned that she might breach tradition again in 2009, after she was asked by Her Majesty to sit next to her during a car ride.

Speaking on 2020’s Amazon Prime documentary Michelle Obama: Life After the White House, journalist Ashley Pearson explained that while commentators across the globe noted the breach, Her Majesty was actually left charmed by the ex-FLOTUS.

Ms Pearson said: “There was a stage later on where Queen Elizabeth invited Michelle to sit in the back of her Range Rover with her.

Queen 'charmed by Michelle Obama' as 'world freaked' out over royal protocol breach

Queen ‘charmed by Michelle Obama’ as ‘world freaked’ out over royal protocol breach (Image: GETTY)

Michelle Obama meeting the Queen alongside Barack Obama

Michelle Obama meeting the Queen alongside Barack Obama (Image: GETTY)

“And when Michelle hesitated, the Queen said to Michelle, ‘Have they warned you that you can’t do this?’

“And when she said, ‘Yes’, the Queen said, ‘Rubbish – you can sit wherever you want.’

“So it seems like, despite everybody in the world freaking out that Michelle put her arm around the Queen, the Queen was charmed – very much so – by Michelle Obama.”

On another trip years later, Michelle and Barack stayed overnight with the Royal Family, and spent time with Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.

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Ashley Pearson, speaking on the Amazon Prime documentary

Ashley Pearson, speaking on the Amazon Prime documentary (Image: AMAZON PRIME)

This cemented their friendship with the royals, and also saw Prince George go viral as he greeted the Obamas in his pyjamas.

The Prince was allowed to stay up late to meet the President and First Lady, who he showed the rocking horse they gave to him when he was born.

But after Michelle’s previous faux pas, Barack joked that it was in fact George who had broken protocol this time during their 2016 visit.

Barack said it was clear people at Buckingham Palace were preparing for his departure from office, due to the young royal’s informal attire.

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Michelle Obama and the Queen

Michelle Obama and the Queen (Image: GETTY)

He told reporters after the UK visit: “It’s not just Congress. Even some foreign leaders, they have been looking ahead, anticipating my departure.

“Last week Prince George showed up to our meeting in his bathrobe. That was a slap in the face.

“A clear breach of protocol.”

During the trip in April 2016, the Obamas also met then-Prime Minister David Cameron, who played golf with Barack, as they struck up another warm friendship.

Prince George meets Barack Obama

Prince George meets Barack Obama (Image: GETTY)

Their friendship was well documented, with Mr Cameron persuading Barack to enter the Brexit debate as the country prepared to vote on its place in the EU.

Yet it was while Mr Cameron was in the US that their relationship took a sweet turn, after the ex-Conservative leader said his Democrat counterpart tucked him up when he got tired one night.

Recalling the moment on 2019’s ITV documentary The Cameron Interview, Mr Cameron said: “It was 12 o’clock at night in the United States, so sort of four or five in the morning in the UK and he said, ‘You’re looking a bit exhausted, why don’t you go and lay down in my bed?’”

Mr Cameron said “thank you very much” and went to Barack’s bedroom and there was “this rather surreal scene as he tucked me up”.

Mr Cameron went on: “As he did it, he said, ‘I bet, erm, President Roosevelt never did this for Winston Churchill’.”

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