The queen's dresser recalls the moment Her Majesty met Michelle Obama – and totally broke royal protocol

Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty Images)
Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth (Photo: Getty Images)

Cape Town – When Queen Elizabeth met Michelle Obama in 2009, the two ladies made headlines when they broke royal protocol.

"Michelle Obama's G20 faux pas brings out Queen's touchy-feely side," read one headline, another called it, "Michelle Obama's royal blunder."

The supposed royal blunder – the break in protocol – you probably never would've guessed was a simple and "warm", as the queen's dresser Angela Kelly recently described it, hug.

It's a well-known fact that you absolutely may not touch the queen. A hug would be taking that taboo to the next level. But Angela, who also became a close confidant to the queen according to HELLO!, explained that there was this indescribable warmth between the two in her new book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.

"There are certain things that are understood to be accepted protocol when it comes to interacting with Her Majesty. Supposedly, you should never put your arm around the queen, for example, but when human instincts kick in, sometimes this is absolutely the appropriate thing to do. The queen has the ability to make everyone feel so relaxed that sometimes it feels instinctive to be tactile with her, just as Michelle Obama demonstrated during the State Visit with her husband, President Obama, in 2009.

"In reality, it was a natural instinct for the queen to show affection and respect for another great woman, and really there is no protocol that must be adhered to. When fondness is felt or the host of a State Visit goes to guide Her Majesty up some steps, it truly is about human kindness, and this is something the Queen will always welcome warmly."

Michelle Obama also addressed the encounter in her book, Becoming, when she recalled how she bonded with the queen over their mutual desire to conclude an official engagement, specifically because their feet were hurting in their Jimmy Choos and black pumps.

Explaining that she instinctively laid a hand on the queen's shoulder, Her Majesty reciprocating by placing her hand on the First Lady at the time's back, she wrote, "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."

(Photo: Getty Images)