Thursday, April 2, 2009
Huggin' It Out
From NY Magazine:
"A breathless eyewitness explains to the Daily Mail:
"There was a bit of a bottleneck as all of the leaders filed out so the Queen started chatting to Michelle Obama. She appeared to look up at her and make a comment about how tall she was. As she did, she put her arm around Mrs Obama and rested her gloved hand on the small of her back. Almost simultaneously, Mrs Obama put her arm around the Queen's shoulders rather more firmly. The pair then looked at their feet and appeared to be discussing their shoes. The Queen then dropped her arm and, a few seconds later, Michelle did the same. The entire exchange lasted around eight to ten seconds but was absolutely extraordinary."
It is believed to be the first time in the 57 years of her reign that Elizabeth of England has ever performed such a gesture. It is against protocol to touch the Queen unless she touches you first.
Earlier in the day, the Queen and her husband, Prince Phillip, gave the First Couple their traditional gift of a signed, silver-framed portrait of themselves. The Obamas responded by presenting the Queen with an iPod programmed with some of his speeches, a video of her last visit to the the United States, show tunes (her favorite) and also an extremely rare playbill signed by Richard Rodgers. Prince Phillip, after hearing about Obama's morning of meetings with Asian continental leaders, cracked: "How could you tell them apart?" Which, in retrospect, might be why his wife later felt it necessary to make such a colossal gesture of friendliness to the wife of America's first minority president. But still!"