‘Yikes! Sorry guys’: Michelle Obama relives moment she hugged Queen

‘Yikes! Sorry guys’: Michelle Obama relives moment she hugged Queen

April 15, 2019

‘Yikes! Sorry guys’: Michelle Obama relives the moment she hugged the Queen and insists she was RIGHT to break royal protocol despite criticism

  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama was recounting her meeting with the Queen
  • Obama broke royal protocol by placing her arm around the monarch in 2009
  • She said it was ‘the right thing to do, because it was the human thing to do’
  • She was speaking at London’s O2 about her new bestselling memoir Becoming 

Michelle Obama famously broke royal protocol at a reception at Buckingham Palace in April 2009 by placing her arm around the Queen

Michelle Obama joked about the furore surrounding her breach of royal protocol when she placed her arm around the Queen on a visit to Buckingham Palace while she was First Lady.

Obama had been visiting the Queen in April 2009 with President Barack Obama when she placed an arm around the monarch.

Obama, who was at London’s O2 arena to promote her best-selling new memoir said, ‘Yikes! Sorry guys,’ but added it had been the right thing to do – a natural human reaction.

Obama had previously said the Monarch branded royal protocol ‘rubbish’ during a later visit to Windsor Castle. 

Asked if she would do anything differently she said she had no regrets: ‘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 it’s just the way things are. So I don’t know that I could have done anything differently because it was a natural human reaction. 

Michelle Obama said the Queen was warm, kind and funny as she addressed an audience in London on Sunday night

An Intimate Conversation With Michelle Obama featured the former First Lady alongside late night TV host Stephen Colbert at the O2 arena

President Barack Obama, the Queen and First Lady Michelle Obama arriving at Winfield House, the US Ambassador’s residence in London in May 2011

‘I learned over the course of my time on the international stage to see that either hold my hands together tightly or behind my back to sort of kind of just make sure I was thinking before I reacted naturally.

‘But in that moment, no. That was absolutely the right thing to do, because it was the human thing to do.’

She said she had been touched by the queen’s decision to wear a small pin badge the presidential couple had given her as a gift, and described Britain’s 92-year-old monarch in glowing terms.

Obama said: ‘She’s wonderfully warm. And funny. And she’s elegant and kind and considerate in really interesting ways.

‘I remember, I don’t know if it was the first visit or the second visit, we gave her this little pin. You know, what do you give her majesty the Queen?

Obama was wrapped up warm in a black overcoat on a chilly night in London’s West End on Saturday

‘It’s like, OK, we gave her a little pin and I remember the evening of the dinner after we exchanged gifts, we were standing in line and she had on a beautiful – I’m sure it was covered in diamonds and a crown, and you sort of look and go “all of that is real” you know.

‘You go “that’s nice” but it’s all real. And in the gloriousness of that outfit that she had on she put on the little bitty pin we gave her.

‘And I did the same thing, I was like ‘You wore the pin’, and she just said “mmh hmm yes”.

‘That was my experience. That has been my experience. That kind of warmth and graciousness, and intelligence and wit. I like her.’  

Obama’s book tour has so far taken her across North America and Scandinavia. 

After London, she will go to Paris and Amsterdam.

Last month, the book’s publisher said the memoir titled Becoming could become the biggest-selling autobiography ever. 

Obama was guarded by numerous burly security personnel as she headed out to the open door of her waiting car after dinner at an exclusive restaurant in Mayfair in London on Saturday night

Obama heaped praise upon the Queen as she joked about her gaffe at Buckingham Palace in 2009

Obama, asked by host Stephen Colbert what advice she had for people in Britain about how to stay calm in a time of turmoil – a likely reference to political divisions over Brexit – said London was unique and 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,’ she said, drawing cheers.

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