Heritage

Queen Elizabeth and Michelle Obama Once Bonded Over High Heels and Sore Feet

Plus, the former First Lady reveals the story behind that hug that broke royal protocol.
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Michelle Obama's new memoir Becoming offers insight into some of the deeply private moments of the former first lady's life, from her experiences with IVF to her true feelings about President Donald Trump, and how his words impacted her family. But it's not all so heavy. The book also delves into Obama's experiences meeting the Queen at the 2009 G20 summit—and that now infamous, royal protocol-breaking hug.

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An excerpt from the book, which was published by the Telegraph this week, starts with the Queen telling the then-First Lady, "You’re so tall." Obama responded bytelling the Queen about her Jimmy Choo heels.

The Queen then "gestured with some frustration at her own black pumps" and said: "These shoes are unpleasant, are they not?"

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"I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed that hers hurt, too. 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."

Obama then adds, "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."

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After this whole bonding interaction, Obama then reached in for that controversial hug.


"I then did what’s instinctive to me any time I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly," she writes. "I laid a hand affectionately across her shoulder."

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But the then-First Lady didn't realize she was being such a rule-breaker at the time, and while the Queen is a stickler for protocol, there's a good chance she approved of the interaction.

"I couldn’t have known it in the moment, but I was committing what would be deemed an epic faux pas," she writes.

"If I hadn’t done the proper thing at Buckingham Palace, I had at least done the human thing. I daresay that the Queen was okay with it, too, because when I touched her, she only pulled closer, resting a gloved hand lightly on the small of my back."

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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