The British tabloid press is in an uproar over a "touching" moment described as a "breach of royal protocol" between First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth II. Her Royal Highness put her arm around Michelle Obama. Then outrage when the unthinkable happens: The First Lady actually ... put her arm ... around the queen.
The Daily Mail reports the "extraordinary" exchange occurred in the Throne Room following the official group picture with the national leaders for the G20 Summit.
"One said: '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.' "
Royal protocol dictates you cannot begin eating before the Queen, must not eat when she is done, you must never show your back to her, and are never allowed to attempt to hug or kiss her.
While some royal watchers are in a tizzy, many others say the Queen's "spontaneous display of affection", as Buckingham Palace calls it, shows how even the royals are enamored with the Obamas and are embracing "change." The Times dismisses Mrs. Obama's critics: "They missed the real story. What was far more interesting was that the Queen put her arm round the First Lady.... Now the Queen is not just putting up with physical gestures of affection from a woman she has only just met, but is reciprocating with one of her own."