In her new memoir, Becoming, then-First Lady, Michelle Obama talks about a big no-no she committed nine years ago when she met Queen Elizabeth. You see, to ever-so-slightly touch the Queen is against the royal protocol–let alone embracing her. But in an excerpt from her book, Michelle reveals the reason as to why she committed the royal blunder of putting her arm around Her Majesty. It turns out the mishap was over their shoes.
Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth met ahead of the 2009 G20 summit
The former FLOTUS had an encounter with the Queen ahead of the 2009 G20 summit. As she stood next to her, Queen Elizabeth looked up to her and said, “You’re so tall.” Mrs. Obama replied that her Jimmy Choo shoes added a couple of extra inches, to which the Queen “gestured with some frustration at her own black pumps” and replied, “These shoes are unpleasant are they not?” The then-83-year-old paired her black patent pumps with a bubblegum pink dress and chic pearl necklace. Her shoes appeared to be about two inches in height. Coincidentally, Michelle also wore black pumps and a pearl necklace similar to that of the Queen's.
The former First Lady and Her Majesty bonded over their shoes
Instinctively, the mother-of-two was only lending out a comforting gesture–a humane approach if you will. The author explains, “I then did what’s instinctive to me any time I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly. I laid a hand affectionately across her shoulder.” Michelle continues in her memoir, “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.”
Michelle continues that she and the Queen were “just two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes.” The author goes on to explain she didn’t know she was breaking royal protocol at the moment. But based on the Queen’s warm reaction Michelle thinks she “was okay” with the not-okay-turned-okay incident, “because when I touched her, she only pulled closer, resting a gloved hand lightly on the small of my back.” And there you go. Women can always bond over shoes!