02 April 2009

Touchy Touchy Touchy

The very moment Britain had it's collective gasp...

Much is being made of Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth's embrace. As the First Lady and Queen chatted at the G-20 reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday night, the Queen touched her hand to Michelle Obama's back, and the gesture was then returned. Royal etiquette dictates that the Queen not be touched unless she reaches out first, but back-patting is an almost unprecedented gesture.

But did the Queen like it?


The Daily Mail offers this eyewitness account:

No-one - including the ladies-in-waiting standing nearby - could believe their eyes. In 57 years, the Queen has never been seen to make that kind of gesture and it is certainly against all protocol to touch her.

'But she didn't seem to mind a bit and was smiling and joking throughout,' the eyewitness said.

Another defense for Michelle Obama, of course, says Time, is that she is not a subject of the Queen.
(Australians, despite referendums attempting to turn themselves into a republic, still recognize the Queen as their head of state.) The First Lady of the United States is not required to curtsy before her or any other crowned head. In any case, the touch lasted just a second or two, and the Queen did not seem particularly perturbed -- though she appeared slightly surprised as she drew away.

-huffington post
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