'We bonded over sore feet': Michelle Obama reveals why she put her arm around the Queen's shoulder in 2009
Michelle feared the criticism she received for the gesture distracted attention from the purpose of her visit with her husband, former President Barack Obama.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama, in a recent interview, talked about the backlash she received after putting her around Queen Elizabeth during the former first couple's state visit to Britain and said that she believes the Queen had no problem with the gesture.
Michelle in her book, 'Becoming', recalled her first meeting with the monarch in 2009 and said: "I couldn’t have known it in the moment, but I was committing what would be deemed an epic faux pas. I’d touched the Queen of England, which I’d soon learn was apparently not done," PEOPLE reported.
The former first lady said that she feared the criticism she received for the gesture distracted attention from the purpose of her visit with her husband former President Barack Obama, however, she insisted that she doesn't feel she insulted the Queen with her gesture during the Buckingham Palace reception.
"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," Michelle wrote in her book, which is set to hit the stores on November 13.
The former first lady shared that the rare moment between her and the monarch stemmed from a simple bond over their uncomfortable shoes.
"At some point toward the end of the party, I turned my head to find that Queen Elizabeth had surfaced at my elbow, the two of us suddenly alone together in the otherwise crowded room," she wrote in her book. "She was wearing a pair of pristine white gloves and appeared just as fresh as she’d been hours earlier when we first met. She smiled up at me.”
Michelle also recalled that the Queen commented on her height and the former first lady responded with a joke about her Jimmy Choo heels which made her look taller.
"‘These shoes are unpleasant, are they not?’ [the Queen] said. She gestured with some frustration at her own black pumps. I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed that hers hurt, too,” according to Obama. “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.”
“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. I then did what’s instinctive to me anytime I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly," Michelle added.