When Michelle Obama visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2009, she accidentally committed a royal faux-pas by greeting the monarch with a hug. While this is widely considered to be a misstep when meeting Her Majesty, the former First Lady has now revealed that the Queen herself had told her not to worry about protocol.
During a sell-out talk at London's Southbank Centre to promote her new autobiography Becoming, Obama recalled feeling anxious about royal etiquette ahead of her and President Obama's last visit to Windsor Castle, when they were picked up by the Queen and Prince Philip in their car.
The Obamas visited the Queen and Prince Philip at Windsor in April 2016
"Of course your head is spinning because first of all, I'm trying not to fall, which is a major thing that I think about in public," the former FLOTUS told author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the Daily Mail reports. "If you're thinking about my thoughts when I come out on stage it's 'don't fall'."
"One of my primary goals for the eight years was to never become a meme," Obama added. "I had all this protocol buzzing in my head and I was like 'Don't trip down the stairs and don't touch anybody, whatever you do'... and so the Queen says, 'Just get in, sit wherever.' and she's telling you one thing and you're remembering protocol and she says 'Oh it's all rubbish, just get in'."
Michelle Obama on stage at the Southbank Centre
Speaking about the bond between the former President and the royals, Obama also revealed how the Queen reminds her husband of his grandmother.
"Barack is so incredibly fond of Her Majesty and I won't go into his fangirling but I think it's because she does remind him of his grandmother Toot, she's smart and funny and honest. He is a huge fan for sure," she said.
Meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2009
Obama's book, Becoming, has become one of the fastest-selling memoirs of 2018 since its release in November. It sold 750,000 copies on its first day and, according to The Associated Press, more than 1.4 million copies were picked up in its first week.
In it, Obama shares one the more relatable conversations she had with the Queen back in 2009, when she admitted to the monarch that her feet were hurting. She writes: "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."