Queen Elizabeth Once Did Something Kind When Barack Obama Broke Royal Protocol
Royals have many rules and traditions they abide by, and guests are also urged to follow protocol when interacting with members of the royal family. However, for people not accustomed to following royal protocol, things can sometimes seem confusing.
Former president Barack Obama once had a mishap concerning protocol, but Queen Elizabeth reacted kindly to the situation.
Barack Obama broke protocol at a Buckingham Palace banquet
In 2011, Obama attended a state dinner at Buckingham Palace, where he was seated next to the queen.
According to CNN, Her Majesty gave a toast to the then-president, and afterwards, Obama thanked her by saying, “To Her Majesty the Queen.” However, the orchestra reportedly thought Obama was finished talking and began playing the British national anthem.
Obama continued to talk over the music, which was considered to be breaking protocol. The other guests, meanwhile, simply stood to observe the national anthem.
Queen Elizabeth also broke protocol for Barack Obama
Her Majesty did not say much while Obama was talking over the national anthem. However, after Obama ended his toast, she herself broke protocol to thank him.
“She says ‘that was very kind, thank you,’” etiquette expert William Hanson noted in the documentary Secrets of the Royals, according to Express. “The Queen deliberately broke with the etiquette in order to be more well mannered.”
As for why royals often take protocol seriously, Hanson explained, “Etiquette and protocol is so important for the Royal Family because it tells people what to do.”
Michelle Obama once made headlines when she touched Queen Elizabeth
In 2009, Obama and his wife, Michelle, met Queen Elizabeth shortly after his inauguration. During the meeting, Michelle put her arm around the queen, which was apparently not something anyone should do per royal protocol. Although Her Majesty reciprocated the gesture, there was a lot of public uproar concerning Michelle’s little touch.
However, Queen Elizabeth’s long-time personal adviser saw no problem with it.
“In reality, it was a natural instinct for the Queen to show affection and respect for another great woman, and really there is no protocol that must be adhered to,” Kelly wrote in her 2019 book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.
She added, “When fondness is felt or the host of a State Visit goes to guide Her Majesty up some steps, it truly is about human kindness, and this is something the Queen will always welcome warmly.”
When the Obamas met Queen Elizabeth again in 2016, she reportedly encouraged them to break some rules.
“After we’d touched down in a field on the palace grounds and said our hellos, however, the Queen abruptly threw a wrench into everything by gesturing for me to join her in the backseat of the Range Rover,” Michelle wrote in her 2018 book, Becoming.
Michelle recalled that she hesitated because she understood her husband was supposed to sit next to the queen. Yet, Her Majesty told Michelle, “Did they give you some rule about this? That’s rubbish. Sit wherever you want.”