Published On: Mon, Oct 28th, 2019

Michelle Obama news: Palace speaks out over controversial FLOTUS-Queen hug | World | News

Images of , First Lady at the time, and the Queen standing with their arms round each other during a G20 reception hit global headlines for a supposed breach of royal protocol. The Queen returned Michelle’s hug as a gesture of “affection and respect for another great woman”. Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dresser and close confidante has set the record straight.

She said: “When human instincts kick in, sometimes this is absolutely the appropriate thing to do.”

Ms Kelly highlighted the situation in her new book, ‘The other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe’, which was written with the Queen’s blessing.

In the book she says: “There are certain things that are understood to be accepted protocol when it comes to interacting with Her Majesty.

“Supposedly, you should never put your arm around the Queen, for example, but when human instincts kick in, sometimes this is absolutely the appropriate thing to do.

The author added: “The Queen has the ability to make everyone feel so relaxed that sometimes it feels instinctive to be tactile with her, just as Michelle Obama demonstrated during the State Visit with her husband, , in 2009.”

Ms Kelly has worked with Her Majesty for 25 years.

Writing in her book she claimed “much has been made about the meeting between Michelle and her Majesty”.

The writer added: “When an instant and mutual warmth was shared between these two remarkable women, and protocol was seemingly ‘abandoned’ as they stood closely with their arms around each other’s backs.

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Ms Kelly continued: “When fondness is felt or the host of a goes to guide Her Majesty up some steps, it truly is about human kindness, and this is something the Queen will always welcome warmly.

“Anyone who is close to Her Majesty is not a threat and is certainly trusted.”

Another occasion where the royal protocol was broken was in 2017 when Canada’s Governor general felt the need to explain why he touched the Queen during a royal visit.

David Johnston was spotted supporting the Queen by gently touching her elbow as she climbed the steps at Canada House in Trafalgar Square.

He did the same thing as she left the building, which she visited with the Duke of Edinburgh in honour of the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.

Speaking afterwards Mr Johnston told Canadian broadcaster CBC News: “Well I’m certainly conscious of the protocol. I just was anxious to be sure that there was no stumbling on the steps.”

He added: “It’s a little bit awkward, that descent from Canada House to Trafalgar Square, and there was a carpet that was a little slippy, and so I thought perhaps it was appropriate to breach protocol just to be sure that there was no stumble.”

In its advice on how to greet a member of the Royal family, Buckingham Palace’s website reminds people that there are “no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms”.

Traditional forms include a bow for a man and a curtsey for a woman.

Buckingham Palace said it has no concern over Mr Johnston’s decision to lend the Queen his hand in support.

An aide said: “There’s no issue here. It was a simple human gesture.”

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