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Michelle Obama charms British audience with praise for Queen Elizabeth

15 Comments

Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama charmed thousands of Britons on Sunday, telling anecdotes about meeting the "wonderfully warm and funny" Queen Elizabeth and praising London's diversity at an event in the capital.

Obama, the wife of Barack Obama, who was president from 2009 to 2017, was in London to promote her best-selling autobiography "Becoming."

She had the sellout audience - many of whom had travelled hours to attend - laughing along within minutes of taking the stage, recounting the furor she caused in 2009 when she breached royal protocol by putting her arm around the queen.

"Yikes! Sorry guys," she joked, explaining she later learned to keep her hands clasped or behind her back to curb her natural instincts.

Nevertheless, she had no regrets when it came to the queen: "I don't know that I could have done anything differently because it was a natural human reaction."

She said she had been touched by the queen's decision to wear a small pin badge the presidential couple had given her as a gift, and described Britain's 92-year-old monarch in glowing terms: "That was my experience, that has been my experience: that kind of warmth and graciousness and intelligence and wit - I like her."

Obama's book tour has so far taken her across North America and Scandinavia. After London, she will go to Paris and Amsterdam.

Last month, the book's German publisher said "Becoming" could become the biggest-selling autobiography ever.

"It's absolutely surreal. I think it's like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can't believe she's in England as well, I can't believe we're going," said Aisha Chibampe, a 26-year-old corporate finance worker who drove four hours from the northern city of Leeds for the show.

Obama, asked by host Stephen Colbert what advice she had for people in Britain about how to stay calm in a time of turmoil - a likely reference to political divisions over Brexit - said London was unique and should treasure its diversity.

"This trepidation, the anxiety, it's everywhere, it's all over the world," she said.

"I was looking out over the city, London, a beautiful city, and the thing I love about it is it is truly representative of true international diversity, in ways that you don't see in cities, most cities particularly, even in the United States, and that is a gift," she said, drawing cheers.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

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15 Comments
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As much as I admire Michelle Obama, am not sure about her praise for HRH. That said, she's correct in her description of London. Truly one of the best cities in the world.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Higher approval ratings than Trump. Fully booked for 2019.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"I was looking out over the city, London, a beautiful city, and the thing I love about it is it is truly representative of true international diversity, in ways that you don't see in cities, most cities particularly, even in the United States...

New York is not diverse at all, lol.

Higher approval ratings than Trump.

They didn't ask me.

Since there's not one current Democrat candidate with the chance to be the nominee and beat Trump in 2020, Michelle should step in and save us from another 4 years of prosperity. Tear down those pesky fences! Let's have government run everything! Free medical, college and and income for everyone!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

They didn't ask me.

They don't have to.

Free medical, college and and income for everyone!

Yes.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Americans are not suppose to acknowledge the status of "royalty." The idea of royalty is fundamentally un-American.

Thanks for explaining that.  You mean Trump is not the King of America?  Because he sure acts like it and the constitution clearly means nothing to him.

> Free medical, college and and income for everyone!

And your problem with this is?  Can't afford it because 72 cents in every tax dollar goes to the King's armed forces?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Free medical, college and and income for everyone!

Yep.

Why should the rich get all the benefits and tax breaks?

Anyway, Michelle Obama won't be running, so no need for panic.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As much as I admire Michelle Obama, am not sure about her praise for HRH

To be fair, even a nobody like myself had to play the diplomatic game to a point when abroad on business, never mind a high-profile person flogging a book.

I’m against the monarchy, but I heard the current monarch is quite personable.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

To be fair, even a nobody like myself had to play the diplomatic game to a point when abroad on business, never mind a high-profile person flogging a book.

True. Decorum must be observed, regardless of personal feelings.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Higher approval than President Trump???

Cite your sources.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Cite your sources, Trump is down to about 39%, lowest for this time in term.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

recounting the furor she caused in 2009 when she breached royal protocol by putting her arm around the queen. "Yikes! Sorry guys," she joked, explaining she later learned to keep her hands clasped or behind her back to curb her natural instincts.

No apologies needed. The whole royal protocol thing is pretty outdated/ridiculous anyway; can't touch/put your arm around a royal, c'mon guys time to step into the 21st century.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

On second thought, comparing a housewife to the president, really isn't fair. Everybody loves a mommy and a housewife.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Free medical, college and and income for everyone!

Yep. Why should the rich get all the benefits and tax breaks?

They don't.

Anyway, Michelle Obama won't be running, so no need for panic.

We wouldn't be panicking, we'd be rejoicing. Wouldn't be as good as Bootleg or Beto or Elizabeth or Kamala or Joe, but it would still be good. Why wouldn't she come to the rescue of her party, anyway? Doesn't care?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Anyway, Michelle Obama won't be running, so no need for panic.

Nothing special, Michelle Obama...ok, and?

We wouldn't be panicking, we'd be rejoicing. Wouldn't be as good as Bootleg or Beto or Elizabeth or Kamala or Joe, but it would still be good. Why wouldn't she come to the rescue of her party, anyway? Doesn't care?

I think she knows the field to winning the WH at this point in time is pretty much a dead fish in the water.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I was looking out over the city, London, a beautiful city, and the thing I love about it is it is truly representative of true international diversity,

Indeed it is, but not in the way you mean, Michelle.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

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