"Bet that's the first time a black woman ever put her arm around your Queen!" said my New York friend on the phone. Oh, come on, I said. Aren't you being slightly racist here, for a good East Coast Democrat? She's Queen of Jamaica, too, you know, and half the Caribbean, and Tuvalu and Papua New Guinea. I'll give you that Michelle Obama is the tallest black woman who ever embraced the Queen, but no way is she the first.From here. There was a frisson that rippled through the media when Queen Elizabeth II was photographed at an official G20 function with US First Lady Michelle Obama, arms extended around each other's waist ... errr, given the difference in height, Obama actually reached around The Queen's shoulder, in a spontaneous BFF gesture.
It always helps to have the right touch, and the Obamas apparently do. ... The latter gesture — a near hug that caused the British press to drop its crumpets — was the touch heard ’round the world, rehashed and analyzed on television and the Internet as both a major breach of protocol and a kindly, inoffensive act.
The photographs of the event, and some of the tongue-in-cheek discussion that followed was a welcome antidote to the shameful removal of two Israeli cabinet ministers from public view by two fundamentalist Jewish publications this week.