Thursday, April 2, 2009

Michelle Obama's Faux Pas? The Real Faux Pas Was Prince Philip.

There is much ado about nothing, in my mind, about First Lady Michelle Obama briefly touching the Queen after the Queen first touched her.

The rules are set in stone, and so the eagerly watching British media sputtered when the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, briefly put her hand on the back of Queen Elizabeth II as the two chatted at a reception. Etiquette is quite stern about this ("Whatever you do, don't touch the Queen!").


On Wednesday, Michelle Obama put her hand on the Queen only after the Queen had placed her own hand on the First Lady's back as part of their conversation. So there is room for theological argument as to whether the American reciprocity of touch was allowable given the social dynamics of the situation. (Less explicable was when President George W. Bush winked at the Queen.) Still, the sight of anyone apparently touching the Queen with anything more than a limp handshake is enough to send the British (or traditionalists in the old Commonwealth) twittering.

OK, Queen Elizabeth touched Michelle, first, but the British are talking about this, or are they?

I am American and I am not a study of knowing all protocol, but I do know if someone touches you out of endearment it is human nature to reciprocate. I saw the tape and Her Majesty did not look shocked, in awe, shuttered or tried to run away, in fact she smiled as if nothing happened. And from looking at all the tape that has been run on television, it appears that the Queen and Prince Philip liked the Obamas.

The Michelle faux pas is nothing in my book and most Americans, to be honest, don't care. I am not trying to be harsh on British protocol, but there is just too much other things like the economy and job loss to get riled up about a touch.

The real faux pas was Prince Philip.

And are you even caring about that?

Cross-posted @ Daily Kos

Time Magazine

Home Page