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Queen made the first move to hug Michelle Obama

world Updated: Apr 03, 2009 17:06 IST
Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II reportedly made the first move to hug US first lady Michelle Obama prompting her to return the gesture, which is being seen as a refreshing break from the centuries-long protocol.

The photographs of US first lady Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth II hugging each other during a formal reception, made headlines in the newspapers as it is forbidden under royal protocol to touch the Queen.

But it now appears that it may have been the Queen, who made the initial move, Michael Thornton, a royal biographer was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

The Queen had remarked on their height differences and put her arm round first lady’s back prompting Michelle Obama to return the gesture with a warm hug.

It was for the first time that the Queen was seen hugging anyone in the public. “It was a pretty simultaneous gesture. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing,” an onlooker commented.

The extraordinary scene took place during a formal reception at the Buckingham Palace as Barack Obama made his first visit to Britain as US President.