Now that Meghan Markle is officially a royal, breaking protocol is pretty much a daily routine. But back in 2009, during the Obamas time in office, hugging the Queen was blasphemous! But now that Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, is out, we now know why that embrace took place. And it has everything to do with uncomfortable shoes.
We were just “two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes”, Michelle writes.
The Hug Heard Around the World took place at a reception during the Obamas inaugural visit to the U.K. as the newly elected POTUS and FLOTUS. It was described as a breach of royal protocol back then, as the BBC explains. And as as the commentator in the video below says, the Queen is actually the one who initiated the embrace as the two women stood side by side.
“I did what’s instinctive to me any time I feel connected to a new person,” explained Michelle.
Describing the event, Mrs Obama said the Queen commented on how tall she was and suggested her shoes must be painful.
She wrote: “The Queen then glanced down at the pair of black Jimmy Choos I was wearing. She shook her head.
“‘These shoes are unpleasant, are they not?’ she said. She gestured with some frustration at her own black pumps.
Writes Michelle, “I confessed then to the Queen that my feet were hurting. She confessed that hers hurt, too. We looked at each other then with identical expressions, like, when is all this standing around with world leaders going to finally wrap up?
“And with this, she busted out with a fully charming laugh.”
Michelle then did what any empathetic heel wearing woman would do.
“I laid a hand affectionately across her shoulder.
“I couldn’t have known it in the moment, but I was committing what would be deemed an epic faux pas.”
And there you have it. Two powerful women brought together by a powerful designer.