Michelle Obama royal error downplayed

April 2, 2009 at 2:42 PM
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LONDON, April 2 (UPI) -- A representative for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II says no offense was taken by the royal gaffe by Michelle Obama, first lady of the United States.

The unidentified Buckingham Palace official said while media reports have criticized Mrs. Obama for apparently violating royal policy by touching the queen without invitation, the incident did not represent a "breach of protocol," "Inside Edition" reported Thursday.

"It's obvious that it was a mutual sign of affection and appreciated between the queen and Michelle Obama," the royal representative said. "There is no offense. The reception was an informal occasion. There's no breach of protocol."

Time magazine said Wednesday that Obama, wife of U.S. President Barack Obama, fueled a media uproar when she touched Elizabeth's back during a recent reception in London.

Royal regulations significantly limit any touching of the British royal, only allowing for handshakes when the queen offers her hand.

Time said a similar uproar occurred in 2000 when then Australian Prime Minister John Howard appeared to touch the queen while guiding her through a crowd.

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