Barack Obama Broke Royal Protocol With The Queen. Here's How

Barack Obama shared what appeared to be a close professional relationship with Queen Elizabeth II while in office as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. The two were spotted together on multiple occasions during his presidency, and it's even been reported that the queen is such a fan of Barack and his family — including his wife, Michelle Obama — that she's asked for him to return to the U.K. for a visit, a rare move for a monarch and a former president.

In the book "Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan Markle" (via Insider), royal author Tom Quinn claimed that a former employee of the queen's said the monarch "completely fell in love with" Barack and has supposedly "frequently asked her courtiers if they could arrange for him to come to Britain now he is no longer president."

The two seem to be such fans of one another that even the former president and first lady breaking protocol doesn't seem to phase the queen. Read on for all the details.

Barack Obama made a snafu with the queen during the national anthem

Barack Obama might have an effortless way about him, but even he's not immune to a mishap when it comes to the British monarchy. CNN reported in 2011 that Barack got into a bit of an awkward moment at a state dinner while giving a toast. Queen Elizabeth II gave a few words and the U.S. national anthem played, before Barack stood up for his speech. He began by saying, "To Her Majesty the Queen," but the orchestra thought he'd finished and began playing the British national anthem.

Barack didn't stop his speech though. While the other guests stood up and stayed quiet out of respect for the queen, he kept speaking over the song, which very much goes against protocol. But it seems like the queen probably wasn't too offended by Barack's gaffe and the former president at least had some nice things to say. Barack reportedly spoke about the special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. by quoting William Shakespeare and said "To the queen," as the music continued to play.

Showing how much the monarch really does admire Barack, it was claimed in the documentary "Secrets of the Royals" (via Express) that the queen broke protocol back. "She says 'that was very kind, thank you,'" William Hanson, etiquette and civility specialist, said of the moment. "The queen deliberately broke with the etiquette in order to be more well mannered."

Michelle Obama also broke protocol with Queen Elizabeth

The national anthem accident wasn't the only time an Obama broke protocol with Queen Elizabeth II. In 2009, Barack Obama's wife Michelle Obama raised eyebrows when she was photographed with her arms around the monarch — a big no-no.

The photos caused quite a stir at the time and Barack addressed the hoopla in his 2020 book, "A Promised Land." Barack noted his wife had her "hand resting on Her Majesty's shoulder" and noted (via Harper's Bazaar) that it was "an apparent breach of royalty-commoner protocol," something Michelle didn't seem to realize. He had his wife's back though, pointing out that "the queen didn't seem to mind, slipping her arm around Michelle in return."

The queen's dressmaker Angela Kelly addressed the controversy in her book, 2009's "The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser, and the Wardrobe," also noting the queen didn't appear to be offended by Michelle's gesture. "Much has been made about the meeting between Michelle and Her Majesty, when an instant and mutual warmth was shared between these two remarkable women, and protocol was seemingly 'abandoned' as they stood closely with their arms around each other's backs," she wrote (via Insider). 

Kelly called it "a natural instinct for the queen to show affection and respect for another great woman" and added, "When fondness is felt... it truly is about human kindness, and this is something the Queen will always welcome warmly."