27 May 2011

Flashback Friday: When Obamas Meet Royals

Hey, did you guys know that the President and First Lady of the United States went all the way to the United Kingdom this week just to meet Kate? (And William, I suppose.) (Oh, and other people that are actually important to U.S./U.K. relations. Details, details.)

Even though this state visit has captured the largest headlines of all, the Obamas have hobnobbed with royalty quite frequently. Surprisingly frequently, I'd say, given the very few state visits they have participated in to date.

Of course, meetings with royalty from the Middle East have been frequent. Not only do monarchies there tend to have greater power than their European counterparts, the United States has great interests in the region.
King Abdullah of Jordan is an ally, and while he has spent time with the President, Queen Rania has spent time with Michelle Obama.
They've even met my beloved Sheikha Mozah of Qatar! (Though, dare I say it, not on her finest fashion day?)

The President met Japan's Emperor Akihitio and Empress Michiko, causing a snit in the U.S. over the depth of his bow in the process. Same thing happened when he met the King of Saudi Arabia.
(Not that everything he does doesn't cause a snit to start with. Such is the climate these days.)

The Nobel Peace Prize brought him to Norway for a meeting with the King Harald and the whole crew.
Quite an interesting shade on Mrs. O. in that top picture, no? What are we calling that? Puce? (My own personal rule of dressing is not to wear colors that are anywhere near puke in name or shade.)

Campaigning for Chicago for the 2016 Olympic Games took them to Denmark, to hang out with Margrethe and Henrik...
 ...and Mary and Frederik, and IOC members Prince Albert and Princess Anne (no face necessary there, the hair's all the identification we need). Alas, Michelle's attempt at subliminal messaging with her gold wardrobe was a failure.

The First Lady took a private vacation to Spain with one of her daughters (no, I don't know which one is which), during which she met Juan Carlos, Sofia, and Letizia.
And during which Letizia ended up out-smarting them all. (Not that most things wouldn't be considered extra smart when standing next to Sofia's muu muu-looking thing.)

A few royals have stopped to visit the Obamas during trips to the States, including Máxima and Willem-Alexander.

Queen Silvia dropped by the White House too, during one of her trips for her World Childhood Foundation.

And now we're back to Britain. The Queen and Prince Philip have met them before, as have Charles and Camilla. Michelle drew criticism from Oscar de la Renta by wearing a cardigan to Buckingham Palace (inappropriate! too casual!) - but he doesn't seem to approve of her mode of dressing at any time. (Though in this instance, I must agree. Much smarter during this visit.)
The Duke cracks me up in this picture - that stance, that facial expression. "Oh, here we go again, with the tall Americans." He's a treasure, I tell you.

Anyways, on to the state visit at hand. Can I tell you something? I found the whole thing rather snooze-worthy.
I mean, it's no wonder Kate got all the press. There's nothing else to talk about! The Queen: typical. (Clearly she had her funky moment for the year, and now she's done.) Camilla: same old thing we've seen a bazillion times.
Grand Duchess Vladimir's tiara with hanging pearls for the Queen along with Queen Victoria's coronation necklace at the state banquet, and emeralds for the return dinner. The only story here is that she wore the Teck corsage brooch for the first time in a really long time, and that she left off her family orders. Camilla's wearing the Boucheron tiara, same one she always wears. Anne's wearing the Meander tiara, her most frequent pick. And because it was a Buckingham Palace dinner, we don't get good photos of the other royal ladies in attendance: the Duchess of Gloucester, the Countess of Wessex (in her wedding tiara), Princess Michael of Kent (City of London fringe tiara), or Princess Alexandra. So, boo.

With the royals snoozing it up, it's on to the political ladies:
Click to enlarge, as always.
I don't always love what Michelle Obama wears, but I love that she's not afraid of color, and she's not stuck in that Stepford wife political mode.

The same things can apply to Samantha Cameron, I guess, but...
No. The second one is okay, but..no. I'm sorry, SamCam is supposed to be some kind of fashion icon, and I don't get it. Mostly I think she looks like she's trying to be edgy, but she doesn't seem to have the edgy persona to finish the job. She's yet to wow me.

What did you make of the latest state visit? And who wins the fashion stakes when it comes to meeting the Obamas?

Photos: Getty/Reuters/Daylife/Daily Mail