Obama steals the limelight
For Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in South Africa yesterday, it was a remarkably jovial scene: United States President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt huddled together for a smartphone photograph.
But UK newspaper the Daily Telegraph reported that one person looked distinctly less amused by the world leaders’ “selfie”—Michelle Obama.
The first lady stared straight ahead, hands clasped in her lap, while her husband laughed with the Europeans at Mandela’s memorial in Johannesburg.
Another photograph shows her looking on, unsmiling, as Obama shared a joke with Thorning-Schmidt and patted her on the shoulder, the Telegraph story said.
In a photograph later yesterday, the Obamas appeared to have switched seats, with the first lady separating her husband from the Danish Prime Minister, the story added.
Thorning-Schmidt is married to Stephen Kinnock, the son of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock.
The interaction between the Obamas and Thorning-Schmidt was closely monitored by three of the President’s closest aides—Susan Rice, the White House National Security adviser; Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser; and Eric Holder; the US attorney general—who were seated behind.
The UK Mirror reported that Downing Street refused to comment when asked if they thought Cameron should have acted with more decorum.
The paper also reported that Cameron said the event was more of a “celebration” than a memorial service.
“It was more of a celebration than a commemoration, and perhaps that’s a good thing, because I think what matters now is that Mandela’s legacy for the future is secured,” he said.