Queen Elizabeth was moved to tears by a touching gift from then-President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, a former staffer has revealed.
According to Capricia Penavic Marshall, then the chief of protocol for the United States, the 94-year-old British monarch was overwhelmed when presented with a leather-bound collection of memorabilia about her late father, King George VI.
The moving collection included invitations and notes from King George’s final visit to America in 1939 and was gifted by the Obamas at a lunch in 2011.
“We wanted to make sure that what we were furthering this special relationship with the UK and particularly with Her Majesty,” Capricia told People magazine.
“President and Mrs Obama were so, so very fond of her. In doing our research, we learned that [Queen Elizabeth] had a cherished relationship with her father, and she collected anything and everything that she could about him...
“When she walked over and she's flipping and looking through the pages, I'm looking at her and I'm like, ‘Oh, goodness, I hope that she likes it.’
“And I want to say that I saw a little glisten of a tear in her eye after she paged through it a bit. She looked to the president said, ‘Thank you so very much for this.’”
President Obama and his wife also gifted the Queen a green floral brooch — featuring 14-karat yellow gold, diamonds and moss agate — which the couple reportedly hand-picked at Washington D.C.’s Tiny Jewel Box store.
“I'd like to say that she was proud to wear a piece of a presidential gift and was displaying the unity between the two nations,” Capricia said.
“I think that she has the capacity to always lift the message up right now and to create those stronger bounds. But she herself is the only one who will really know.”
The Queen re-wore the floral brooch — dubbed the ‘the American State Visit Brooch’ — to an engagement held the same morning current President Donald Trump landed in the UK in 2018 which many saw as a subtle jab at the US leader.
Don’t touch the bag
Capricia also recalled a warning she received from the Queen’s staff when she stepped forward to help Her Majesty with her handbag during the Obamas’ visit to Buckingham Palace nine years ago.
She said: “As Her Majesty walked out, I made a comment to my counterpart. I said, ‘Oh, my goodness, Her Majesty has her bag.’ And I made an ever so slight move with my left foot.
“He, with both of his hands, pushed me back against the wall and said, ‘Do not touch the bag.’ and I said, ‘Oh, my goodness. I’m so sorry’.
“He goes, ‘We do not touch the bag.’ And I said, ‘Okay, I apologise. I would never. But do we know what’s in the bag?’ And he said, ‘We don't know what’s in the bag. But we never touch the bag.’”