A Breach of Protocol
During a 2009 visit to Buckingham Palace US First Lady Michelle Obama raised many an indignant eyebrow when she briefly put her hand around Queen Elizabeth II as the two chatted at a reception.
“Etiquette is quite stern about this ("Whatever you do, don't touch the Queen!") Time magazine wrote in a comment.
One is allowed to touch the Queen only if the monarch offers her hand but should return this not with a firm handshake but just a touch.
Michelle Obama put her hand on the Queen only after the Queen had placed her own hand on the First Lady's back as part of their conversation. In any case, the touch lasted just a second or two, and the Queen did not seem particularly perturbed — though she appeared slightly surprised as she drew away.
Maria Poroshenko is the wife of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. During a 2014 church service their youngest son Myhailo was trying to tell his parents that he didn't feel well. However, the Poroshenko family posing for cameras simply stood there until the boy collapsed.
After the boy went down, instead of rushing to the boy’s aid, Mrs. Poroshenko asked their security detail to take the boy out and continued to pose for TV cameras.
“Black Stockings” vs Georgian First Lady
During a 2005 ceremony commemorating the victims of the April 9, 1989 police breakup of a protest rally in Tbilisi a group of fanatical supporters of late President Zviad Gamsakhurdia who accompanied his widow, Manana Archvadze, prevented Sandra Roelfs, the Dutch-born wife of then President Mikheil Saakashvili, from laying floral tributes at the monument downtown memorial. A group of thirty members of the so-called “Black Stockings Battalion” surrounded the First Lady demanding that she get out.
It wasn’t until police intervention that the First Lady could finally perform her solemn duty.
Nothing Personal, Only Politics
In 2012 the former partner of French President Francois Hollande, Segolene Royal was infuriated by new First Lady Valerie Trierweiler who tweeted support for her parliamentary election rival.
Segolene Royal, the mother of Francois Hollande's four children and a former presidential candidate who lived with Mr. Hollande for 30 years before he left her for Miss Trierweiler, was running in La Rochelle against left-winger Olivier Falorni. She was outraged when Miss Trierweiler tweeted warm support for Mr. Falorni.
French media blamed Miss Trierweiler’s move on jealousy, while politicians advised her against mixing politics with personal affairs.
Heeding the advice, Miss Trierweiler later apologized for what she described as “an unfortunate mistake.”
Qatar’s First Lady Unveils Her Face
In 2002 Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser al-Missned, the wife of the third Emir of Qatar, appeared in public without the customary chador. The move flew in the face of Arabian religious etiquette which prescribes women to always appear in public wearing a chador, a long dress, stockings and black gloves.
The move caused an angry uproar among elderly Qataris but won enthusiastic thumbs up from the younger generation of Qataris.