The former first lady spoke about the amusing incident on Sunday in London while on the European book tour for her memoir, “Becoming.”
“Yikes! Sorry, guys,” she joked during her talk, adding that for subsequent events as first lady, she learned to hold her hands together so that she wouldn’t make the same “human” mistake again.
“I don’t know that I could have done anything differently because it was a natural human reaction,” she said on Sunday.
Writing about the impromptu hug in her memoir, Obama noted that the queen had seemed fine with the moment.
“I then did what’s instinctive to me anytime I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly. I laid a hand affectionately across her shoulder,” Obama wrote.
She added, “I daresay that the Queen was okay with it, too, because when I touched her, she only pulled closer, resting a gloved hand lightly on the small of my back.”
At the time, an anonymous spokesperson for Buckingham Palace insisted that the moment was perfectly fine with Her Majesty and not a breach of royal protocol.
“It was a mutual and spontaneous display of affection,” the spokesperson said at the time. “We don’t issue instructions on not touching the queen.”