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Vicky Ward Headshot

Of Course Michelle Cannot Go Sleeveless To Have Tea With The Queen!

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Anyone who thinks Michelle Obama should use tea with the Queen as an experimental fashion platform is sadly deluded. I cannot believe some of the suggestions I am reading on this site.

Bare shoulders at Buckingham Palace during the day would be seen as a tremendous insult to our monarch.

Do Americans not realize that in Britain, unlike America, to wear a wedding dress in church that does not cover one's shoulders is considered absolutely disrespectful? It was the first thing I was told when I had my wedding gown designed in London fifteen years ago. Sleeves are a must.

Imagine, then, what the Queen -- who is never sleeveless on formal occasions -- would think of Michelle Obama showing up in bare-armed sheath by some clueless modern designer, when the Queen's day uniform -- as we know -- is sleeves, hat, gloves -- and no matter how hot the weather, tights.

The Royal family is always told that they too should wear hats, sleeves and gloves to match the formal style when paying the Royal matriarch a visit -- which means, that strictly speaking, so should America's First Lady, out of respect.

Anyone British person knows that when you are invited to Buckingham Palace, you behave - and dress -- in the way Buckingham Palace suggests -- not as if you were getting ready to sashay down a Fashion Week runway.

Of course it's possible to make the Royal formal style look glamorous. No one did it better than the late Princess of Wales -- but she always dressed "correctly".

Anyone who attends Royal Ascot or Royal Regatta at Henley during London's so-called season knows that if you try to put fashion ahead of protocol -- you will be stared at and probably kicked out.

For Henley skirts must cover the knee (I once had to stop the car en route and buy a new dress since I realized the one I had on was just a fraction too short) and at Ascot hats must cover the top of the head. Sleeves are always required.

A friend who spent the week at Windsor Castle during Royal Ascot one week had to get into long evening wear for dinner every single night.

So for all those shrieking about who will look the most fashionable during the G20 summit, may I suggest you dampen the nonsensical hurly-burly of wondering who will reign in the fashion stakes. The answer is neither Sarah Brown nor Michelle Obama, nor even Carla Bruni-Sarkozy but the woman who has already set the bar -- for over fifty years: Her Majesty, the Queen.