Michelle Obama May Have Upset Saudi Royalty With Her Attire Even As President Obama Rushed To Pay His Respects

United States President Barrack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama rushed to the Saudi Kingdom, cutting short their trip to India, however, the First Lady’s attire may have left a sour impression.

President Obama was with his wife Michelle in Riyadh on Tuesday to pay his respects to the late Saudi King Abdullah. He had cut short his much-hyped trip to India, where the country celebrated its Republic Day on Monday, January 26. While the hurried visit to the Saudi Kingdom strongly indicates how important the U.S.-Saudi relationship remains to the American leadership, the visit could have been more effective had it not been for First Lady Michelle Obama’s choice of garb.

Social media has been abuzz about the apparent lack of ‘respect’ the First Lady displayed while attending a rather somber event. Hundreds of tweets using the hashtag #ميشيل_أوباما_سفور (roughly translated, #Michelle_Obama_unveiled) were sent Tuesday, many of which strongly criticized the First Lady.

Michelle Obama did not wear a headscarf or veil Tuesday. Though normally it would have been a perfectly acceptable thing, in Saudi Arabia, it is a cause of great concern. The country is one of the few on Earth where women are expected to always cover their heads. In fact, most Saudi women wear niqabs – a garment that covers a woman from head-to-toe, save her eyes.

While exceptions are certainly made for foreign dignitaries, and Michelle Obama surely qualifies for one, the kingdom’s citizens argued about her lack of head-covering, primarily because it appears the First Lady actually chose to forgo it while she was in the Saudi Kingdom. Quite a few social media users pointed out that on a recent trip to Indonesia, Michelle had worn a headscarf. They asked, “Why not in Saudi Arabia?”


The Saudi Kingdom may have downplayed the First Lady’s choice of not just leaving her headscarf back at home or on the plane and even choosing to wear blue – whereas a black attire could have been a better choice – the Inquisitr had reported how the Saudi television digitally obscured the First Lady. Interestingly, there were some other minor goof-ups too on the part of the new king, but they too are being condoned given the lack of experience.

The Saudi Kingdom has always had some strict laws for women, including not venturing out after sunset, a driving ban, no stepping out without a male chaperone, etc. Seems like the Saudi Kingdom may have taken mild offense to Michelle Obama. The question is, will it affect the oil prices?

[Image Credit | Carolyn Kaster/AP]