44 The Obama Presidency
First Lady Takes in Rowling, Ballet
By Michael D. Shear
LONDON -- While their husbands gathered with other world leaders to try and save the global economy, the wives of President Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown spent the morning mingling with the spouses of the other G-20 leaders at a glitzy affair.
Michelle Obama and Sarah Brown arrived at the Royal Opera House early this morning for a party that included a reading by "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling from her new book "The Tales of Beetle the Bard," music, wine and other entertainment.
The spouses moved next into the main opera house hall, where they watched a brief performance from Giselle by the Royal Ballet and posed for official pictures.
Obama chatted with Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper, who said, "I'll never be on this stage. This is my one and only chance."
After the initial performances, which took place in a large room with an arched glass ceiling, Brown called the artists up to thank them. "In this difficult time, with the difficult summit taking place down the road, you remind us all about the part that culture plays in keeping us all alive," Brown said.
Obama, who elicited banner headlines on cable news channels yesterday for the J.Crew ensemble she wore on a visit to a local cancer center, sat in the front row of three rows of chairs.
She wore a turquoise outfit, with a billowy skirt and matching low heels. The top, which was described as a cardigan, was cross-hatched with white, black and burgundy fabric. The ensemble was made by Jason Wu, a young designer who made the first lady's inaugural gown. She wore pearls around her neck.
Brown wore a midnight blue, knee-length skirt and top by Graeme Black, "her favorite designer" according to her press staff. Around her neck, she wore a simple pendant by Pippa Small.
At a private luncheon, the spouses ate wild mushroom stuffed free-range chicken and rocket linguine with lemon and parmesan dressing. Dessert was mocha mousse cup with honey crunch; white chocolate beignets with sour rasberry dip; biscotti bruschetta topped with semi freddo and vin santo blueberries; cheese and biscuits.
Obama is expected to visit a different part of London later this afternoon.
Posted at 8:07 AM ET on Apr 2, 2009
44 The Obama Presidency
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