President Obama was caught committing a funeral faux pas — snapping a selfie during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and British PM David Cameron.
The threesome smiled as the Scandinavian beauty held her smartphone out to capture the moment but Michelle Obama sat at a distance, as if in disapproval of the digital display.
Thorning-Schmidt, 46, was animated as she took her place among the dignitaries in the stands at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg for the somber occasion, chatting with other leaders and unabashedly typing away on her device.
The Danish politician, who is married to British executive Stephen Kinnock, appeared particularly chummy with President Obama but Michelle Obama, 49, seemed annoyed at the mingling, looking solemn as she stared intently in the opposite direction and paid attention to the proceedings.
As the President laughed away with the Danish leader, at least one photograph shows the First Lady flash a disapproving glare in their direction.
Thorning-Schmidt, who has two daughters with Kinnock, is the first female prime minister of Denmark. She assumed office in October 2011.
She has met Obama on numerous occasions, including a White House visit in February 2012 and the NATO Summit in Chicago in May 2012.
In September, Obama visited with Thorning-Schmidt during his visit to Stockholm, when he also met with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.
The Danish leader’s selfie went viral on Twitter, with scores of comments on the total lack of propriety shown by the three leaders.
After the hoopla over Obama’s pic, a candid snapshot of George W. Bush emerged on his Instagram account — showing him posing with Bono as they sat in the stands for the remembrance.
The Obamas were just part of the U.S. delegation to the Tuesday service, accompanied by President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, President Bill Clinton, his wife, Hillary, and daughter, Chelsea, and President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn.
Chelsea Clinton, 33, is an avid tweeter, but abstained from accessing the social media website during the event, as did her parents, who also both have Twitter accounts.
Laura Bush is also on Twitter but did not post any updates to the website.
After the memorial service ended, the Obamas and Bushes boarded Air Force One to return to the U.S.
They were in South Africa for less than 13 hours.
Though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled from the U.S. to Africa onboard Air Force One with the two couples, she did not return home on the President’s plane Tuesday night.
Former President Bill Clinton, his daughter Chelsea, 33, and President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn were also among the U.S. delegation but they traveled separately.