The Washington Post

President Obama snaps a selfie at Mandela’s memorial service


Fresh off the latest round of controversy regarding when and where it’s appropriate to take a photo of yourself, President Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt apparently snapped a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, where they’re all guests.

The photo shows the three smiling for a smartphone while Michelle Obama stares into the distance. A series of hilarious follow-up photos, practically screaming for a caption contest, show Obama laughing with Thorning-Schmidt and touching her arm before turning inexplicably somber. The first lady looks stern -- dare we say disapproving? -- throughout.



Thorning-Schmidt and Obama have met officially at least twice before, most recently in September in Stockholm. Thorning-Schmidt also visited the White House in February, when she and Obama discussed economic policy and the situation in Syria. The Danish PM also has daughters slightly older than Malia and Sasha Obama, which came up during the meeting.

For the record, CNN last October asked Emily Post, that last bastion of old-school etiquette in this topsy-turvy Internet world, whether it was ever okay to take selfies at funerals.

“No!” replied Post -- exclamation point hers.

More on Nelson Mandela:

'The Last Great Liberator': Why Mandela made and stayed friends with some of the world's nastiest dictators

9 questions about Nelson Mandela you were too embarrassed to ask

Read the most important speech Mandela ever gave

Watch Obama's speech, and read the transcript with analysis from The Post's Scott Wilson.

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Max Fisher · December 10, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.