Michelle Obama Charms Her Way Through Europe

Forget trying to get world leaders to solve the global economic crisis or garner support for a new Afghanistan policy, first lady Michelle Obama appeared to succeed in improving America's image abroad this week.

Accompanying her husband, President Obama, on a whirlwind tour through England, France, Germany and the Czech Republic, all eyes watched the first lady to see what she would do, what she would say and, of course, what she would wear.

The Europeans were not disappointed.

"Hugger-in-chief grabs the glory," read the Sunday Times headline in London after Mrs. Obama hugged a group of school girls and told them about her story.

"Nothing in my life's path would have predicted that I'd be standing here as the first African American first lady of the United States of America," she told the group.

"G20 summit: How Britain was wooed by Michelle Obama," was Friday's headline in The Guardian.

The first lady even managed to change the rules on royalty, creating a stir when she met the Queen of England and she placed her arm around the royal. Protocol restricts such touching, but it didn't seem to bother the queen who told Obama she hoped they'd stay in touch.

In France, the paparazzi had a field day snapping away at their own first lady, former model Carla Bruni-Sarkozy touring with Obama around Strasbourg's Notre Dame Cathedral.

"A French Embrace for Mrs. Obama," read Friday's International Herald Tribune, which compared the first lady to Jackie Kennedy.

And in Prague, Obama charmed the group that accompanied her through a tour of the Pinkas Synagogue and the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague's Jewish Quarter.

"Every single moment was a moment to cherish," said Michaela Sideberg, curator of the Jewish Museum after the tour.

"She is a natural and a very nice person," Czech first lady Livia Klausova said after showing Obama around Prague Castle.

Obama decided not to accompany her husband on his last stop of his European tour -- Turkey.

She returned to Washington after events in Prague, she said so that she could get back home to their two daughters, Sasha and Malia.

"It was a wonderful visit, but much too short," she said after her synagogue tour. "I'll be back."