Helle Thorning-Schmidt: Selfie with Obama, Cameron at Mandela Funeral ‘Wasn’t Inappropriate’

December 12, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish prime minister, defended the “selfie” she took with British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama, saying “There were lots of pictures taken that day, and I just thought it was a bit fun.”

“It wasn’t inappropriate,” she told Danish daily Berlingske, reported the Telegraph.

The picture, showing all three world leaders, hasn’t been made public. But a photographer for AFP snapped pictures of the trio taking the picture, which then were heavily circulated on social media websites.

“Maybe it also shows that when we meet heads of state and government, we too are just people who have fun,” Thorning-Schmidt added.

News Photo: President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David…

News Photo: Denmarks Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt US President…

(Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

“There was a sadness, but it was basically a festive event that also celebrated a man who has lived for 95 years and achieved so much in his life. There was dancing on the stands… And then we took a really fun selfie,” she said.

“In my defense I would say that Nelson Mandela played an extraordinary role in his life and in his death in bringing people together,” he said. “So of course when a member of the Kinnock family asked me for a photograph, I thought it was only polite to say yes.”

The photographer who took the photos, Roberto Schmidt, echoed that there was a fun atmosphere in the stadium. “All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader,” he wrote in a blog post. “It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa.”

News Photo: People attending Nelson Mandelas public Memorial Service at…

(Nelius Rademan/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

News Photo: People dancing and enjoying the tribute concert to…

(Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Schmidt also said that Michelle Obama wasn’t angry in the photo; just moments before, she had been smiling.

In a related piece of news, the photographer who took the photos, Roberto Scmidt, says that contrary to popular opinion, Michelle Obama was not angry at the time the picture was taken.


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