Michelle reminds Britain why she's the first lady of cool

Since Michelle Obama captured the public imagination during her husband's presidential campaign, other powerful personalities - such as Lady Gaga and the Duchess of Cambridge - have come along.

Yet, the US first lady continues to fascinate us as the ultimate icon for the modern woman.

Wednesday was a case in point when she sashayed between serving up chow at a barbecue for military families,hugging schoolgirls and mingling with royalty - all the while looking utterly at ease and delighted to be in each setting. 

Michelle radiated her characteristic warmth as she welcomed the Queen to a gala thanking her for Tuesday's glittering banquet at Buckingham Palace.  

In an off the shoulder Ralph Lauren column dress that made the most of her statuesque, gym-honed figure, she looked stunning too.

Her royal guest, meanwhile, cut a typically regal figure, in an evening gown that shimmered with gold and silver sequins.

An unusual knotted diamond necklace, featuring emerald drop pendants and matching earrings, topped off the dazzling effect.

Inside, lavish entertainment awaited than 50 guests, including actors Tom Hanks and Colin FirthDavid Beckham and author JK Rowling.

America's first couple waiting to welcome the Queen to Winfield House, the residence of the US ambassador 

Her Majesty may have been driven in typical splendour, but she has come to regard the Obamas with the affection normally accorded to family friends 

Warmth as well as the 'wow' factor characterised the atmosphere at the second banquet of the state visit 

The two ladies had on impressive ice for the black tie affair 

At Tuesday's banquet in Buckingham Palace the US leader told the Queen that his children adore her 

He invites the Queen to sign the visitor's book 

The Obamas said goodbye to the monarch and her husband on Wednesday as the following day the president was due in France, while Michelle returned home separately