WASHINGTON – The first family headed out to Monday’s inaugural festivities with Michelle Obama leading a coordinated fashion parade in a navy-silk, checkered-patterned coat and dress by Thom Browne that were inspired by a menswear necktie.
The outfit was specifically designed for the first lady, but Browne said he wasn’t 100 percent sure she was going to wear it until she came out with it on at the Capitol. “I am proud and humbled,” he said.
The rest of her Inauguration Day outfit included a belt from J. Crew, necklace by Cathy Waterman and a cardigan by Reed Krakoff.
Malia Obama, 14, wore a plum-colored J. Crew coat and an electric-blue dress, and her younger sister Sasha, 11, had on a Kate Spade coat and dress in a similar purple shade.
On the inaugural platform, the president’s daughters smiled, sometimes giggled, and chatted with their cousin Avery Robinson as they awaited their father’s arrival. Sasha bounced on her feet a bit as if chilly; later at the parade she danced in her seat to the beat of passing drummers. Malia, rivaling her mother’s 5 feet 11 inches, looked poised in calf-high black boots. Like any girls their age, they whipped out their smartphones in the reviewing stand to take photos.
Both daughters appeared relaxed and oblivious to their global TV audience, unaffected by their rare status.
In the second term Sasha, who arrived in the White House as a second-grader, moves on to high school. She expressed her pre-teen spirit Sunday, when Barack Obama took his official, nonpublic oath of office. After giving Dad a “Good job!” she added a reminder of his flubbed words four years ago. “You didn’t mess up,” Sasha teased the commander in chief.
For Malia, the milestones to come are many — she’ll be hitting the years when typical teens start driving, dating and applying to colleges.
Beyonce, other stars add sparkle to event
WASHINGTON – Beyonce drew a loud cheer from the audience Monday even before her impressive rendition of the national anthem.
The applause started when she took her place with Jay-Z at the Capitol to watch President Obama take the oath for his second term in office.
James Taylor kicked off the musical performances, strumming his guitar and singing “America the Beautiful.” Kelly Clarkson followed with a different arrangement of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Beyonce offered R&B-esque vocal riffs as she sang the anthem and the crowd cheered loudly as she finished.
Other stars at the inauguration included Katy Perry and John Mayer, sitting side-by-side.
Singer-songwriter Ke$ha also was spotted, as were Allison Williams, the “Girls” actress and daughter of news anchor Brian Williams, and actress Eva Longoria.
Prince ends Afghanistan deployment
LONDON – Capt. Wales is coming home to be Prince Harry once again.
The Ministry of Defense revealed Monday that the 28-year-old prince is returning from a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan, where he served as an Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps. It did not immediately divulge his whereabouts.
In interviews conducted in Afghanistan, the prince described feeling boredom, frustration and satisfaction during a tour that saw him kill Taliban fighters on missions in support of ground troops.
The prince — known as Capt. Wales in the military – flew scores of missions as a co-pilot gunner, sometimes firing rockets and missiles at Taliban fighters.
“Take a life to save a life. That’s what we revolve around, I suppose,” he said. “If there’s people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we’ll take them out of the game.”
The media were allowed limited access to the prince in return for not reporting operational details.