You Won't Believe What Obama And Others Did During Nelson Mandela's Memorial Service

No matter how famous you are, it appears, few can resist the appeal of the selfie.

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President Obama was caught committing a funeral faux pas, snapping a selfie during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service

During this morning's memorial service honoring late South African leader Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama took a few minutes in between speaking to mingle with the many political world leaders in attendance.

At one point during the event, which took place at Johannesburg's FNB Stadium, President of the United States was even caught snapping a candid selfie pic with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt!

Funeral selfie: (from left to right) British PM David Cameron, Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt and President Obama smile for a snap during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

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For the selfie snapshot, the three leaders leaned into each other as Obama reach out his arm to take the photo on an iPhone. All three flashed a smile.

The awkwardness of the 'selfie' moment is intensified by Michelle Obama appearing to look into the distance pensively as the world leaders lean in rather cosily for the picture

David Cameron, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Barack Obama pose for a selfie. Michele Obama, meanwhile, remains focused on Nelson Mandela's memorial service. Photograph: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

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Ignoring the etiquette tips that have proliferated online since 'selfie' was declared Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year, the three world leaders appeared to momentarily forget the solemnity of the occasion, adopting the mandatory cheesy grins. Michelle Obama maintained her dignity and refused to join in the antics.

The US president and the Danish leader were photographed laughing and chatting during the ceremony, while the US first lady looked on apparently unimpressed.

A series of follow-up photos, practically screaming for a caption contest, show Obama laughing with Thorning-Schmidt and touching her arm before turning inexplicably somber

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, left, jokes with Obama during the service Tuesday, as first lady Michelle Obama paid attention to the proceedings.

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The Danish leader looked all at ease with Obama during the remembrance ceremony for Nelson Mandela but Michelle Obama (right) did not seem to approve of the display.

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The first lady looks stern -- dare we say disapproving? -- throughout.

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Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt mingled with the President, as First Lady Michelle Obama looked intently ahead.

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The Cameron-Obama-Thorning-Schmidt selfie soon went viral online, leading to a backlash from some who felt it was inappropriate behaviour for a funeral

Many users have made snarky remarks against the leaders, noting that “funerals are no place for selfies.”

But many remarked that the world leaders were simply joining in the South African spirit of celebrating, rather than mourning, Mandela. "Lighten up people, it was a celebration of life," tweeted ‏@s_phire.

"From everything I've read about Mandela this week, sounds like he'd have found the Obama selfie / Michelle Twitter gags pretty funny," tweeted Sam Parker.

The image quickly made its way onto the Tumblr blog “Selfies at Funerals” (yes, that’s a thing).
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And the U.K. newspaper The Independent wondered whether the trio would one day look back on the shot and think, “what on earth were we doing? We’re world leaders, not a bunch of giggling teenagers. We’re attending the memorial service of Nelson Mandela. Couldn’t we have waited a bit before goofing around?”

Did you find the picture inappropriate as well or are people making a big deal over nothing? Add your comments in the CHAT section.

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