Page last updated at 13:19 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 14:19 UK

Michelle Obama visits London pub

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Michelle Obama and daughters were driven through London amid tight security

US First Lady Michelle Obama and her children visited a London pub during a whirlwind sightseeing trip.

The family dropped into The Audley, in the exclusive Mayfair district, which boasts the "best fish and chips in W1" on a board outside.

Mrs Obama also visited Big Ben with daughters Sasha and Malia.

Mrs Obama stayed in Paris on Sunday for sightseeing after her husband, President Barack Obama, returned to the US following an official visit.

The family spent about two and half hours at the pub, which is round the corner from the US embassy in Grosvenor Square, with Mrs Obama enjoying a meal of sirloin steak and chips and her daughters tucking into traditional fish and chips.

'Real surprise'

A source said the visit had been as "normal as it can be" and Mrs Obama and the children, who dined in an upstairs private dining room, chatted with staff and customers.

A spokesman for landlords Punch Taverns said staff knew they had a booking for 25 people, but were astonished when Mrs Obama and her daughters arrived.

Cintia Pinto, 24, who served Mrs Obama, said: "We were all speechless when they walked in. I couldn't believe it. But they were all very friendly. Smiling and laughing.

"They made us feel calm. The girls were so sweet and polite. They thanked us every time we brought them something. It was a real honour."

Manager John Gohery added: "It was a real surprise and a pleasure. We've had other famous people coming in, but nothing on this scale."

Harry Potter

According to one poster on a pub review site, the Audley is "an old-fashioned pub that attracts a more mature crowd than most". Another said: "The decor is a bit more upscale than your average pub with ornate ceilings and oriental style rugs covering the wooden floors".

Mrs Obama and the children flew into Britain on Monday morning for private sightseeing visit, which is also thought to have included a visit to Pinewood Studios to see the set of the Harry Potter films.

Downing Street said Mrs Obama had not spoken to or met Prime Minister Gordon Brown but she did visit Number 10 to meet his wife Sarah.

Earlier on Monday - a day in which Mr Brown was battling to survive as prime minister - large numbers of police and security guards had been witnessed underneath Big Ben, which later turned out to have been because of a visit by the Obamas.

Mrs Obama drew large crowds on an earlier visit to London in April.

On Saturday, President Obama tribute to veterans at services in Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Earlier on the same visit, he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel toured the Buchenwald concentration camp.



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