3 APRIL 2009

As her husband was busy thrashing out a plan to save the world's economy with other leaders at the G20 summit, Michelle Obama was busy inspiring youngsters at a London girl's school. The US President's wife gave an emotional pep talk to pupils - telling them they had what it takes to make a difference.

The First Lady was greeted with cheers and screams of delight as she arrived at the school in Islington. And after being showered in hugs and watching a performance of teenagers singing Whitney Houston's Believe, she took to the stage to urge the 100 or so young ladies in attendance to believe they had the "strength" and "dignity" to achieve their dreams.

Michelle, at times close to tears, pointed to her own beginnings - an ordinary child from a working class neighbourhood – as an example of what could be achieved when girls "from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured."

She continued: "I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity. You too can control your own destiny, please remember that… We are counting on every single one of you to be the best that you can be. We know that you can do it, we love you."

Mrs Obama, who had earlier joined Sarah Brown and other politician's wives to take in a performance at London's Royal Opera House, told the excited girls her husband Barack Obama would be jealous of her spending the afternoon at the school.

"He is meeting with important people but it's not as much fun as being here," said the 45-year-old mum-of-two. "All of you are precious and you have touched my heart."

Photo: Getty Images
The glam First Lady received a particularly warm welcome at a north London girls' school as she arrived on a special visit. She later gave a moving speech to pupils, telling them to believe they had "strength" and "dignity" to achieve their dreams and make a difference. "We know that you can do it, we love you," she said
Photo: Getty Images
Michelle high-fives a youngster after watching a performance of teenagers singing Whitney Houston's hit Believe
Photo: PA
The day after she caused a stir by breaking with royal protocol by putting her arm around the Queen, Michelle's tactile nature was once more evident
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