America's first lady Michelle Obama departed India wearing a floral dress with a hemline just below the knee, but when she landed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, 27 January, she had changed into black trousers and a full sleeves colourful jacket.
President Barack Obama along with his wife cut short their three-day India visit and made a quick halt in Saudi Arabia to condole the death of King Abdullah and meet the new king of the country.
However, the US first lady's arrival in the conservative Arab nation was marred in controversy.
As per the country's strict dress code, women are required to wear a headscarf and loose, black robes all the while, when in public, but Michelle decided to ditch the head scarf.
She not only attracted criticism for her actions, but was reportedly "blurred" out on Saudi television. However, the Saudi embassy in the US was quick to follow up and deny media reports that the US first lady was "blurred" from state television.
The Saudi embassy in the US said in a tweet: "Report by Bloomberg View's Josh Rogin that Saudi TV "blurred" image of First Lady Michelle Obama is FALSE. Should check facts, not Facebook."
Videos posted on YouTube purportedly show that state television had indeed blurred out Michelle Obama. However, those who watched the live broadcast of the Obama visit to Riyadh confirmed that there was no blurring.
Meanwhile, Associated Press reported that as the Obamas arrived in Riyadh, a delegation of Saudi officials including only male members greeted the visiting dignitaries. Some shook hands with the first lady, while some avoided a handshake and acknowledged her with a nod of the head.
Soon after the arrival was aired live, a battle raged on Twitter, as most people criticised her for not wearing a headscarf. Others were sharply critical of the comments that were made against her.
In August 2014, a female news anchor had caused outrage in the kingdom after she became the first person to read the news without a headscarf.
The Independent had reported then that the unnamed TV anchor was not in Saudi Arabia and was broadcasting from the Al Ekhbariya studios in London, according to New York Post.
While some women are occasionally seen on state television without a headscarf, newsreaders are always covered up with a hijab or veil.
Women in the country convicted of blasphemy, apostasy, adultery and witchcraft are subjected to lashes, hanging and even beheading, according to the strict interpretation of the Islamic Shariah law known as Wahhabism.
Here are some tweets from Saudi nationals on Michelle Obama's headscarf issue:
LOL Michelle Obama not wearing a headscarf sparked "backlash"? 1500 tweets is backlash? http://t.co/8HKxZEkfVq
— Deanna ديانا (@deannaothman) January 28, 2015
— Ali M Latifi (@alibomaye) January 28, 2015