Harry Potter helps Sasha have magical birthday

Holy Hogwarts! Sasha Obama learned there are some exhilarating perks that go along with being the president’s daughter by having her 8th birthday party thrown on the set of the new Harry Potter film — and reportedly meeting star Daniel Radcliffe along with Potter creator J.K. Rowling.

Sasha and big sister Malia, 10, traveled with their mother, first lady Michelle Obama, to Leavesden Studios, about 20 miles outside London, England, to mark Sasha’s big day on Wednesday. According to the local paper, the Watford Observer, the Obamas toured the Harry Potter film set, and then repaired to the set’s Hogwarts Grand Hall for a birthday party hosted by Rowling and attended by a gaggle of young ones.

The paper reported Harry Potter himself, Radcliffe, made a surprise pop-in at the festivities.

Contacted by, Michelle Obama’s spokesperson confirmed Sasha did indeed celebrate her birthday on the Harry Potter film set, but released no additional details.

Whirlwind tourIt marked a highlight in a heady, whirlwind week for the Obama ladies in England. After attending the D-Day 65th anniversary commemoration in Normandy, France, on Saturday with President Barack Obama, Michelle remained in Europe, taking Sasha, Malia and her mother, Marian Robinson, sightseeing in London.

The family visited Westminster Abbey and checked out Big Ben on Monday morning and afternoon. That evening they got a taste of English commoner culture with an authentic pub meal at London’s Audley in Mayfair.

Sasha was treated to a birthday-eve present Tuesday when she sat with her mother and sister in a private box at the historic Lyceum Theatre for a performance of “The Lion King.” Most eyes in the crowd of 2,000 were on the Obamas as the girls excitedly leaned over the edge of their box to catch a better view.

“The children were clearly having a good time,” an audience member told People magazine. “There was quite a buzz in the theater once people spotted them during the first part.”

Wild about HarryBut Wednesday’s Harry Potter set visit was likely the biggest thrill of all for the Obama girls. Michelle Obama said in an interview that “Harry Potter is huge in our house,” and that President Obama often reads aloud from the seven Harry Potter fantasy novels to the daughters.

Radcliffe himself likely greased the wheels for the visit after he learned Sasha and Malia were fans. He issued an invitation to them last January, saying, “I’d like to take this opportunity to issue a public invitation to the Obamas that if their daughters would like a private tour of the Harry Potter set, I would be honored to be their personal tour guide.”

Sasha and Malia got a very personal preview of the final chapter of the blockbuster movie franchise. The adaptation of Rowling’s final Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” is set to be released in two installments — November 2010 and July 2011.

And now, Sasha and Malia find themselves in the rare position of being able to offer film spoilers to their Potter-obsessed friends.

After all the excitement in Europe, Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama returned to the White House on Thursday along with Mrs. Obama's mother. The president had returned to Washington on Sunday while the rest of his family stayed behind to tour and have fun.  This story contains information from The Associated Press.