Saturday 21 April 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Tweet at the centre of a 'Dallas in Elysee' drama

Complicated past domestic affairs have left France's new first lady at odds with another high-profile woman, says Ruth Dudley Edwards

WHEN I'm returning to a topic, I usually check what I said last time lest I repeat myself. So I looked back at my April article about the French presidential election and see I ended it with: "What is new is that a country that has always frowned on invasions of privacy is now riveted by the sex lives of its leading politicians."

The drama of Nicolas Sarkozy and his third wife, the exotic multi-millionairess ex-supermodel Carla Bruni, was pretty exciting by non-French standards, and it isn't over yet. As they left the Elysee Palace for the slightly more modest confines of her Parisian mansion, Carla furiously blamed left-wing journalists for his defeat. She won't be pleased that with the appointment of ex-prime minister Laurent Fabius as foreign minister, there has been much happy gossip about Carla's and Laurent's brief "passionate" (French affairs are always passionate) affair in the early Noughties. Of course, Carla was a socialist then: her conversion to conservatism came with her marriage.

However, the ructions between Segolene Royal and Valerie Trierweiler, the ladies in the life of the new president, Francois Hollande, have driven Carla out of the news for now. Francois lived with another socialist politician, Segolene Royal, for 30 years and they had four children; marriage was too bourgeois for them.

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