France's Segolene Royal ridiculed over 'cleavage and kissing ban'
Former partner of French President Hollande drew up strict code of conduct for staff
Segolene Royal, the former partner of French president Francois Hollande, has been ridiculed for behaving like a monarch after claims emerged that she had banned staff from revealing cleavages and ordered them to stand in her presence.
The report came days after another which alleged she had taken against 'la bise' – the French greeting kiss – instead offering staff the 'Royal' hand.
The 60-year-old Socialist – dubbed France's Iron Lady – has denied the cleavage claim but not a host of other draconian rules reportedly introduced when she moved into the energy ministry last month, following a reshuffle ordered by Mr Hollande who is the father of Ms Royal's four children.
According to a ministry source cited by 'Le Point' magazine, among her first acts after her appointment was to draw up a strict new "code of conduct" for staff.
The most outlandish rule on the list published by 'Le Point' was a blanket "cleavage ban" with all female staff ordered to cover up.
Contacted by the magazine, Ms Royal initially failed to deny the vestimentary clampdown, saying it was an "internal proposal that requires no external comment".
Marisol Touraine, the health minister, said she was "not bothered by low cleavages" in warm weather.
Ms Royal later denied the cleavage ban, saying: "I naturally deny the ridiculous rumour regarding the ban on low cleavages at the ministry!"
She did not, however, deny other orders on the list. (© Daily Telegraph, London)