Segolene Royal--a Breath of Fresh Air in France and the Newest, Hottest Prime Minister

Yulia Tymoshenko, The Hottest Prime Minister(Now resigned.)

Yulia Tymoshenko

Sarkozy weds Carla Bruni


French Leader and Ex-Model Wed in Quiet Ceremony Ben Curtis/Associated Press

Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy in Cairo in December. Their very public courtship struck some of the French as distasteful, and it created protocol problems when the two traveled together.y ELAINE SCIOLINO Published: February 3, 2008

PARIS - She has called herself "a tamer of men" and described monogamy as boring.

The French President's Lover (January 13, 2008)

A Politically Dangerous Liaison for France's President (January 8, 2008)

Disneyland Date Has Sarkozy in the Limelight (December 18, 2007)

But on Saturday morning, only three months after their first meeting, the super-model-turned-pop-singer Carla Bruni and the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, were married in a small, 20-minute civil ceremony at the Élysée Palace.

Official confirmation came initially not from the Élysée but from the mayor of the Eighth Arrondissement, who officiated at the ceremony; the presidential palace is in that district.

"I married two voters of the Eighth Arrondissement district who live at 55 Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré!" Mayor François Lebel told Europe 1 radio, giving the Élysée's address.

Clearly enjoying his sudden celebrity, Mr. Lebel added: "The bride was in white. She was ravishing as usual. But the bridegroom wasn't bad either."

About 20 family members and close friends witnessed the ceremony, which Mr. Lebel described later in a telephone interview as "intimate, warm and familial."

"The newlyweds were visibly emotional and in love," he said. "They kissed after their exchange of vows."

Marisa Borini, the bride's mother, was less gushy. "They got married this morning at the Élysée," she said in a brief telephone conversation in Italian. Asked to describe the scene, she said she was busy and hung up.

It was several hours before the Élysée issued a one-sentence statement confirming the wedding. "Ms. Carla Bruni Tedeschi and Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy would like to announce that they were married this morning in the presence of their families and in the utmost privacy," it said.

Nicolas Bazire, who leads the private investment company of the French billionaire Bernard Arnault, and Mathilde Agostinelli, director of communications for Prada France (and a close friend of Mr. Sarkozy's second wife, Cécilia), were the witnesses for Mr. Sarkozy, Mr. Lebel said on French television. The actresses Farida Khelfa and Marine Delterme were witnesses for Ms. Bruni.

In the last two months, Mr. Sarkozy's popularity has dropped precipitously, both because of his failure to revive France's ailing economy and what has been called the "Carla effect."

The exceptionally tolerant French did not seem bothered that Mr. Sarkozy's 11-year marriage ended in divorce in October, after his wife left him. But his very public relationship with Ms. Bruni, an Italian-born heiress who has been linked romantically with a variety of men - from Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton to former Prime Minister Laurent Fabius - struck many of the French as lacking taste.

So did their exchange of about $125,000 worth of presents at Christmas.

Foreign publications have reveled in digging up photos of Ms. Bruni, 40, in various levels of undress, and posting them on the Internet.

However, the marriage will end the protocol nightmare that resulted from the couple's love affair and is likely to be embraced by the romantic French.

"It's better to have a companion to whom you can tell everything," the former first lady Bernadette Chirac told RTL radio.

Asked whether the event would upset life at the Élysée, she replied: "I don't know, but it doesn't stun me. I find it very joyful! A marriage at the Élysée is marvelous!"

World events intruded on the day of celebration. As rebels penetrated the capital of Chad, a former French colony, Mr. Sarkozy held a crisis meeting at the Élysée and spoke by telephone with Chad's president.

The twice-divorced Mr. Sarkozy, who just turned 53, is only the second president to be married while in office. Gaston Doumergue, a lawyer, Protestant and the son of a winemaker, was single when he was elected president in 1924. Twelve days before he left office in 1931, he married his childhood sweetheart.

Meanwhile, Cécilia Sarkozy remains in the news as the subject of three recent books.

One of them, "Ruptures," by two French journalists, details her role in the release from Libya of foreign health care workers who had been imprisoned on charges of infecting children with the virus that causes AIDS.

The authors described her as the "James Bond girl from Neuilly," the upscale Paris suburb where the Sarkozys had an apartment.

When underlings of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, resisted his orders to free the prisoners, they wrote, she ordered her bodyguards to shoot open the cell locks with their handguns.

Maia de la Baume and Basil Katz contributed reporting.

Simone de Beauvoir, respected for her beauty as well as her brains

In Her New Book, Segolene Sticks a Knife Into Her Ex-lover, Blaming Him For Her Defeat

Segolene Royal in her just published book rips fellow Socialists and her former partner Francois Hollande for failing to support her election campaign. She vowes to run again and defeat Sarkozy in the next election in 2012.

Here's a link to a Times Online story on Royal's book introduction.

Segolene and Mate, Francois Hollande, Split

Split of Segolene Royale and her mate, Francois Hollande, likely to complicate life for France's Socialist Party. Reportedly Ms. Royal said the coupls's 25year relationship ended because of Hollande's infidelity.

Waiting for Sarkozy

Can Sarkozy and the next American president reverse the damage of the Bush administration? article by Gregory Levey.

Sarkozy Appoints Liberal as Top Diplomat

Bernard Kouchner a not very diplomatic liberal appointed as France's top diplomat by Sarkozy.

SEGOLENE ROYAL Defeated by Nicolas Sarkozy

SEGOLENE v. SARKOZY in the Run-off

Preliminary results indicate that Nicholas Sarkozy received about 29 percent of the votes and Segolene Royal approximately 26 percent. CentristFrancois Bayrou was third with 18 percent, and he may hold the key to a Royal victory if an alliance can be arranged. Turnout in the primary was high--84 percent of eligible voters. Here is the NY Times report 4/22 pm reportL

Royal Gains on Sarkozy as Vote Nears

This morning's NYTimes reports that a recent poll put Segolene Royal only one point behind Nicholas Sarkozy, 26 percent to 27 percent. Another put Sarkozy's lead at 28 percent to 23 for Royal.

Segolene Royale Asks for Women's Votes

In the final days of the primary election, Segolene Royal appealed for women to support her candidacy. Some women in her party criticize this tactic. Here's the latest on the election from the NYTimes, April 19,2007:

Segolene Royal Courts the Suburban Immigrant Vote

Recently Segolene Royal has been campaigning in the Paris suburbs for the immigrant vote, the people her opponent called "scum" last year on the occasion of the riots.

Immigrant Issues Affect French Election 3-30-07

As the first round of the election approaches in three weeks immigration issues have become an increasingly important factor with the positions among the major candidates ranging from Sarkozy's proposal for a "ministry of immigration and national identity" on the right to Royal's and Bayrou's emphasis on employment and assimilation of immigrants. Both have criticized Sarkozy's proposal Two years ago Sarkozy's promise to rid French North African and Muslim suburbs of "scum" touched off days of rioting. Here's the latest from the NY Times on the upcoming election.

It's hard to get a bad picture of Madame Royale

Segolene's Opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy

The leading candidate for President of France is Segolene Royal, a moderate socialist and quite a looker. If she's elected, she'll join Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile. Women heads of state seem to be increasingly in fashion.


GENDER WAR A LA FRANCAISE SHAKES UP POLITICAL ARENA--Candidate turns her sex into an asset

Segolene Royal is capitalizing on her feminity and winning support, especially among French men. Pardoxically, women are more skeptical. Here's a long article on France's current political phenomenon by Elaine Sciolino in today's NY Times:


Segolene Royal's 5-day swing through the Middle East generates criticism from the right. She stakes out a more middle-of-the-road position on Palestine-Israel than the traditional Arab-leaning French position.

Segolene Royal pays a visit to former French protectorate, Lebanon.

Royal Promises Changes

Segolene and Hillary--future presidents?

Segolene Royal Closer Bikini Photo Controversy

Profile of Segolene Royal by John Thornhill in Arts & Weekend Magazine

Segolene in Beirut
Segolene in Beirut
Segolene Royal
Segolene Royal
Segolene Royal
Segolene Royal


Yulia Tymoshenko, Prime Minister of Ukraine

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile 2006-10
Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile 2006-10
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of Liberia
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of The Philippines
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of The Philippines
Megawati Sukarnoputri, First Woman President of Indonesia
Megawati Sukarnoputri, First Woman President of Indonesia
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland

Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina

Nancy Pelosi, 1st woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd in line for the Presidency
Nancy Pelosi, 1st woman Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd in line for the Presidency

More by this Author


jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 10 years ago from Scotland

we in the uk have a phobia of women prime ministers lol remember maggie the iron lady but ralph you are right she is a looker.....jimmy

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Iðunn 10 years ago

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 10 years ago Author

Jimmy, no comparison between Segolene and Thatcher! Check the last photo I just added.

jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 10 years ago from Scotland

err not wanting to sound sexist or anything lol W-O-W ! lol jimmy

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Iðunn 10 years ago

socialistz are alwayz 'red' hot. ;)

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 10 years ago Author


livelonger profile image

livelonger 10 years ago from San Francisco

a French friend of mine who's a die-hard socialist said he would never vote for her. he said she's "nothing more than an empty shell". it doesn't say much that most news reports talk about her looks rather than her platform.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 10 years ago Author

True. For all the reporting she could be another Paris Hilton or Britney Spears. I do think there is quite a bit of substance to her, however.

livelonger profile image

livelonger 10 years ago from San Francisco

Hopefully, esp if she's one of the front-runners. My friend is hoping for Lang, Jospin or Strauss-Kahn, he tells me.

I can't help but wonder if she wins, after Merkel won in Germany, if that would help or hurt Hillary in 2008...

Frank M 10 years ago

PLEASE don't compare Segolene to Hillary (or, as I like to call her, "Biliary"). There is a vast difference between them; most importantly, Segolene is an actual woman! She wears skirts! Oh, how hungry the American male is for a female leader who isn't afraid to be feminine - who realizes that the way to replace the tired old patriarchy is not by pretending to be a man, but by celebrating being a woman! Biliary, in comparison to Segolene's beguiling charm, is nothing more than a man in drag. I wish we had such a leader here in the US; the French don't know how lucky they are!

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 10 years ago Author

Actually, it was Salon that made the comparison. Would you find Golda Meir or Angela Merkl more apt comparisions? Or perhaps you'd prefer a Paris Hilton or Pamela Anderson? You apprently are just looking for an excuse to bash Hillary. Seems to me there are more important things to worry about in a head of state than femininity or masculinity, such as the candidate's position on domestic and foreign policy issues. Anyway, thanks for your comment!

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 10 years ago Author

Or how about Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile?

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Iðunn 10 years ago

nice shot on comment 11, ralph. glad I rechecked this hub. the smiles are always welcome. : )

cgull8m profile image

cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

Ralph, great post, if she is a qualified person for this job, it doesn't matter whether the president is female or male. Mothers do equally great jobs anyways at home. But they should just don't use the word feminity, just focus on the issues, can you be a good leader or not. There are alreay many females Presidents and leaders, so why not in France.

bverdecc 10 years ago

I think her candidacy has a lot of legs

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 10 years ago Author

Ha! Nice long ones!

9 years ago

Would Ségolène Royal compare better as a Ciccalina(sp?) of France than with Paris or Brittany?

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

None of the above. She's a sericous, well-motivated politician.

thecounterpunch profile image

thecounterpunch 9 years ago

Segolene Royal is as Royalist as the Queen of England, I wonder how she can belong to the PEOPLE party :)

Don't be surprised: I'm the perfect Counterpunch.

Jyle Dupuis profile image

Jyle Dupuis 9 years ago from Henrico, Virginia

I was really upset when she lost the running. I guess the Paris riots were not a strong enough indicator for a much needed change in France's social structure.

Plus she looks good.

BigMumu profile image

BigMumu 9 years ago

People that voted for her did to avoid Sarko president not because they like her & I think also people that voted for Sarko were unable to find a better choice, Sarko might be racist but Sego is ignorant ..

RLT 9 years ago

That a major first-world country even came CLOSE to electing a busty, leggy woman who doesn't mind being seen in skimpy bikinis speaks volumes to the slow death of sexism in Europe. Plus, she has a coherent philosophy. Here's hoping that she gets at least SOME influence in French governments to come.

Clive 9 years ago

What puts the US and the UK to shame was the voter turn out of around 80%!

Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 9 years ago from Around the USA

She certainly doesn't fit into the standard politician mold, does she?

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 9 years ago Author

Nope. Too bad she didn't win.

Teeny Tots profile image

Teeny Tots 8 years ago from USA

Wow! Great hub

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago Author

Yulia Tymoshenko, prime minister of Ukraine, has taken the lead as the most beautiful woman head of state!

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 8 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Damn. The US came *this close* to making the finals with our own Caribou Barbie VP. Maybe in 2012:-)

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago Author

Ha! Very true. Except she doesn't have the brains or at least she doesn't have the education.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

They are heads of state and heads of household, angry protesters in the city square and sly iconoclasts in remote villages. With a fiery new energy, women are building schools, starting businesses, fighting corruption, harnessing new technologies and breaking down old prejudices. Whenever a woman or girl gains control of her destiny, the local standard of living goes up and the values of human rights spread. So this year, and every year, Newsweek and The Daily Beast will honor local heroes, and the growing network of powerful women who support their efforts. Plus, read more about the Women in the World conference.

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