“There was a widely reported ceremony at Verdun last week. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, exactly 90 years since the end of the First World War, the crowd, led by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, fell silent in commemoration,” wrote Charles Moore in The Spectator 22 November, 2008.
“Except that it didn’t, because President Sarkozy and his wife Carla were 13 minutes late.
“The two-minute silence was delayed for their convenience,” he adds. “You have only to imagine the utter impossibility of the Queen being late for such an event to see what a strange, high-handed thing it was.
“But the ‘hyper-President’ seems to have attracted no more than a bit of muted tut-tutting. I sometimes wonder if Sarkozy, who is always rushing around and shouting into his mobile phone, might be the first head of state literally to have been driven mad by modern technology and its accompanying illusion that constant, frenetic work gets good results.“
It speaks well for the American way of doing things that one of the first acts of President-elect Obama’s officials has been to confiscate his BlackBerry,” he concludes.
Mr.Sarkozy can hardly be expected to behave as impeccably as The Queen.
After all he is a politician. I mean that in the nicest possible way.
But wherever he goes, everyone knows that he has on his mind such matters as opinion polling, party support, and re-election.
That is how presidents, vice presidents, governors and lieutenant governors think in a politicians’ republic. Why anyone would want even more politicians, is beyond most people, although it of course appeals to the political class.
By way of contrast The Queen is guided by a strong sense of service, and not at all on whether she will be re-elected.
Of course some politicians also have a sense of service, but even when it is strong, it is necessarily accompanied by all sorts of political considerations.
…Mr. Sarkozy presents….
Incidentally Mr Sarkozy should perhaps thank The Queen for his recent marriage. It seems he married Ms Carla Bruni in anticipation of their state visit this year to London.
But The Queen would hardly have put a condition on whom he could arrive with. It was his own decision.
It was no doubt the President’s good sense that persuaded him that while the French could not care less whether he had a mistress, they would not have been pleased had she been paraded as if she were his wife.
They would have seen French prestige and standing lowered. Indeed they would have feared that many among their traditional enemy, the British, would have laughed at France, and have been delighted to do so.
Of course sections of the British press did try to embarrass the President with photographs of his wife. But those newspapers are held in contempt by the greater part of the public, often including the very people who buy them.
In any event any fears the French presidential party may have had about the reaction of the British was forgotten after the warm reception to them from the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Heathrow.
The Prince and the Duchess then took the visitors to Windsor Castle where they were guests of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
According to Andrew Piece in the London Sunday Telegraph, the Duke showed the couple to their bedroom which he had explained had been the same room where his mother and grandmother had been born.
Despite the imposing surroundings, the couple had felt at ease at all times because of the kindness of the Royal Family, he reported.
Mme Bruni-Sarkozy said that the "exquisite" Queen was everything she had ever imagined a monarch would be.
"Her intelligence, her perfect French – and she looked so well," said Mme Bruni-Sarkozy. “The President, at one point, had asked the Queen if she ever felt tired.
The Queen, in faultless French, replied that while she often did, she would never let it show,” reported Mr. Pierce.
In an interview, Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy, whose style and dress sense were very well received in France and Britain, said that despite her initial misgivings before she arrived, she loved the British for their "eccentric" and traditional behaviour.