In a scene that could have leaped from the screen of television’s Mad Men, the spouses of the leaders engaged at that G-8 summit prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sporting understated heels and feminine skirts (Geertrui apparently did not get the memo), the wives pose dutifully—Only Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s baby bump can divert their attention.
No doubt President Sarkozy is happy to showcase his wife’s condition in a news week peppered with tawdry sex scandals and their consequences (Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards . . .). Time has chronicled the feud fomenting between Sarkosy and Strauss-Kahn, pointing out the way in which sex and scandal has figured prominently in French presidential politics. Prior to the most recent scandal, Strauss-Kahn had recovered from a number of minor indiscretions. According to Time, he was determined to “dedicat[e] himself to his increasingly urgent (and much applauded) IMF response to successive economic crises around the wold,” and also to “restore his image as a dedicated husband.” The plan resulted in climbing approval ratings in France, reportedly to the “horror” of Sarkozy supporters.
With Strauss-Kahn’s presidential aspirations now extinguished, Sarkozy no doubt still enjoys showcasing Bruni, but with a new twist — familial bliss. Carla has always been a “trophy wife”—the supermodel-turned-political wife is the most glamorous spouse on the international circuit since Jackie Kennedy. In this photo, in her impeccably stylish white dress, with just a hint of pregnant belly (even her ankles have the good sense not to swell), Bruni figures as an idealized Madonna.
— Karrin Anderson
(photo: Virginia Mayo/Getty Images caption: French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (C) stands with (from L) Maria Barroso, wife of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephan Harper, Geertrui Van Rompuy-Windels, wife of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Svetlana Medvedeva, wife of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pose for a family at the Villa Strassburger on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Deauville, western France, on May 26, 2011.)