Sarkozy’s Child – Don’t Rock the Cradle!

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It's finally out! The news that France was expecting but was never told of officially

We now know the name of the new Sarkozy/Bruni baby. It’s Giulia. Or it could be Julia. The pronunciation is right but the spelling will depend on whether he (the Hungarian) or she (the Italian) will prevail. Personally, my money’s on Julia, but the entire affair has been tightly controlled and stage-managed to the extent that the hungry public are kept guessing right up until the final minutes.

One of the last interviews that Carla Bruni gave to the media was not to a French outlet but to the BBC World Service. In it, she says of her pregnancy: “There’s not a lot to say – there are loads of women who are expecting babies, it’s not interesting for the French public.”

That she might consider her pregnancy of little or no interest to the French public might seem strange if not extraordinary, but such a pronouncement has been in keeping with how the Elysée Palace has handled the impending arrival of the presidential progeny from Day 1.

The whole messy business of how Nicolas jettisoned the ex-wife and brought a younger model on board once he had secured his presidency resulted in a very sharp drop in popularity. The experience apparently left Sarkozy with a determination not to trust the media any more with aspects of his private life.

Thus, official lips were tightly sealed while the rumour mill went into confused overdrive. The first hint in the French press was back in April, when the weekly “people” magazine VSD spoke of a source close to the presidential couple “confirming” some exciting news, without going into any more detail. On the second of May, Carla Bruni was asked by a reporter from Le Parisien if she was with child. “My lips are sealed to a certain extent. Not by arrogance or by secret but to protect something and to protect all the work that he (Nicolas Sarkozy) has done.”

It seemed that he certainly had been busy, but she just wasn’t telling. Exchanges in this vein continued for a while. On the 15th of May, TF1 one-o’clock-news presenter Jean-Pierre Pernault said on live television: “I know that you hate people talking about your private life, but I just wanted to congratulate you.” “I congratulate you too,” came the reply from a smiling Ms Bruni. Touché.

It was left to the German populist publication Bild to finally come out with any sort of definitive statement from any member of the extended family. Nicolas Sarkozy’s father (with whom he has never had a particularly close relationship) Pal Sarkozy said that he was “delighted at the arrival of my grandson.” He even went into greater detail than anyone had gone before, revealing that the future parents “don’t want to know the gender of the child beforehand but I am sure that it will be a girl and that she will be as beautiful as Carla.”

There’s still no word from the happy couple, even though by now all of France knows the story. Still without speaking publicly about the pregnancy, Carla even stops to pose for photographers at the G8 Summit in Deauville at the end of May, where her round belly is clearly visible. A photographic article in Elle follows but even the editor cannot help remarking at the First Lady’s reticence in talking about the obvious.

Interviews with local papers in the South of France (where they holiday in the summer at the official mini-island residence of Brégançon Fort) follow, as well as paparazzi snaps showing Carla in a two-piece swimsuit and a clear bump. The photos get worldwide coverage but the presidential lips are still sealed.

On the 17th of September, the couple announce that there will be more interviews from them. It seems that the time has come for a change of communication policy. The same day, during a walkabout in Paris, Carla reveals that “can’t take any more… I have stay sitting or lying down most of the time. No more smoking, drinking wine. I can’t wait until it’s over.”

Finally, on October 1st, with only two weeks to go before the birth of the President’s child, Carla Bruni gives a long interview with Madame Figaro. “This last few months, she has chosen discretion,” announces the magazine. “For Madame Figaro, Carla tells all.” Carla explains, in the interview, that “I think that the instinct for survival as well as the desire to have a child have both manifested themselves.”

Nine months and many rumours and cryptic pronouncements later, a baby is born to President Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni. The Elysée Palace issues a statement. It is the first official acknowledgement of the pregnancy and of the child.

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