The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

October 29, 2016

October 29, 1924

The funeral of Francois Mitterrand, (October 26, 1916 to January 8, 1996), President of the French Republic, (1981–95), was newsworthy outside France not just because a European leader had died. The grace and generosity with which his widow Danielle Mitterrand (October 29, 1924 to November 22,  2011) made a prominent place for her husband's mistress and the daughter he fathered with her, at the event, was discussed.

The Independent said:

...the most memorable image - at least in Britain - of last Thursday's funeral was the discreet shot of Mitterrand's mistress Anne Pingeot and their 20- year-old daughter, Mazarine, standing side by side in silent farewell.....

For wealthy and powerful Frenchmen, keeping a mistress is more than a tradition. It is an obligation.

The Catholic tradition, and the vanguard of inheritance and marital laws that are tied to property, make formal divorce more difficult in France. The French solution, which is cheaper, is to keep both wife and mistress. And to respect them.

Besides a long tradition, there is also a structure to these liaisons. And a language. Only the copines d'une nuit are dispensable. In a long- term partnership, a mistress like Anne Pingeot will be known as the maitresse en titre. Among businessmen, she may well be a key figure in the business. Anyone issuing social invitations will make discreet enquiries as to which partner will attend, wife or mistress. There is no stigma attached in being a mistress, nor pity for his cuckolded wife. Even illegitimate children, like Mazarine, whose long nose marks her out unmistakably as Mitterrand's child, are described with the blameless phrase
, enfants naturels.

There is nothing gracious about Getty's truculent attitude toward photos they claim to own.   
So you can click this link to see Danielle Mitterrand and a cat. Both lovely.

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