We often hear about couples marrying in secret but divorce is generally harder to hide. The announcement this week, therefore, that not only had President Sarkozy of France separated from his wife but that they had also divorced, certainly appears to have been something of a surprise, despite repeated reports of a rift in their marriage.
As one might expect, a nation famed for its romantic side and apparently unfazed by a previous President with a love child and another who died in the arms of his lover, is apparently less happy at the notion of divorce which it seems is a first for a modern French President. Whilst it could just be political opportunism, opponents are reported to be muttering that this could affect his psychological stability and, therefore, more than his personal life.
Indeed Nicholas Sarkozy might be well advised to consider his nation’s history books, and in particular the events leading to the founding of modern France, paying heed to the experience of its first Emperor. I seem to recall that Napoleon divorced Josephine in 1810 only to be the subject of a resounding beating by the British at the Battle of Waterloo, five years later. What’s that oft repeated phrase? “History has a habit of repeating itself.”