Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Mitterand’s Funeral

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Mitterand’s wife Danielle stands on the  left, his mistress Anne Pingeot (second from right) and illegitimate daughter Mazarine (third from right)

François Mitterrand served as the President of France from 1981 to 1995, the first left-wing head of state since 1957. He also holds the record of the longest-serving (almost 14 years) President of France. At his funeral in 1996, his wife Danielle and his long term mistress Anne Pingeot  stood side-by-side at the grave, accompanied by their respective offspring. Although the press made no comment, the existence of his daughter by Anne, Mazarine, was revealed by the popular magazine Paris-Match in 1994, just months before he left office. Mitterrand concealed the fact for years.

Photographer Nan Goldin chose the photo above, by Laurent Rebours as a favorite when asked by American Photo for their 20th century special issue in 1999: “I was impressed by this picture being widely published as it respected the reality of a man’s intimate relationships regardless of his position of power. The difference in Europe is that there is so much less hypocrisy and moral judgment about sexual and love relationships. I was moved by the fact that the grief of both his wife and his mistress at his funeral was acknowledged publicly. This is in sharp contrast to the absurd moral play enacted in the Clinton witch trials in the U.S.”

For more details on private life of French politicians, see Sexus Politicus (Dubois, Deloire), whose premise is that in France, a successful politician is also a seductive politician. Prime Minister Edgar Faure enthused when he gained the lofty title ‘President of the Council’, “When I was a minister, some women resisted me. Once I became president, not even one.” President from 1895 to 1899, Félix Faure (not a relation) died in the bed of his mistress. De Gaulle was the only post-World War II French leader to maintain a strict military discipline over his personal life. Giscard d’Estaing claimed he had as many mistresses as the salons of Paris, and noted, “When I was president of the republic, I was in love with 17 million French women. When I saw them in the crowd, they felt it and then they voted for me.”


Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

October 16, 2009 at 7:55 am

11 Responses

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  1. […] found on https://iconicphotos.wordpress.com after a Google Images […]

  2. […] Francois Mitterrand Mitterrand was the 5th republic’s only Socialist president. I really have no idea of the significance of that fact and neither do the French since they’re all socialist anyway. Mitterrand cheated on his wife consistently, but discreetly, until he died and his second family also showed up at the funeral. Awwwwwkwaaardd. […]

    • not treue that they are all socialists…when u say “cheated” you sound like you are not capable at all to “Cheat” someone or that you have never done it in your life, however you are not perfect, but you sound like you are..and that reflects the notorious “self-righteousness of the USA..

      victor morgado

      October 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm

  3. […] had both his wife and long-time mistress present, along with his illegitimate daughter. Of course, neither seemed particularly thrilled about the arraignment. Sorry: […]

  4. […] adopt the kind of sophisticated understanding that’s OK with the fact that Mitterand’s wife and mistress stood together at his funeral, it’s because we conclude that voting that way is good for us, that politicians aren’t […]

  5. I do not know whether it’s just me or if everybody else encountering problems with your blog. It appears as though some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had this happen before.


    May 10, 2013 at 12:03 am

  6. Vermin, murderer, man without honour. He allowed his minister of defence to take the blame when he personally authorised an act of war against the friendly country, New Zealand, in the attack on Rainbow Warrior. British government showed cowardice by not insisting that the agents responsible did not serve the full terms for which they had been convicted. UK could have been helpful for relatives of the convicted by imprisoning in HM British institutions such as Holloway and Wormwood Scrubs.

    Geoff Cole

    October 7, 2013 at 6:33 pm

  7. […] 1998. Några veckor innan sin begravning (där hans hustru och hans älskarinna sörjde sida vid sida) samlade han sina nära vänner och familjemedlemmar för en sista måltid. Det serverades […]

  8. […] An image from a blustery January 1996 afternoon, when Mitterrand’s two families stood around the former president’s flag-draped coffin, is seared in the French public’s memory. […]

  9. […] might be a cultural difference thing.  France did once have the funeral of its president attended by both his wife and his mistress.  So maybe this kind of behavior just isn’t as frowned upon there as […]

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