Tuesday, May 24, 2011

FRANCE - In the land of Carmagnola, Kate and William are kings

For a country so proud of its fiber Republican, France has a history of the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The ceremony - the first celebration since the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 - has once again remind their stormy relations with French royalty, he still remains in this state became secular.

Since the banns were published in November, the press has widely reported the event. Magazine Viewpoint has barely interested in anything else. While his weekly broadcast usually around 200 000 copies, its editor, Colombe Pringle, sell 750,000 account for the special issue dedicated to the ceremony.

Other magazines like Paris Match, also publish special editions to mark the event. One of the most popular dailies, Le Figaro, published a special issue of 79 pages titled So British. On television, three main channels - TF1, France 2 and M6 - will broadcast the ceremony live. As in many other countries, derived objects and souvenirs of all kinds are selling like hotcakes.

Ruth Thibaudière, deputy director of the Paris bookstore WH Smith, where there are books, newspapers and British food, announced a turnover three times larger than that recorded in the same period last year thanks largely to sales of mugs, plates, key chains, bookmarks and other items bearing the image of marriage.

A lot of French customers are "amazed to see how the fallout from the event are important," she explains. Even if they can not always explain, many French hold a certain fascination with their neighbors across the Channel. "We have always had special relations with the British," observed Bruno Jeanbart, director of OpinionWay, a market research company based in Paris.

"In the twentieth century, Germany was considered the enemy. But perhaps our real enemies are they English? There has always been a sort of rivalry between our two countries. "While many French like their cousins taunt across the Channel for their culinary deficiencies, poor climate and their bizarre ways, the mere fact that 300 000-400 000 d them live in London gives a different representation of reality (the number of Britons living in France is about 200 000).

According to a poll published in Le Figaro last week, 95% of French expatriates would be delighted live in the British capital. But beyond this love-hate relationship it has with Britain, France experiences mixed feelings towards the monarchy, secularism and their relationship with politics.

"France has always shown a particular interest in the royalty," said Mr. Jeanbart. In December 2008, authentication by a team of scientists a head balmy as that of Henri IV, the first king of the line of Bourbon, has aroused great interest among the public, resulting in articles in the press and made a buzz on the Internet.

For some, this interest stems from a nostalgia for lost traditions and perhaps even a sense of guilt, after the French rejected the monarchy and beheaded Louis XVI in 1793. Even if it is marginal, there remains a royalist movement that aspires to a strong France, and pure conservative, rooted in the ground and resting on the pillars of the Catholic Church and the army.

The French monarchy may well have long since disappeared, there remain vestiges. In many ways, French society remains hierarchical positions of responsibility within government and in business back often graduates of the most prestigious schools. And the policy has retained a monarchical style.

"We are always looking for a true leader, someone who governs us from the center. Before, it was the king, then we had the Emperor, and now the president, "said Mr. Jeanbart." Since the beginning of the Fifth Republic, we have kind of a king elected, "added he said, referring to the constitutional changes introduced by General de Gaulle in 1958.

This sense of regal presidency has been personified by directors like François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac. But the incumbent President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is accused of trampling feet to the tradition and is considered a "king of bling bling", which tastes rich and has a new place everywhere in the media.

Perhaps hurt by the criticism, Sarkozy himself compared to his predecessors * lazy kings who ruled France softly in the past. But there is another view of things, that the recent fascination for the French monarchy was in fact a media creation. Maurice Szafran, writer and director of the magazine Marianne, is of the opinion.

"It may be that our press is more passionate about this whole story that the French," he said on the radio. "We'll know over the coming weeks."

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