It is a shattering revelation. In his book titled The Last Secret, to be published on October 6 by Grasset, Solenn de Royer, major reporter at World recounts the little-known relationship that lasted eight years between François Mitterrand and a young woman of 19, named Claire in the book. The latter, who had kept the secret until now, agreed to confide in the journalist. “At first she was totally opposed to the idea of a book, let alone an article in the press. And then she thought about it,” Solenn de Royer explained at Léa Salamé’s microphone on France Inter.
The extra-marital relationship that began in 1988 – when Claire was still a law student and Mitterrand had just been re-elected for a second term – will end with the death of the president in 1996. We discover that she is the young woman. woman who was at the initiative of their romance and whom she regularly invited the president to his small apartment in the rue du Four, in Paris.
He could be possessive, sometimes perverse and cruel. It was a very unequal relationship
Claire is not, moreover, François Mitterrand’s only mistress. “The contract is very clear from the start, he never cheated on her. He never told her ‘I like you’, because it’s a promise he can’t make to her. He tells him : ‘I can’t give you anything, go look elsewhere, live your life’“, explains Solenn de Royer, who portrays a tough man, accustomed to scenes of jealousy. “He could be possessive, sometimes perverse and cruel. It was a very unequal relationship.” But the then President also knew how to be attentive, calling his mistress at least twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Claire has recorded these conversations on dozens of cassettes.
At the time, the young girl went to the Élysée very frequently and even took part in official trips. But how could this relationship remain secret until the end, in 1996? “It’s a book that tells about another era: before the Internet, social networks, cell phones”, recalls Solenn de Royer. “It was a time when the president could stroll with a young girl in his arm on the quays of the Seine, enter a bookstore, dine in a restaurant without being exposed and immediately be photographed”, details the journalist, who points out that, given their age difference, no one could imagine that they were lovers. Despite all the difficulties, Claire only retains today from her relationship with François Mitterrand that “the beautiful moments, the tenderness, the patience and the attention”.
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