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Posts Tagged ‘biographies of political wives’

Dodi Al Fayed looks over Princess Diana’s shoulder just minutes before the two of them will die in a Paris tunnel.

Keith Allen, the director of the controversial film, “Unlawful Killing,” is interviewed today by the UK Daily Mail regarding his decision to include in the “documentary” a previously unseen and graphic black and white photo of Princess Diana as she lay dying August 31, 1997.  The photo was probably sold by one of the paparazzi in the Paris tunnel with her at the time of her fatal car crash. (1)

“Unlawful Killing” debuts tomorrow at the Cannes Film Festival. Allen defends his tasteless use of the disturbing photo of the much beloved princess on the heels of the Royal Wedding:

The photo is not used in the film for the purpose of shock. It is included as evidence, because it shows clearly that, although Diana had been injured in the crash, she was alert and very much alive. I repeat: it is not a picture of a dying woman.

As medical evidence presented at the inquest confirmed, if Diana had been taken promptly to hospital by Dr Jean-Marc Martino, she could well have survived.

Instead, due to a series of delays that have never been properly explained, it took one hour and 43 minutes to get her to a hospital just a couple of miles away, by which time her life was ebbing away.

We briefly use one photograph as part of a sequence which asks: why was she not taken to hospital more quickly? What took place within Dr Martino’s ambulance (inside which she remained for well over an hour)? Why is Dr Martino’s evidence greatly at variance with the known facts? And why did no official inquiry ever interview (or even name) most of other people in the ambulance?

Surely, if the inquest and police enquiries were as ‘thorough’ and ‘open’ as the voices of authority insist, that is the very least they would have done?

My film is not about a conspiracy before the crash, but about a conspiracy after the crash, culminating in a six-month inquest which (it is my contention) sought to bury the truth, rather than reveal it. I don’t know whether I’ll convince you or not, but I hope you’ll reserve judgement until you have seen it for yourselves.

Admittedly, that’s difficult at the moment, because the film cannot be shown in the UK (mainly because the questions it asks about the conduct of the coroner and police chiefs could lead to us all being imprisoned under contempt of court laws). But it will soon be showing widely throughout the world, so many of you will be able to see it elsewhere.” (2)

Allen admits that “Unlawful Killing” is backed by Mohamed Al Fayed, the former owner of Harrods Department Store in London.  Al Fayed is the  father of  Dodi Fayed, Diana’s lover, who also died in the Paris crash.

Summer 1997: Dodi Al Fayed and Princess Diana

Mohamed Al Fayed is convinced that Dodi and Diana were murdered by a collaboration between the British spy agency M16 and Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip.

Mohamed Al Fayed has pursued his elaborate conspiracy theory for over a decade, memorably presenting it at an official British inquest into the deaths of Dodi and Diana. (3) However, on April 7, 2008, the jury released an official statement that sharply dismissed Al Fayed’s claim:

Diana and Dodi were unlawfully killed by the grossly negligent driving of chauffeur Henri Paul and the paparazzi. Though the official verdict implicated the pursuing vehicles, the jury also named the intoxication of the driver and the victims’ decisions to not wear seat-belts as contributing factors to their deaths. Additionally, the Mercedes had been travelling at over twice the legal speed limit of that particular section of road and had long since left the paparazzi vehicles far behind by the time the accident occurred.” (4)

Princess Diana (1961-1997). Mohamed Al Fayed created many myths about his son Dodi and Princess Diana’s romance, particularly that they were getting ready to announce their wedding plans. He even went so far as to claim that Diana was pregnant at the time of her death. The British inquest into Diana’s death concluded that she was not pregnant at the end.

(1) The Daily Mail

(2) The Daily Mail

(3)The New York Times

(4) Wiki

Readers: Check out “Diana’s Death Photos Leaked, Part 1 “The Shrine at Harrods,” and other posts on the British Royal Family on this blog.

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Newspapers chronicle the August 31, 1997 Paris car crash that killed Princess Diana.

“A shocking paparazzi photo of a dying Princess Diana could be shown for the first time on Friday in a documentary at the Cannes Film Festival.

The 90-minute documentary about her fatal car accident, called “Unlawful Killing,” includes a graphic, black-and-white close-up of the princess taken moments after the Mercedes she was riding in crashed in a Paris underpass.

One of the movie’s financial backers is former Harrods department store owner Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the car with Diana.

British media report that he didn’t know the image of Diana’s face would be included in the movie and plans to stop it from being shown.”

This photo released in 2008 shows Princess Diana in the backseat of the Mercedes roaring away from the Paris Ritz before the fatal accident. Diana glances back at the pursuing paparrazzi. Dodi Al Fayed sits next to her. In front of Al Fayed is the driver, Henri Paul. Seated also upfront is Al Fayed's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones (The Daily Mail)

For details and photos of the 1997 crash, click here.

Now Read: Princess Diana: Death Photo Leaked, Part  2

Readers: I have written many posts on Princess Diana and the British Royal Family. For more background on Diana’s death, please read, “The Shrine at  Harrod’s.” For other posts on the British Royal Family, click here.

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Jackie Kennedy wears the famous pink suit in this 1962 photo. She is looking at plans for Lafayette Square.

President John F. Kennedy looked out the window of his Fort Worth, Texas, hotel suite. The November sky was dark and threatening. It looked like rain. Forecasters predicted cool weather. The president advised his wife Jackie to dress warmly for the long and demanding day and personally selected her oufit. He chose a pink wool suit with three-quarter-length sleeves and a blue underblouse. To it, Jackie added a pink pillbox hat and white gloves.   

Jackie, 34,  had worn the suit before – she called its color “raspberry” – and it was one of the president’s favorites.  He had told mutual friend Susan Mary Alsop that Jackie, his wife of ten years, looked “ravishing in it.” (1)   

President and Mrs. Kennedy at the White House, October 1962. Jackie Kennedy is wearing the pink wool Chez Ninon she wore in Dallas, November 22, 1963

Jacqueline Kennedy‘s pink suit was made in 1961 by the New York dress salon, Chez Ninon. It was a copy of a Chanel pink boucle wool suit trimmed with a navy blue collar. (1)   

   

Jackie Kennedy was a style icon. People noticed what she wore. Kennedy critics were quick to pounce when Jackie wore Paris fashions. Jack urged his wife to buy American and she did. Such a move was both financially and politically savvy. The Chez Ninon knockoff cost between $800 and $1,000 compared to over $10,000 for a custom-made Chanel suit.  Plus, he and Jackie were in Texas with Vice President Lyndon Johnson and wife Lady Bird to officially kick off their 1964 presidential campaign. They had to minimize the fallout from Jackie’s expensive French taste.   

Jackie’s pink suit was a hit at the Fort Worth breakfast that morning. The president beamed at the attention she drew, noting that “nobody notices what Lyndon and I wear.” A short plane ride later, they were disembarking at Dallas Love Field to a promising reception. Jackie was presented red roses.   

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.

The sun had come out and the day had become unseasonably warm. The Kennedys climbed into the back seat of the presidential limousine to begin the winding 11-mile route through downtown Dallas where the president was to speak at a Trade Mart luncheon. Texas Governor John Connally and wife Nellie got into the jumpseat in front of the Kennedys and behind the driver and two Secret Service agents.   

The presidential limo was a midnight blue 1961 Lincoln that had been flown in from Washington, D.C. Because the weather was so nice, the plastic bubble top had been removed and the bullet-proof side windows were rolled down. This is how President Kennedy preferred to ride. At 11:50 a.m., the 12-car motorcade with its motorcycle escort and Secret Service attendants left the airport “on its rendevous with fate.” It was November 22, 1963. (2)   

The crowds lined the parade route so thickly that the motorcade moved at a crawl of only 6-7 miles an hour. The president clearly loved the warm Texas welcome, smiling and waving at all the friendly faces.   

JFK and Jackie ride in the presidential limo through the streets of Dallas, November 22, 1963. Texas Governor John Connally sits up front.

The temperature was 76 degrees. The sun was blindingly hot. Jackie was wearing wool.  She shielded her eyes from the big Texas sun with her trademark sunglasses.   

The people shouted, “Jack, Jackie!” recalled Nellie Connally. “They seemed to want her as much as they wanted him.” She could hear Jack say to Jackie,” Take your glasses off….When you’re riding in a car like this, in a parade, if you have your dark glasses on, you might as well have stayed at home.”

November 22, 1963: Up front, Texas Governor John Connally and wife Nellie ride with the President and Mrs. Kennedy through downtown Dallas.

Nellie Connally smiled to know that Texans were treating their president with such courtesy. She turned to him and said,   

Mr. President, you can’t say that Dallas doesn’t love you.” (3)

Thirty seconds later, at 12:30 p.m., three shots rang out. The 35th President of the United States was shot. As the car sped toward Parkland Hospital, Kennedy slumped in his wife’s lap, his blood and brain fragments staining her pink wool suit, gloves, stockings.  Jackie crawled out the back of the limo for help from the Secret Service riding in the car behind them.

In an image from the Zapruder film, a fatally-wounded President Kennedy slumps over as Secret Service agent Clint Hill leaps onto the president’s car and pushes Jacqueline Kennedy back.

At the hospital, the doctors worked feverishly to save the president but it was futile. President Kennedy was declared dead, his once vital body loaded limply into a coffin. Jackie accompanied his body to Dallas Love Field where it was loaded onto Air Force One to be flown to Washington.

In her bedroom on board the plane, Jackie’s personal assistant had laid out a fresh outfit for the First Lady. Despite urging from staffers and handlers to “clean up her appearance,” Jackie  refused to get out of her bloodied clothes. She shook her head hard:

No, let them see what they’ve done.”  

Just hours after her husband's assassination, widow Jackie Kennedy stands next to Lyndon Johnson on Air Force One as he is sworn in as the 36th President of the United States. Although her personal assistant laid out a fresh change of clothes on her bed aboard the plane, Jackie refused to change out of her blood-spattered clothing. Also aboard Air Force One was the casket carrying the body of President John F. Kennedy, age 46.

Somehow, that was one of the most poignant sights,” Mrs. Johnson later wrote, “that immaculate woman exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood.”  

At Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., JFK's brother Attorney General Bobby Kennedy meets Jackie Kennedy when she arrives on Air Force One with the coffin carrying her slain husband's body. Note Jackie's bloodstained suit. Her left leg is caked in blood.

It was not until 5 a.m. the next morning at the White House that Jackie took off the bloodied suit, bathed, and changed outfits. Her mother put the suit in a plastic bag and stored it in her house for many years.   

The suit was never cleaned and never will be. It sits today, unfolded and shielded from light, in an acid-free container in a windowless room somewhere inside the National Archives and Records Administration’s complex in Maryland; the precise location is kept secret. The temperature hovers between 65 and 68 degrees; the humidity is 40 percent; the air is changed six times an hour. (4)  

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of the pink pillbox hat remain a mystery. It has never been found.  Somewhere inside Parkland Hospital, the hat came off.  Jackie’s personal secretary, Mary Gallagher recalls:

While standing there I was handed Jackie’s pillbox hat and couldn’t help noticing the strands of her hair beneath the hat pin. I could almost visualize her yanking it from her head.”

What happened to the hat after that is unknown. Mary Gallagher lost track of it.

(1) Source   

(2) Source   

(3) Source   

(4) Source: The Los Angeles Times, Jan. 30, 2011. 

Readers: For more on Jackie Kennedy, click here.

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Imelda Marcos (b. 1929), “one of the ten richest women in the world” (Cosmopolitan magazine, December, 1975)

In December, 1975, Cosmopolitan magazine named Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Phillippines, as one of the ten richest women in the world. It even went a step further and speculated that Imelda was perhaps the richest woman in the world, richer than Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Everyone knew Imelda was rich; she made sure of that. She had an insatiable desire for expensive things and flaunted them. No one at the time really knew where she got all the money that she spent so impulsively. She was, after all, unemployed and had no independent wealth. In addition, her husband, the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, had made less than $5,000 a year for the last ten years in office.

Nonetheless, there was Imelda, spending $40,000 on a Honolulu shopping spree in 1974, without trying anything on. Her excess knew no limits and she spared herself no luxury:

“Another report had Imelda and a gaggle of friends demanding Bloomingdale’s in New York be closed for a private shopping extravaganza, then marching through the store pointing to desired items and saying, ‘Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.’”(1) She was referred to by one sales clerk as ‘the Mine Girl.’

Imelda Marcos from a Vanity Fair interview, 2007

Imelda Marcos from a Vanity Fair interview, 2007

Responding to criticism of her self-indulgence and the spending of public money for high-profile projects that did nothing to alleviate the poverty of the Filipinos, Imelda remarked that is was her “duty” to be “some kind of light, a star to give [the poor] guidelines.”

By 1981, Imelda’s personal popularity was at an all-time high. She jetsetted around the globe, shopping and hobnobbing with celebrities such as the perennially-tanned American actor George Hamilton.

After having secured the Miss Universe Pageant for the Philippines in 1974 – which necessitated the rapid construction of the 10,000-seat Folks Art Center – Imelda continued to indulge her “edifice complex,” building 14 luxury hotels, a multimillion-dollar Nutrition Center, Convention Center, Heart Center and, in 1981, the infamous Manila Film Center.

Imelda Marcos designed the Manila Film Center after the Greek Parthenon, shown here.

Imelda wanted Manila to rival Cannes as a world film capital. At the cost of $25 million, Imelda approved plans for the Manila Film Center to be built to host an international film festival. Opening night was set for January 18, 1982. The project was grandiose and expensive; the building on Manila Bay was designed to look like the Parthenon.

Delays hampered the progress. As the deadline drew nearer, it required 4,000 workers, working in 3 shifts, around the clock, if the building was going to be ready.

Then, at 3 a.m. on November 17, the upper scaffold collapsed and sent workers falling into wet cement. A witness said that some of the workers were impaled on upright steel bars.

Imelda was contacted about the accident. She was told that the recovery of the bodies would take alot of  time – time, evidently, that Imelda didn’t want to give up. She ordered the construction to continue as planned and that the bodies – maybe as many as 169 – be covered with cement. It is believed that many of those who fell into the cement may have been buried alive.

The full story has never been told, as news crews, rescuers, and ambulance teams were barred from the scene for nine full hours, while the government, under martial law, prepared its official version of events, censoring all news and silencing all witnesses.

Despite all, the festival opened on schedule on January18, 1981, and had among its guests Brooke Shields, Franco Nero, Ben Kingsley, and Robert Duvall. The first film shown in the theater was the tasteful bioepic, “Gandhi.”  Unknowingly, the stars partied atop a mausoleum of dead workers.

Brooke Shields (b. 1965) was only 16 years old when she traveled to Manila for the international film festival as the guest of First Lady Imelda Marcos.

“During opening night, Imelda ‘strode on stage in a Joe Salazar black and emerald green terno with a hemline thick with layer upon layer of peacock feathers.’ “Some said there were diamonds embedded in the skirt.

The next year, as a result of the accident scandal, the government withheld $5 million in festival funding. Imelda was in a fix. She had to pay for the festival somehow, so she ran pornography films in the festival’s second and, understandably, last year.

(1) Klaffke, Pamela. Spree: A Cultural History of Shopping.

Readers: For more on Imelda and Ferdinand Marcos on this blog, click here.   

A close-up of Imelda Marcos looking into a gold-plated compact mirror, her first name encrusted in diamonds. Called the ‘Steel Butterfly,’ Imelda Marcos was the beautiful wife and confidante of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The Marcos regime (1965-86) was marked by notorious corruption, political repression, and financial improprieties of the highest order.

For other resources, click here.

 

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J

Justine Lévy, the French author of "Nothing Serious" (titled "Rien de Grave" in France,) a thinly-veiled fictional account based on Ms. Lévy’s bad encounter with husband-stealer Carla Bruni, whom she calls "The Terminator."

“On Wednesday evening, Sept. 21, 2005, the designer Diane von Furstenberg hosted a cocktail party in honor of Justine Lévy, the author of Nothing Serious (titled Rien de Grave in France), a roman à clef based on Ms. Lévy’s recent, sensational personal life.

Ms. Lévy, 31, is the dewy daughter of the French celebrity-philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, and her book whipped up quite a scandal in France, illuminating certain universal truths about men, women and sex, and even jostling The Da Vinci Code from the best-seller list in the process.

…Ms. Lévy had a rather tragic encounter with the supermodel-cum-chanteuse Carla Bruni—the Angelina Jolie of Europe.

Ms. Lévy was married to a rising philosopher named Raphaël Enthoven, who was the son of her father’s best friend, Jean-Paul. She had a late-term abortion at the insistence of her career-obsessed husband and went through a messy two-year addiction to amphetamines.

That was before Ms. Bruni arrived on the scene. Ms. Bruni had somewhat of a home-wrecking reputation and was credited in the press with causing Mick Jagger’s split from his wife. In 2003, she remade herself into a pop singer and won the 2004 Victoires de la Musique in France.

Carla Bruni sings at the 2004 Victoires de la Musique in France

She was also, at one point, the mistress of Ms. Lévy’s father-in-law. She dumped the father for the son [Raphaël], shattering Ms. Lévy’s Raphaël Enthoven Jr. were married and have a son, Aurélien, born in 2001.]

Carla Bruni, former husband Raphaël Enthoven, and their son, Aurélien, circa 2003-2004

Nothing Serious, …published … by Melville House, is a fictionalized version of this story, with characters thinly disguised through pseudonyms. Of the Ms. Bruni–type character, the book’s femme-bot ‘Paula,’ Ms. Lévy writes:

‘I thought she was beautiful and dangerous with that immobile face, as if sculpted out of wax, when she smiled her bones sort of moved to reveal her teeth …. I thought she was beautiful and bionic, with the look of a killer,”’referring to her as the ‘Terminator.”

…(of Bruni, Lévy said):

 ‘If I see her, I kill her.’ “(1)

(1) Kolhatkar, Sheelah.  “It’s A Chattefight As Novelist Levy Nips Carla Bruni”. The New York Observer, October 2, 2005.

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Italian model Marpessa, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia, Carla Bruni, and Cindy Crawford at a Versace gala, 1992. Photo: Marina Garnier

Back in 1992, Carla Bruni (b. 1967) – First Lady of France, Italian heiress, international supermodel, singer – was romantically linked to Rolling Stones rocker Mick Jagger.

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger

At the time, Jagger was married to supermodel Jerry Hall, who blamed Carla for the breakup of her marriage.

“Hall is said to be so jealous of Bruni that at a rock concert in London this summer she poured a mug of beer on Jean Pigozzi’s head and drove him from the backstage V.I.P. area, accusing him of having entertained Mick and Carla at his Cap d’Antibes compound.” (1)

Nevertheless, when interviewed by Bob Colacello of Vanity Fair that November, Bruni vigorously denied having an affair with Mick, although the press and close friends confirmed the affair.

At the time of the interview, Carla was flying high as an international supermodel, making over a million dollars a year. She had been on the covers of Harpers & Queen, Italian Elle, and Marie Claire, and was seen that month gliding down about 70 runways at the Paris, Milan, and New York ready-to-wear collections.

The video clip below shows Carla Bruni (Sarkozy) on the runway 1991-1995. Fashion designers featured include Dior, Versace, Chanel, Chantal Thomas.

Before Jagger, Bruni had been linked romantically linked to Donald Trump (when married to Marla Maples) and Eric Clapton.

Carla Bruni and Eric Clapton at a benefit for rain forests about 1992.

Clearly, the publicity had not hurt her career, Bruni confessed to Vanity Fair:

“‘A knife has two sides, the good side and the bad side. The good side is that the publicity is going to bring me more work and more money. The bad side is that it hurts….

Maybe I can get a subscription to scandals. Once a year. Every time my modeling rate goes down. Whom am I going to get next year? Hmmm.'”(1)

(1) Colacello, Bob.  “La Dolce Carla.” Vanity Fair, November, 1992.

Readers: For more on Carla Bruni, click here.

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Carla Bruni and Arno Klarsfeld at a 1995 Gianni Versace show.

First Lady of France Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was raised as the daughter of Italian concert pianist Marisa Borini and industrialist and classical composer Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi. However, in a 2008 interview published in Vanity Fair magazine, Bruni-Sarkozy revealed a bombshell: Her biological father is not really Bruni-Tedeschi.

Carla found out about her illegitimate birth in 1996, at age 28, when her legal father, Bruni-Tedeschi, was gravely ill. He summoned Carla to his deathbed and spilled the long-kept secret:  Genetically, he revealed, Carla was not his daughter. Rather, he went on, she is the love child born of an affair his wife conducted for six years with a man half her age. Carla’s biological father is the Italian-born, Brazilian grocery magnate Maurizio Remmert, who, as a young classical guitarist, met Marisa Borini when the two played in a quintet together.

How did Carla react to the news?

 “It was not a shock, and that is how I knew it was true, because I felt calm when he told me that,” says Carla. “I think lies are toxic for children, much more than a bad truth. Sometimes lies, when you are growing up, make you walk in a funny way to adapt. But I felt relieved. Isn’t it strange? I stopped feeling weird.”

Carla Bruni with mother Marisa Borini

Although Bruni-Tedeschi asked her not to tell her mother of their conversation, Carla did anyway, confronting her mother about a year later, after her father’s death. Her mother confirmed the truth, saying:

“What did you expect me to do? Go into the nursery to announce this to you?”

(That should tell us a little bit about Marisa, the mother….)

Carla Bruni's 2 millionnaire dads: Alberto Bruni Tedeschi (left) said on his deathbed that Maurizio Remmert (right) is Carla's real dad.

In 2008, Carla’s biological dad Remmert broke his 40-year silence on the matter and confirmed that he is Carla’s real dad. Remmert lives in São Paulo, where he is a grocery magnate, and Carla is in frequent contact with him. Since learning the painful truth, Carla has been through years of therapy.

Also check out these related posts:

“Carla Bruni Sings at Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert” and “Carla Bruni, Homewrecker?”

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