World: Reigning Beauties

Thinking perhaps of such hapless compatriots as Joan of Arc and Marie Antoinette, Alphonse Lamartine, the 19th century French poet, declared: "Women are very frequently heroic, but seldom statesmanlike." Today, more than ever, given charm, taste, tact—and looks—the wife of a ruler can be statesmanlike simply by being a woman. In the color pages that follow, TIME surveys a new and lively generation of First Ladies who are adding style and spirit to statecraft from Abidjan to Washington. Whether entertaining at home or making the foreign rounds with their husbands, the reigning beauties...

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