France: The Changing Of the Guard

Enter Mitterrand, with a rose and plebeian touch

"You may my glories and my state depose,

But not my griefs; still am I king of those. "

— King Richard II

For sheer theatricality, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's passing from the presidency in France rivaled King Richard II's dethronement in Shakespeare's play. In a carefully staged farewell address to the nation on television last week, the defeated President seemed to concede that, like the deposed monarch, he had not yet "shook off the regal thoughts wherewith I reign'd." Seated at a desk in solitary...

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