France's first lady Cecilia Sarkozy has hired a top-level diplomatic
advisor to guide her steps on the world stage, where she intends to play
an active role at her husband's side, a report said Tuesday.
Cecilia's diplomatic advisor, the career diplomat Nicolas de la
Granville, 45, was hand-picked
for her by President Nicolas Sarkozy's national security advisor
Jean-David Levitte, according to Le Figaro newspaper.
The paper said Cecilia planned to play a "complementary" role to her
husband, focusing on so-called "feminine" questions such as "children,
women and humanitarian affairs, the French language and culture."
The 49-year-old Cecilia would be the first French first lady to have
her own diplomatic advisor.
De la Granville, who has served in Brussels and Madrid, is a specialist
on European affairs and North Africa. He will be part of the diplomatic
cell at the Elysee presidential palace, where Le Figaro said one of three
Africa advisor posts was scrapped to make way for him.
A presidential spokesman denied that the first lady would have
designated staff, saying that some of Sarkozy's advisors may be asked to
help Cecilia Sarkozy with her requests.
"Some advisors in the presidential team have been asked to address
demands that could come from Cecilia Sarkozy," said presidential spokesman
Cecilia accompanied her husband to the Group of Eight summit in Germany
on Wednesday, where she will follow a "wives' programme" -- hosted by the
husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A former model and PR executive, Cecilia acted as Sarkozy's
communications advisor when he was interior minister in Jacques Chirac's
But in 2005 the couple went through a brief separation and she withdrew
from the political scene.
Cecilia was absent during much of Sarkozy's campaign, only appearing at
his side for the victory celebrations and swearing-in