Beware la bella donna

The English press has fallen head over heels for the woman it has acclaimed “the next Diana”. While the new one is certainly loads more attractive than the original, I can’t help but think of what happened the last time France had an Italian queen:

From a female point of view, there is no doubt that the woman is a menace, a lethal combination of beauty and ruthlessness. But you have to admire her. First, for changing the course of French history by not settling for the role of acquiescent mistress and a nice apartment in a fashionable arrondissement, but getting the ring on her finger and a seat at the top table. And, secondly, for being true to herself. For Bruni, despite having lived much of her life in France, is the truest representation of Italian womanhood I have seen since Lucrezia Borgia.

This week’s performance was a brilliant lesson in the correct application of bella figura. In Italy, no matter how much of a minx you may be behind closed doors, as a woman you never let it show in public. You do not lose face and you don’t let your man down.

Yes, the face is lovely, and la bella figura is cut flawlessly. But forget Lucrezia. Reflect rather upon Catherine de’ Medici.