The Queen left me shaking with fear: Teetotal Nicolas Sarkozy reveals in autobiography he nervously downed a glass of gin – believing it was water – to ease his dry throat ahead of meeting monarch at Windsor state dinner
- Sarkozy describes Queen as ‘the iron lady, more even than Margaret Thatcher’
- He said it was the first time he drank alcohol in his life and his mouth was on fire
- The former French president says however that Prince Charles put him at ease
Teetotal Nicolas Sarkozy has revealed that he nervously downed a glass of gin -believing it was water – to ease his dry throat ahead of meeting the Queen at a Windsor state dinner.
In the first volume of his autobiography Le Temps des Tempêtes (The Time of Storms), the former French president recounts his state visit to Britain in 2008 with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, when he says the Queen left him shaking with fear.
Mr Sarkozy, 65, describes the monarch as ‘the iron lady, more even than Margaret Thatcher’, adding: ‘The Queen is sovereign, figuratively as well as literally.’
During the two-day-stay at Windsor, Mr Sarkozy – who never drinks alcohol – was served a glass of clear liquid and had assumed it was mineral water.
Teetotal Nicolas Sarkozy has revealed that he nervously downed a glass of gin -believing it was water – to ease his dry throat ahead of meeting the Queen at a Windsor state dinner. They are pictured together in 2008 during his two-day-stay in the UK
However after taking a huge gulp the right-wing politician realised that it was gin.
He wrote: ‘It was the first time I had ever drunk alcohol in my life. My legs were wobbling and my mouth was on fire.’
He added: ‘The Queen didn’t notice a thing.’
During the trip – which was his first with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy whom he had married a month earlier – he admits that he was very stressed.
He explained however how a ‘convivial’ Prince Charles put him at ease and that he spoke ‘remarkable French, like all his family’.
He also says that The Duchess of Cornwall was similarly easygoing.
L-R: Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, The Queen, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Prince Philip at a dinner during his visit in 2008
Mr Sarkozy, 65, (right) describes the Queen (left) as ‘the iron lady, more even than Margaret Thatcher’, adding: ‘The Queen is sovereign, figuratively as well as literally’
The bombshell autobiography also goes into detail on his thoughts of other European leaders at the time of his first two terms in office, which ran from 2007 to 2012.
He depicts Tony Blair as a ‘brilliant leader’ who would have made an ideal president of the European Union if it hadn’t been for Angela Merkel’s fear that he would overshadow its heads of state and government.
At a G8 summit in Germany in June 2007 Mr Sarkozy suggested to Merkel to give him the newly created post of president of the EU council.
According to Mr Sarkozy’s account Mrs Merkel was unenthusiastic, saying: ‘We must be careful that the future EU president is not too strong and that he is not tempted to place us under his tutelage. That would change the equilibrium in Europe.’
He adds that Blair was ‘charismatic and forward-looking’ even though he was a member of the Labour Party.
In comparison he says that David Cameron was weak-willed, lacking leadership qualities and unable to stand up to Conservative Party members.