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Ségolène ROYAL

French Ségolène ROYAL

born Marie-Ségolène ROYAL

French politician

Source :  Henri Charles DAHLEM

Born: on September 22, 1953 in Dakar, Senegal  (65 years)


Biography

Ségolène Royal was born in the military base of Ouakam, Dakar, Senegal, the daughter of Hélène Dehaye and Jacques Royal, a former artillery officer and aide to the mayor of Chamagne (Vosges).

Her parents had eight children in nine years: Marie-Odette, Marie-Nicole, Gérard, Marie-Ségolène, Antoine, Paul, Henri and Sigisbert.

After high school, Marie-Ségolène attended a local university where she graduated 2nd in her class with a degree in Economics. Her eldest sister then suggested she prepare the entrance exam to the elite Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris popularly called Sciences Po, which she attended on scholarship. There she discovered politics of class and feminism. ("Sciences Po" at the time was 85% upper-class Parisian, mostly male.) In summer 1971, she was an au pair in Dublin, Ireland. In 1972, at the age of 19, Royal sued her father because he refused to divorce her mother and pay alimony and child support to finance the children's education. She won the case after many years in court, shortly before Jacques Royal died of lung cancer in 1981. Six of the eight children had refused to see him again, Ségolène included.

Royal, like most of France's political elite, is a graduate of the École Nationale d'Administration (ENA). She was in the same class as her former partner of 30 years, François Hollande (whom she met at a party), as well as Dominique de Villepin (prime minister under Jacques Chirac). Each class year at the ENA receives a nickname to distinguish it: Royal tried to get her peers to name their class after Louise Michel, a revolutionary from the 1870s, but they chose the name "Voltaire" instead. During her time at the ENA, Royal also dropped "Marie" from her hyphenated first name because she thought it had been chosen by her father for his daughters out of a degrading and archaic view of the role of women.

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