Beauty shots and workers demolishing the North Lawn live platform.

March 2016 – The White House flag has been raised half-staff in the last few days, because Nancy Reagan, the wife of the former US President, has passed away.
Could the same thing happen on the Italian Quirinale Palace, or on the Elysée in Paris, or in Berlin?
The answer is no. In fact, the spouse of a Public Official has different roles in America and in Europe.

In America the spouse, especially a woman, is associated to the Public Official: she accompanies him during the election campaign, at the oath ceremony, and at all important institutional moments. In fact, a person who is single is believed to have fewer chances of success in an American election campaign.

In Europe, it is not like that since the spouse is expected not to invade any public area and to dedicate herself to her personal activities. The absence of the wife of the Italian President Pertini was appreciated, the husband of Chancellor Merkel almost never participates in German government events and Sarkozy’s wife Carla was only occasionally shown and usually for aesthetical reasons.

Thus, between European and American republics there is the same difference existing between the monarchies where the spouse is constitutionally associated to the throne and those where it is not.

This shows how Western countries, which are traditionally considered homogeneous in comparison with the rest of the world, have some significant differences one from the other.
This is shown by the ceremonial, exposing half-staff flag on the White House and not on the Quirinale.

by Massimo Sgrelli
Former Head of State Ceremonial Department
Accademia del Cerimoniale – Protocol Academy, Partner of Easy Diplomacy