The ghost of Catherine de Médici, blamed for one of France's bloodiest massacres, is now haunting its politics after a mystery candidate using her name announced that she - or he - would stand for president.
The intelligence services, political establishment and media were all desperate to unmask the identity of the figure behind yesterday's declaration, announced with a 270-page book entitled "I'm Coming - It's Later Than You Think".
To judge by early hints, "Catherine" favours an enigmatic but also populist analysis of France's ills, exploiting themes aired by the Right, Left and political centre.
As widow of Henri II, Catherine became the ruthless power behind the throne of a France beset by the religious conflicts of 16th-century Europe. It was under her authority that Roman Catholic mobs began the 1572 St Bartholomew's Day massacres in which tens of thousands of Protestant Huguenots were slaughtered.
Friday, October 14, 2005
From the Telegraph: