Enmeshed in a complicated love triangle that has made salacious headlines around the world, President Francois Hollande had his first meeting with Pope Francis yesterday. The father of four who has never married met the leader of an institution for whom marriage and fidelity remain the bedrock of society.
The encounter came two weeks after revelations emerged of the French president's alleged affair with the actress Julie Gayet. Mr Hollande was greeted by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, the Pope's personal secretary, and led up a red carpet into the Apostolic Palace at the heart of the Vatican.
Flanked by Swiss Guards, he was escorted down corridors of polished marble and through grand entrances before finally being led into a reception room to meet the Pope. "I'm happy to be welcomed here," said the president. The Pope and the president posed for photographers and then held a 35-minute private meeting.