FORMER president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing has poured cold water on rumours he had an affair with Princess Diana.
Giscard's new romantic novel, The Princess and the President, caught the attention of the French and British media because it dropped a number of playful hints that the story was based on a real-life encounter between him and Diana.
However Giscard said today that although the locations and décor mentioned in great detail in the novel were real, and the main female character was clearly based on Diana, the tale itself was completely made up.
“Let’s not exaggerate here. I knew her a bit. She needed someone to talk to,” he told Le Point.
The Princess and the President tells the story of French president Jacques-Henri Lambertye, who meets the “very pretty and media-friendly” Patricia, Princess of Cardiff at a state dinner in Buckingham Palace to coincide with the end of a G7 summit.
Patricia is in an unhappy marriage with an unfaithful husband and the princess and the president go on to share moments of passion together in the Château de Rambouillet.
Giscard said he wrote the book in memory of the princess, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997. He also revealed that the idea for the novel came from Diana herself.
“We were talking about love stories between heads of state, and she said: ‘Why don’t you write a book about that?’”
The book, in French, will be published on October 1 by Editions Fallois-Xo – around the same time that another former president, Jacques Chirac, is due to publish his memoirs.