French president Hollande gets flak over photos in U.K.

Ron Recinto
The Lookout

Click image for more photos.

French president Francois Hollande is facing ridicule from some of his citizens for looking small in pictures from his first official visit to the United Kingdom.

Hollande inspected the Guard of Honor from the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards on Wednesday during a visit to London.  Hollande, at 5'7'', was photographed alongside a formation of guards wearing their tall black bearskin helmets.

Comments alongside the image on a website of pictures taken by Agence France-Presse, the country's national news agency, suggested Hollande had fallen into a 'trap' made to make him look ridiculous, reports the Daily Mail of London.

[Slideshow: French president Francois Hollande]

'Poor France,' wrote Jean-Marc Rameau, from Paris, while Dmitri Kovaley mocked Hollande with the words 'Dwarfs rule the world', the Daily Mail  noted.

Hollande's predecessor the 5'5" Nicolas Sarkozy, made huge efforts to disguise his stature, which included from standing on his tiptoes and on wooden boxes,  as well as wearing stacked heels, the newspaper reported.

"I find it ridiculous, not because of (Mr Hollande's) size, but because he falls easily into the traps that Sarkozy knew how to avoid," wrote a poster under the name 'Councillor De Mist' and reported in the Telegraph.

Interestingly, the greatest military achievement of the Coldstreams was they played a part in the defeat of the diminutive Napoleon Bonaparte and his army at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Waterloo ended Napoleon's reign, is viewed by the French as one their most shameful defeats.

The photos almost overshadowed Hollande's visit with British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said they had had "good discussions" on issues of trade, foreign policy, and defense cooperation between the UK and France.

Hollande also met Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle during his visit to Britain.  And, at least in those pictures she does not tower over him in London.