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VIDEO: The world leaders who mastered French
Tony Blair speaking French in a greetings video to former President Nicolas Sarkozy. Photo: azemzi/Youtube

VIDEO: The world leaders who mastered French

Ben McPartland · 9 Sep 2013, 12:21

Published: 09 Sep 2013 12:21 GMT+02:00

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US Secretary of State John Kerry

Kerry is among the rare breed of non-French politicians who is known to deliver speeches in French.

Kerry, who spent summer holidays as a child at a family estate in Brittany, spoke for several minutes in well-accented French at a joint press conference with French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Paris.

The reason Kerry has mastered French so well compared to other US politicians over the years, can be explained by the fact his mother was born in Paris when his grandfather was working here in the 1920s. Here he is in action:

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair:

Blair made history in 1998 when he became the first British PM to address the French National Assembly in their native language. Blair polished his French during the time he worked in the country as a student as well as during his annual family holidays spent in the south west of the country.

Former Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Romney learned French during his time spent as a Mormon missionary in France during his late teens and early 20s.

Romney had no choice but to improve his language skills, because he spent most of his time there knocking on doors trying to persuade the French to join the Mormon church. Here he is speaking French at the introduction for the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City in 2002.

Former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg:

Nick Clegg is a rare breed among Anglo politicians.

He doesn’t owe his ability to speak French to having a Gallic mum or having spent years in France. He is simply a talented linguist, who is also fluent in German, Dutch and Spanish. Here he is on a video released by the British Embassy in Paris where he speaks about his visit to the French capital to meet the French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault in November 2012.

Story continues below…

Queen Elizabeth II

And lastly, the Queen of England is a talented French speaker. Watch her conversing with French President Francois Hollande here. 

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Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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