Statesmanship is in short supply these days. The White House is not exactly brimming with the gravitas and the only consensus emerging from the Democratic field is that the country might be facing a contested convention in a few months. Could a recently sleek and globetrotting billionaire be subtly suggesting he might one day fill that void—with a high-profile companion on his arm?
Last Friday, Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, posted a picture of himself meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on his official Instagram account.
"Discussing climate, sustainability, and preserving the natural world with President @emmanuelmacron today in Paris. #BezosEarthFund #ClimatePledge” read the caption on the Amazon chief executive's post, which received almost 150,000 likes in its first 24 hours.
But there is also a third figure in the scene, which was photographed in the second-floor salon of the Élysée Palace, the president’s official residence. Lauren Sanchez, Jeff Bezos’s girlfriend of more than a year, is sitting attentively as President Macron gestures to make a point.
Her boyfriend looks relaxed in a pale suit. She is wearing a cherry-red cocktail dress with a flared skirt, along with severe black stockings, and has the straight back of a person on her best behavior.
Since going public with their relationship in January 2019 (following an investigation by the National Enquirer, which Bezos has accused of extorting him), Sanchez has been become an increasingly familiar presence in the corridors of power.
Last July, she and her beau were on hand to watch the men’s final at Wimbledon, where nearby guests included Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. The following month, the couple was were photographed relaxing on David Geffen’s yacht with the liberal wing of the Kushner family (Joshua and his wife, Karlie Kloss) and the former head of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein.
The day after the Élysée meeting, Diane von Furstenberg was made a chevalier of France’s Legion D’Honneur, recognizing her contributions to culture and philanthropy. The award was presented by Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, in front of a jet-set crowd including Larry Gagosian, Natalia Vodianova, Anna Wintour, Christian Louboutin, and Gabriela Hearst.
International nabobs take note: Lauren Sanchez, the new queen of Amazon, was there, too.
Despite such high-profile appearances, last week’s post marked the first time her relationship with Bezos became Insta-official. The woman she replaced, Bezos’s soon-to-be-ex-wife Mackenzie Bezos, was last seen in his feed in March of 2018, in a photo of the then-couple posing with Star Trek actor, Patrick Stewart, at the Oscars.
Mackenzie, a novelist and philanthropist, was known to have a limited appetite for attention. Sanchez, by contrast, worked as a television news reporter and anchor, and is more comfortable in the limelight.
She also shed a spouse for the new relationship—in her case, the powerful Hollywood agent, Patrick Whitesell. With his slate of famous clients, from Ben Affleck and Michelle Williams to Idris Elba and Hugh Jackman, she was used to hanging around influential Hollywood figures.
Now, it appears, she is equally comfortable in the sitting rooms of world leaders. That is a skill not to be taken for granted. But staying welcome in those rooms will require tact. For every Pamela Harriman, who was lauded for her own diplomatic skills as much as her choice of mates, there is a cautionary tale. Evita Peron, wife of the former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, for example, was so glamorous that she became a conspicuous symbol of everything that was wrong with her husband’s regime, a 20th-century Marie Antoinette, if you will.
How Sanchez handles her new public image as the confers with world leaders will be fascinating to watch as it plays out on social media. Evita liked a flared skirt, too.
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