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Bed-heads of state

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 18/03/2008

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When Richard the Lionheart visited Philip of France in 1187, he was met by a charm offensive. "Philip honoured Richard so highly that every day they ate at the same table and shared the same dishes," wrote a contemporary chronicler.

"At night the bed did not separate them." Nothing wrong with that - Richard's biographer has declared this week - men often shared beds in those days.

This method of diplomat summitry might profitably be reintroduced.


President Hu Jintao of China would benefit from some pacific bedtime stories from the ascetic Dalai Lama. Britain's Nato allies might rally round in Afghanistan after a dose of Des Browne's pillow-talk, if they could stay awake.

Yet it must be a consolation to our own Queen that her hospitality next week towards President Sarkozy and his new wife will end at the Windsor banqueting table.

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Igonikon Jack 10:05

I see that my initial optimism that you had solved your formatting problems was misplaced.

But, I enjoyed your post, especially the last paragraph to the effect that bed-sharing among Heads of State and politicians would save we tax-payers the money that is lavished on their junkets.

I would add that they should all share the same bed in the same room and someone should lock the door and throw away the key.

Ironic though that some people in the world are free to chose who they share a bed with and others are not, if they are lucky enough to have a bed at all.
Posted by andrew cramb on March 18, 2008 3:10 PM
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To Igonikon Jack:

Your English teacher should be ashamed of your postings. Were you not taught never to begin a sentence with "Because"?

I think you should go back to school and not post here again until you have learnt how to do it correctly!
Posted by Topper on March 18, 2008 2:03 PM
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This editorial has dredged up a
concept though unimaginable, but
seems practical now; given the
hectic schedules heads of heads go
through during summits and
multinational or international
conferences. Perhaps, extra time can
be extracted from allowing heads of
states to share beds; just as
exemplified in the 1187 Richard the
Lionheart-Philip of France bedroom
tete-a-tete confabulation, rest
and relaxation. I believe this was
before the One hundred Years War that
started almost two centuries later.
And, should the bed-sharing tradition
had continued, probably, the war over
the thrones of England and France and
cross-channel, imperialist and
colonial ambitions might have been

I dealt with the culture of
bed sharing and gender-bonding
without homosexual implications in
my July 30 op-ed humor commentary:
"Bed and Bawd." Here, I explained how
siblings share beds during festive
occasions to more comfortably
accommodate guests in other rooms and
beds. And, it gets more uncomfortable
when or where that sibling happens to
be your sister--the one that raises
more hell for you than the rest. And,
this could be the longest night in
your life. Even after drawing the
rules of engagement, which includes
backing each other while sleeping.
All of which fails when you wake up
and find yourselves sadly facing each other. Worse: You could find
her arms around you. Suddenly, you
feel like cold fish. Moreover, this
culture became beneficial for
students abroad congregating in
apartments to share rents and save

I don't think this sibling rivalry
will show among heads of state
sharing beds together. Because of
symbiotic or mutualistic, national
and individual needs. One head of
state might need technical and
economic-development assistance. The needs increased oil production
to lower skyrocketing oil prices.
One might need arms sales to be
pushed by his counterpart through
the legislature. The other might need
greater access to credits; and
more. All needs can be achieved or
implemented through pillow talks.

The rationale is that intragender, as
opposed to intergender bed sharing
will be the rule of engagement.
Because, in this era of tabloid
sensationalism, a rumor about a head
of state is sharing a room, let alone
bed, with another, would feed
unsustainable, wild, romantic
speculations. But, with male-male or
female-female heads-of-state or
first-ladies bed sharing, the rumors
can subside after several, initial

Many heads of states will just do
fine. But, the likes of Hugo Chavez
and Mahmoud Amedinejad may not have
willing partners. Because of the
militant and unorthodox antics they
have shown in the public. How would
you feel, as a head of state being
pestered with a sermon from Mahmoud
Amedinejad asking you to prepare for
that 12th Imam coming to meet you
alive after disappearing for almost
14 centuries, or Hugo Chavez enlisting your support against
America; which is, also, another
Amedinejad's obsession.

But, despite these seeming and
potential drawbacks, this proposed
bedroom diplomacy should be given a
try. The world is so polarized in
open, collective diplomacy and
confrontation, that this could be
ultimate hope for mundane salvation
of humankind through world leaders'
pillow-talks diplomacy. When you
look at it, G-8 meeting costs
hundreds of millions of dollars in
security arrangements alone; not
adding the extra burden and
inconvenience of militant, unionist,
anti-corporate, anti-globalization
activists and demonstrators. With
heads of state, pillow-talks
diplomacy, more could be achieved if
and when they break up as room and
bed mates in undisclosed locations,
using phone chats and text messaging
to cordinate and communicate with
their dual counterparts. In the end,
all they need is a final meeting,
communique and photo-opportunity.
Igonikon Jack, USA
Posted by Igonikon Jack on March 18, 2008 10:05 AM
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I don't remember the relationship being played quite like that in "The Lion in Winter"!

This piece provides only part of a well known account (originally in Latin) which can be translated in many ways and has been used, along with other references, in serious studies, to suggest an affair between the two kings may have taken place.

As to the projection aspect of this piece into the modern day for leadership figures like the Chinese President and the Dalai Lama - one would have to descend into crudity to debate who exactly was getting scr*wed here.
Posted by simon coulter on March 18, 2008 9:32 AM
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Rats! What a let-down! I was hoping to read about Sarkozy and Merkel's hotel receipt.
Posted by Avril King on March 18, 2008 8:52 AM
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You can say that again!
Posted by Fernandez on March 18, 2008 5:46 AM
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