Marie-Ségolène Royal (born 22 September 1953), known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party. The first woman in France to be nominated by a major party, she was the Socialist candidate in the 2007 French presidential election but lost to Nicolas Sarkozy on 6 May 2007. In 2008, Royal narrowly lost to Martine Aubry in the Socialist Party's election for First Secretary at the Party's twenty-second national congress. On 30 November 2010, Royal announced her intentions to again seek the PS nomination for President in 2012 but she lost the Socialist Party presidential primary in 2011.
Ségolène Royal was born in the military base of Ouakam, Dakar, French West Africa (now Senegal) on 22 September 1953, the daughter of Hélène Dehaye and Jacques Royal, a former artillery officer and aide to the mayor of Chamagne (Vosges).
Her parents had eight children in nine years: Marie-Odette, Marie-Nicole, Gérard, Marie-Ségolène, Antoine, Paul, Henri and Sigisbert.
After secondary school, Marie-Ségolène attended a local university where she graduated 2nd in her class with a degree in Economics. Her eldest sister then suggested she prepare the entrance exam to the elite Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris popularly called Sciences Po, which she attended on scholarship. There she discovered politics of class and feminism. ("Sciences Po" at the time was 85% upper-class Parisian, mostly male.) In summer 1971, she was an au pair in Dublin, Ireland. In 1972, at the age of 19, Royal sued her father because he refused to divorce her mother and pay alimony and child support to finance the children's education. She won the case after many years in court, shortly before Jacques Royal died of lung cancer in 1981. Six of the eight children had refused to see him again, Ségolène included.
Royal, like most of France's political elite, is a graduate of the École Nationale d'Administration (ENA). She was in the same class as her former partner of 30 years, François Hollande (whom she met at a party), as well as Dominique de Villepin (prime minister under Jacques Chirac). Each class year at the ENA receives a nickname to distinguish it: Royal tried to get her peers to name their class after Louise Michel, a revolutionary from the 1870s, but they chose the name "Voltaire" instead. During her time at the ENA, Royal also dropped "Marie" from her hyphenated first name because she thought it had been chosen by her father for his daughters out of a degrading and archaic view of the role of women.
From the late 1970s, Ségolène Royal was the private-life partner of François Hollande, former head of the French Socialist Party, whom she met at ENA. The couple had four children: law student Thomas (b. 1984), Clémence (b. 1985), Julien (b. 1987) and Flora (b. 1993). They were neither married (considering it too "bourgeois") nor bounded by a PACS (pacte civil de solidarité, which provides for a civil union between two adults, regardless of gender), contrary to the rumors. A news agency leaked news of their separation in June 2007, on the evening of the legislative election. According to the Guardian, she had asked Hollande "to move out of the house" and pursue his new love interest "which has been detailed in books and newspapers" – a reference to a much-discussed chapter by journalists explaining how Hollande was having a long-term affair with a journalist.
Royal's eldest son, Thomas Hollande, served as an adviser to her during her presidential candidacy, working on a website designed to appeal to young voters.
Her brother Antoine named their brother Gérard Royal as the agent who placed the bomb that sank the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. But other sources claim that this statement is exaggerated and that Gérard was part of the logistics team.
Royal's cousin Anne-Christine Royal followed the paternal side of the family and has been a candidate of the far-right Front National party at a local election in Bordeaux.
From : www.wikipedia.org