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Obituary: Nicole de Hauteclocque

Nicole de Saint-Denis, Resistance leader and politician, born Commercy Meuse 10 March 1913, City Councillor Paris 1947-65, 1968-89, President Paris Council 1972-73, married Pierre de Hauteclocque (one daughter deceased; marriage dissolved), died Paris 18 January 1993.

NICOLE de HAUTECLOCQUE was a Gaullist Resistance fighter of great courage who with her parents entered Colonel Remy's network in 1940 and ended as a highly decorated captain.

She was born Nicole de Saint-Denis in 1913, in Commercy, near Nancy, where her father, Ernest de Saint-Denis, was an army colonel in the barracks. She married Pierre de Hauteclocque (who joined de Gaulle in London) and although she was divorced from him she kept the name through the rest of her career. Her principal political energies after the war were devoted to the city of Paris.

She joined the first Gaullist movement, the RPR, and was elected to the Paris Council in 1947, keeping the seat until 1989, being regularly returned for the 15th district. She was vice-president of the council from 1954 to 1955 and from 1962 to 1963, and was the first woman to be made president of the Paris Council - a post she held from 1972 to 1973. She was particularly involved with the council's budget for policing and as such she worked closely with the Paris police authorities of the 1950s and early 1960s.

She was elected to the National Assembly in 1962 and in that capacity she was active on policing questions and problems of safety in provincial towns and in Paris (she emerged during the years of the Socialist government in the 1980s as a scourge of the left-wing police unions). She also served on the Assembly's Committee on Defence.

She took a prominent part in the Gaullist party's election campaigns of the 1960s and emerged in the 1970s as a strong supporter of Jacques Chirac's creation of the RPF from the old Gaullist party (she was put on the central committee of the new party). In the municipal elections of 1977 the centrists put up Francoise Giroud (whose antipathy to the Gaullists was well known) in de Hauteclocque's constituency. The challenger was seen off. When Jacques Chirac was elected mayor of Paris after those elections de Hauteclocque took charge of police and security as deputy to the mayor.

De Hauteclocque, a small but combative and energetic Gaullist 'inconditionelle', was no friend of the centrists or the socialists; she was an ardent supporter of Jacques Chirac's presidential bid in 1981 and headed his Paris campaign committee. However, in 1986 she made plain her desire to stand down from the assembly and in September of the same year stood for the senate, to which she was elected.