President Tito of Yugoslavia is to begin a three-day official visit to France on Wednesday (12 October), and his wife, Mrs.
President Tito of Yugoslavia is to begin a three-day official visit to France on Wednesday (12 October), and his wife, Mrs. Jovanka Broz, was to have gone with him. Now, the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry has told officials in Paris that she will not be going. Mrs. Broz has not been seen in public with the President for more than two months, and this has given rise to speculation about the reason for her absence.
SYNOPSIS: President tito travels extensively, and in the past Mrs. Broz has nearly always accompanied him. They were welcomed by President and Mrs. Kenyatta when they paid a ten-day state visit to Kenya in 1970.
President Tito's wife is known as Mrs. Broz because Broz is Tito's family name. He adopted the name 'Tito' as a partisan leader in the second world war, and he himself has used it ever since. They have been married for more than 25 years.
Like Mrs. Kenyatta, Mrs. Broz is many years younger than her husband.
When the Yugoslav President and his wife were in India in 1968, Mrs. Broz went to Bombay on her own and visited a film studio. The Indian actor-director Raj Kapoor showed her round. marshal Tito had gone to Bhopal for a tiger-shoot.
Jovanka joined the Yugoslav partisans as a girl of 176, and met her husband at their headquarters in 1944. The exact date of their marriage is not known. It was publicly announced in 1952.
The island of Brioni is President Tito's country home. He and his wife received Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip there in 1972. The British monarch had just completed her first state visit to a Communist country. The Yugoslav people have mostly thought of 'Jovanka' as the smiling, kindly woman behind the President. Now there are reports that, as President Tito has grown older, she has grown older, she has exercised an influence over political appointments.
Normally, when a political leader has visited Yugoslavia -- as President Ceausescu of Rumania did last year -- Mrs. Broz has been at the airport with her husband to greet him. In the past few months, she has not accompanied President Tito to the Soviet Union and China, and was not even at the airport to welcome him home. Nothing has been said in Yugoslavia to explain this.
So there has been speculation that either she is ill, or is in political disfavour, or that she and the President have had a personal rift.