Originally Posted by Sephora
Beside the protocol thing, I think the elegance and politeness is in respect of other's culture and religion without causing them embarassement. Your rules are not their rules. When you visit a Muslim country, you don't go accompanied by your girlfriend or partner if you are not married. I wonder how it would be if you see the Gulf Royals making official visits to weastern countries accompanied by their four wives???
Funny enough, no one here was offended by France's first Lady accompanying President Hollande. The point is moot then. Official visits are meticulously prepared, if anything was deemed offending it would have been smoothed ages before anyone knew even about the visit. A long standing conflicting engagement, a personal emergency, the classic not attending "for personal reasons" etc..
If the (muslim) Moroccan side was not offended, I don't see why the fuss. Anyway, the French democratically elected an unmarried man in a stable relationship, and could have elected his ex-partner with whom he has kids, so it's really a callous thing to raise the point. Respect for culture, beliefs and religion goes both ways.
I think Lesotho's King's multiple wives are extended the same curtsey abroad, as would be the four wives of any Muslim head of state, and as it will be the case sooner or later, the same-sex partner, husband or wife, of a gay head of state.