Les Invalides Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France, Plot L'eglise du Dôme
Louis Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey (17 November 1854 – 21 July 1934) was a French Army general and colonial administrator. After serving in Indochina and Madagascar, he became the first French Resident-General in Morocco from 1912 to 1925. Early in 1917 he served briefly as Minister of War. From 1921 he was a Marshal of France. He was dubbed the Maker of Morocco and the French empire builder, and in 1931 made the cover of Time.
Lyautey has been called "perhaps France's most distinguished – or infamous – homosexual." Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau – whom Lyautey despised, as he did most politicians – joked that Lyautey was "an admirable and courageous man who always had balls up to his ass. It's just a shame that they are not always his." It has been speculated that Lyautey might have provided Marcel Proust with the model for the character of the homosexual Baron de Charlus in his magnum opus Remembrance of Things Past.
The actual evidence for Lyautey being a homosexual is primarily circumstantial, but it was widely regarded as an open secret at the time, one which some historians claim Lyautey did not take any effort to hide. Robert Aldrich writes that he liked hot climates and "the masculine company of young officers". Lyautey's wife is said to have told a group of her husband's young officers that "I have the pleasure of informing you that last night I made you all cuckolds," implying that the officers were all paramours of her husband, and that she had had sex with Lyautey the night before.
Lyautey's homosexuality, or at the very least his "homophile sensuality" or "Greek virtues", was in some ways connected with his time in Morocco. Lyautey's sexual preference for men was not caused by his sojourn in Morocco, as there were those who objected to his appointment as commander there because he was a homosexual.
Daily News (New York, New York) 28 Jul 1934, Sat • Other Editions • Page 58