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Sarkozy’s father, Pal, announced the pregnancy in May to German daily Bild and later told the newspaper the due date: Oct. 3. Gossip magazine Closer said officials were keeping quiet because Bruni-Sarkozy’s age makes it a higher-risk pregnancy.

As of Monday, friends of the family said the first lady was still expecting. “I can tell you she spent a nice weekend at the Elysee” and was still pregnant, said Patrick Balkany, a longtime Sarkozy friend and political ally.

The glamorous Bruni-Sarkozy first showed signs of a midriff bulge while standing alongside other first ladies at the G-8 summit in Normandy in May.

Her husband has been coy, quiet and even cheeky about the pregnancy.

At a news conference at that summit, after an Italian journalist offered her congratulations, the president coyly replied: “I congratulate you too for being Italian, which is a country we like so much in France.” (Bruni-Sarkozy was born Italian.) He didn’t answer the journalist’s question: whether he knew if it was a boy or a girl.

Plainclothes police are patrolling outside a western Paris maternity clinic where rumors hold Bruni-Sarkozy is to give birth.

Bruni-Sarkozy, who became French after she married Sarkozy, made her name as a supermodel on catwalks worldwide _ under the rapid-fire flashes of photographers’ cameras. She clearly wants to spare her two children from the glare.

Bruni-Sarkozy says she made a mistake by taking along her young son from a previous relationship on a much-photographed holiday in Jordan with Sarkozy during their courtship in late 2007. In eerie TV images, the boy put his face in his hands while riding on Sarkozy’s shoulders.

France is no stranger to secrecy about its first families. President Francois Mitterrand kept quiet about a daughter he had fathered out of wedlock in 1976, five years before he took office. The daughter, Mazarine Pingeot-Mitterrand, emerged in public only at his funeral in 1995.

“You don’t have a child for the gallery,” Bruni-Sarkozy told French TV network TF1 recently. “I will do everything to protect this child… I will not show photos of this child, I will never expose this child.”