Francois Durand / Getty Images file
Suzanne Mubarak,left, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy attend a Bastille Day ceremony in Paris on July 14, 2008.
By Miranda Leitsinger, msnbc.com
In the wake of the news that Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s leader for the last 29 years, has finally responded to the demands of protesters and stepped down, who will he spend the rest of his life in “retirement” with?
Perhaps he will enjoy his life in exile with his wife of over 50 years, Suzanne Mubarak. (Although, rumor has it she may have fled to London several weeks ago when the protests got underway).
Nevertheless, who is she?
An advocate for women's rights
She has been noted for her fashion sense, cited as a Clinton family friend and was the subject of a fairly unflattering portrait in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.
But the sociologist and mother of two is most well-known for her fight to improve women’s and children’s rights – for which she has received many awards.
Suzanne was born in Menya, a town about 150 miles south of Cairo known for sugar processing and producing perfumes and soap. She met her future husband in the late 1950s when she was 16 and he was an officer in the Egyptian Air Force.
They married the next year, and a decade later she returned to school, eventually earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the American University in Cairo.
"I used to hear about Hosni Mubarak three years before I met him. My brother was his student at the Air Force Academy," according to a state-owned Egyptian TV documentary on the couple.
Her resume cites a number of activities, including serving as president of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, founder of the Integrated Care Society in 1977, a non-profit aimed at providing health care and other social, cultural services to schoolchildren; and president of the Egyptian National Women Committee in the mid-1990s.
Dylan Martinez / Reuters
Anti-government protesters celebrate inside Tahrir Square after the announcement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in Cairo on Friday. Click the photo to see a complete slideshow of the days events.
She also has a number of organizations and museums named after her, such as the Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement, the Suzanne Mubarak Museum for Children and the Suzanne Mubarak Family Park.
While she has never played an overtly political role, during the weeks of massive anti-government protests people online were urging her to push her husband to step down. Kayak175 wrote on twitter: “Suzanne Mubarak - it's time for you to have a chat with your husband.”
'Less flattering' portrait in WikiLeaks cables
But some also alluded to corruption allegations dogging her family.
The New York Times reported that, “A 2006 cable obtained by WikiLeaks described a 274-page report by an opposition political group detailing accusations of corruption by the president’s wife, Suzanne, as well as Gamal Mubarak and his brother, Alaa, a businessman. The cable, from the American ambassador in Cairo, Francis J. Ricciardone, noted that the accusations were unproven but called the report evidence of growing public anger.”
The Times noted in another dispatch that the cables also offered “a less flattering picture” of Suzanne, “(H)owever effusive the Americans were about Mr. Mubarak in public.”
“During a visit to the Sinai, one reported, she commandeered a bus that had been bought with money from the United States Agency for International Development and that had been meant to carry children to school.”
On the lighter side, The Huffington Post commented on Suzanne Mubarak’s commonsense fashion sense to deal with Egypt’s hot climes: “Whether she wears her light-colored skirt and blazer with a chunky necklace, a dark camisole, a thin scarf or dark sunglasses, Suzanne has a stellar summer style strategy: she keeps her clothing simple and selects accessories that speak for themselves.”
The report also highlighted her “signature bouffant hairdo,” her use of “pearls and lace detail keep things chic” and included photos of her with former First Lady Laura Bush, who goes “matchy-matchy” in her outfit with Mubarak.