- Some of the biggest figures on the world’s stage have lesser-known habits and hobbies.
- From the Dalai Lama’s lifelong interest in tinkering with watches to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s extensive morning routine – these are some of the lesser-known details of world leaders’ private lives.
- Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.
Though the top figures in international politics and religion are among the most closely watched people in the world, their private lives still contain some tightly-held details.
From a passion for fashion, tango, or drinking champagne before bed, here are some of the quirky habits and hobbies that make the biggest names on the world’s stage human.
US President Donald Trump: Ripping up papers
White House officials enlisted records management employees to tape back together papers “like a jigsaw puzzle,” that President Donald Trump’s constantly rips up so the administration won’t break the law, former employee Solomon Lartey told Politico.
The Presidential Records Act says every document during a presidency is publicly owned and must be filed and saved as historical record at the National Archives, but Lartey told Politico that he and his staff saw newspaper clips, memos, letters from colleagues like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and more torn once or sometimes completely shredded.
“I had a letter from Schumer – he tore it up,” he told Politico. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin: An intense morning routine
The Russian leader reportedly has a vigorous morning routine that begins after he wakes up around noon.
After a breakfast that usually includes coffee, juice, an omelet, porridge, or quail eggs, Putin swims alone for two hours before heading to the gym to lift weights while watching Russian news.
To finish getting ready for the day, Putin relies on both freezing and very hot baths before getting dressed in any one of his bespoke suits.
Queen Elizabeth II: Drinking champagne
The 93-year-old monarch reportedly drinks a glass of bubbly every night before bed. She also reportedly has been known to like a gin and Dubonnet at lunch before enjoying wine and a dry martini during the day.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel: Food hoarding
Merkel said in an interview with German magazine SUPERillu that the first few decades of her life spent in East Germany solidified her habit of buying and hoarding massive amounts of food and supplies.
“I still buy something as soon as I see it, even when I don’t really need it,” Merkel told the magazine. “It’s a deep-seated habit stemming from the fact that in an economy where things were scarce you just used to get what you could when you could.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi: Staying fashionable
The prime minister’s looks aren’t only displayed on his Twitter account, but have also caught the eye of the international media and other world leaders, who have taken to the leader’s signature garment, with some calling it the “Modi jacket.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Eating ice cream
After a 2013 news report said Netanyahu used $US2,700 of state money each year to buy ice cream from a gourmet shop near his official residence, the leader’s office withdrew a request to renew his allowance of 10,000 shekels, though it hasn’t been confirmed that the decision squashed his preference for the pistachio-flavored treat.
French President Emmanuel Macron: Spending on makeup
Macron isn’t the first French leader with astronomical grooming costs, as his predecessor, François Hollande, was embroiled in a scandal known as “coiffeurgate” when it was reported his personal hairdresser cost €10,000 in public funds each month.
Before Hollande, makeup reportedly set Nicolas Sarkozy back €8,000 each month.
Pope Francis: Dancing the tango
Among his passions that are signature to his native Buenos Aires, Pope Francis has said he enjoyed dancing the tango in his youth along to South American music he loved.
“I like it a lot,” Jorge Mario Bergoglio said in a book published before he was elevated to the papacy. “It’s something that comes from within me.”
In honour of the Pope’s 78th birthday, thousands of people danced the tango near the Vatican in St. Peter’s Square.
Dalai Lama: Repairing watches
In addition to meditating and gardening, repairing watches is perhaps the most unexpected of the Dalai Lama’s hobbies.
His interest in watches reportedly came from a Rolex given to him by former President Franklin Roosevelt, but the Dalai Lama has been interested in fixing technical goods since childhood, when he repaired things like cars and an old film projector.
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