Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Politics: Meet French first lady Brigitte Macron: President Emmanuel Macron's former schoolteacher turned wife who may get a formal role in his administration

Brigitte Trogneux.

The wife of French President Emmanuel Macron may soon have an official role in the government following controversy over her status as first lady.

Glamorous former high school teacher Brigitte Trogneux is France's first first lady in five years, and it's caused some adjustments.

French President Emmanuel Macron, whose popularity has plummeted in recent weeks, is planning to give his wife Brigitte an official role in the government.

When Macron cinched the French presidency in May, Brigitte was right by his side — and regularly featured in the media for being 24 years older than her husband.

Scroll on to learn more about Brigitte Macron, and what her new role may look like.

Meet Brigitte Macron, high-school teacher who is the wife of French President-elect Emmanuel Macron.

Source: CNN

She is the youngest of six Trogneux children and her family are famous chocolatiers in the region of Amiens. Les Trogneux is lauded for its macaroons.

Source: L'Express

There is a 24-year age gap between 64-year-old Brigitte and 39-year-old Macron.

Brigitte was Macron's drama teacher. They met at the Jésuites de la Providence lycée high school, in Amiens, when he was 15.

Macron was reportedly packed off to Paris to finish his studies when news broke of his close bond with the married mother of three. Trogneux told Paris Match magazine that, at 17, Emmanuel told her: "Whatever you do, I will marry you."

Brigitte divorced her banker husband and father of her children, André-Louis Auzière, in 2006, and married Macron the following year.

Source: CNN

She has been by his side ever since.

Macron is stepfather to Brigitte's three children — two girls and a boy. Below, her daughters Thyphaine (left) and Laurence (right) stand at one of Macron's campaign rallies.

Source: The Sun

The age gap between the couple has been a source of fascination for local media.

But the couple have embraced the limelight.

They live together in Le Touquet, a commune near Boulogne-sur-Mer, in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France. Below, Brigitte speaks with the press outside their home.

They also appear to be keen skiers. Here, the couple smiles for the cameras as they take a chairlift up to the mountaintop for a lunch break during a campaign visit to Bagneres-de-Bigorre, in the Pyrenees in Southwestern France.

At the top, the couple looked relaxed as they shared a bottle of wine with colleagues.

Brigitte is also known for her strong personal sense of style.

The first lady is apparently a regular at Paris Fashion Week, but swapped the front row to support her husband in his presidential campaign.

Source: The Telegraph

The president of France has apparently only ever had one other relationship, with a girlfriend his own age, according to Macron's biographer, Anne Fulda.

Source: The Telegraph

Brigitte is understood to be an important mentor to Macron. He said "without her, I wouldn't be me," after winning the first round of voting in April 2017.

Source: CNN

Brigitte cast her ballot during the second round of 2017 French presidential election in Le Touquet.

And she celebrated with Macron after early results in the first round of the 2017 French presidential election at the Parc des Expositions hall in Paris.

The crowd reportedly shouted "Brigitte! Brigitte! Brigitte!" as she took to the stage with Macron to celebrate his landslide win on May 7 at a victory rally near the Louvre in Paris.

Source: BBC

Brigitte's main areas of focus as first lady were expected to be education and working with disadvantaged and autistic children.

Source: The Telegraph

Macron wanted to make "first lady" an unpaid formal title, but many in France saw that as copying the American system. Over 220,000 people signed a petition against the proposal.

Sources: AFP, Reuters

In August, news broke that Brigitte might get an official role in the French government instead, amid the controversy that it could be too expensive to give her the title of first lady.

Source: AP

In the coming weeks, Macron is expected to announce what actual functions Brigitte will be taking over.

Source: AP

"She will have an existence, she will have a voice there, a view on things," Macron said in March. "She will be at my side, as she has always been."

Source: Reuters

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