Friday 24 November 2017

Brigitte Trogneux, from drama teacher to centre stage as France's First Lady

As his drama teacher, Brigitte Trogneux directed Emmanuel Macron’s stage debut in a school play at the age of 15.

As his wife, she mentored, coached and advised him during his presidential campaign.

Always elegant, often wearing tight jeans and a dark jacket, one biographer notes how Brigitte “managed not to look out of place among Macron’s campaign team, although their average age appeared to be around 25”.

As first lady, she will assume a powerful role that Mr Macron’s aides compare to that of Michelle Obama during her time in the White House. But just who is Madame Macron?

He often refers to his wife, who is 24 years his senior, as his intellectual soulmate and confidante. Mr Macron, 39, says he will govern more effectively if he is happy — and that means having Brigitte at his side.

She was married and a mother of three when he fell in love with her as a schoolboy in the red-brick rustbelt town of Amiens in northern France. Their affair scandalised the local community and Mr Macron’s parents packed him off to study in Paris.

Defying expectations that the relationship would be short-lived, they married in 2007.

“He had only one girlfriend of his own age and these two relationships are the only ones he has ever had with women, which is quite exceptional today,” said Anne Fulda, his biographer.

In this week’s Saturday Independent, we look inside the relationship that is fascinating the nation, and profile the woman at the heart of a real-life political drama.

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