Thursday 26 April 2018

Macron's wife says she is no fan of her title as France's 'first lady'

Brigitte Macron ‘is used to the extraordinary'. Photo: Reuters
Brigitte Macron ‘is used to the extraordinary'. Photo: Reuters

Oliver Gee in Paris

The wife of France's President Emmanuel Macron has broken her silence after the controversy surrounding her role as the country's 'first lady'.

Brigitte Macron's role as the first lady will be an informal one, according to her interview with France's 'Elle' magazine, extracts of which were published yesterday.

"Like all of those before me, I will take on my public role, but the French people will know the resources at my disposal," she told the magazine.

Her comments come after a backlash from the French public over Mr Macron's plans to make his wife France's first official first lady.

That move turned heads at the time, particularly as the government moved to ban MPs from hiring family members as assistants in an anti-corruption drive.

But after 315,000 people signed a petition over the past three weeks in an attempt to block the president's wife from having a salary, the government back-pedalled and said that it would issue what it called a "transparency charter" to make clear the funds and staff that would go towards Mrs Macron's activity.

Mrs Macron appeared to welcome the news in her interview with the magazine.

"We'll post my meetings and my commitments on the presidency website, so that the French people know exactly what I'm doing," Mrs Macron said. "What's important is that it is clear."

She added that she apparently didn't like the title of first lady anyway.

"I don't feel like a first lady.

"That's the translation of an American expression, and I don't like anything about it. I don't feel like the first, or the last, or a lady.

"I am Brigitte Macron!"

Though Mrs Macron is frequently referred to as the 'first lady' in French and international press, she has no official status under the French constitution.

Technically, France has never had a first lady, although the position as the wife of the country's president is typically a costly one.

Former president François Hollande's wife Valerie Trierweiler cost the public €400,000 in 2013, public figures show.

Mrs Macron is said to currently have a team of two or three aides, two secretaries, and two security guards.

Mrs Macron also tackled the matter of her unusual relationship with the president - and the fact that she is 25 years older than him.

"With Emmanuel, I am very used to extraordinary things happening to me and I always wonder what the next adventure will be. This has lasted 20 years.

"When I read about us, I always have the impression I'm reading someone else's story," she said.

"Our story is so simple. The only problem with Emmanuel is that he's younger than me," she added. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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