From teacher to lover to France’s first lady

Meet ‘Madame Macron’

Lesotho Times - - International -

PARIS — The re­la­tion­ship be­tween French Pres­i­dent-elect Em­manuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux has cap­ti­vated the world.

There is noth­ing cliche about their story, which be­gan when a 15-year-old Macron took part in a school play di­rected by Trogneux, 24 years his se­nior.

Trogneux went from be­ing Macron’s teacher to his part­ner, and even­tu­ally his wife. But through each phase, she has been his men­tor and in­spi­ra­tion.

“With­out her, I wouldn’t be me,” Macron, 39, de­clared af­ter win­ning the first round of vot­ing in April.

Trogneaux — now 64 with seven grand­chil­dren — will be­come France’s next first lady. Un­like in the United States, the spouses of French lead­ers have tra­di­tion­ally held more neg­li­gi­ble roles in pub­lic af­fairs.

But there is noth­ing tra­di­tional about Trogneaux, nor her pres­i­den­tial muse. Macron has said that if he is elected, he will likely give his wife an of­fi­cial role in his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

‘Love took every­thing in its path’ Trogneux was born to a bour­geoisie fam­ily of choco­latiers, the youngest of six chil­dren. Like Macron, her home­town is Amiens in north­ern France.

Be­fore she met Macron, she was on the path to liv­ing a rel­a­tively con­ven­tional life. She had a sta­ble ca­reer teach­ing French lit­er­a­ture, Latin and drama, and mar­ried a banker, An­dre Louis Auziere, with whom she had three chil­dren.

“Love took every­thing in its path and led me to di­vorce. It was im­pos­si­ble to re­sist him,” Trogneux told Paris Match mag­a­zine in 2016.

She di­vorced Auziere in 2006 and mar­ried Macron a year later, mov­ing to Paris to work as a teacher.

Be­fore she met Macron, Trogneux was on the path to a rel­a­tively con­ven­tional life.

In 2015 she gave up her ca­reer to fo­cus on her hus­band, who was at the time the coun­try’s econ­omy min­is­ter.

In a doc­u­men­tary by France3 TV, Trogneux is de­picted as Macron’s coach. In one scene, she guides him through a prac­tice run of a speech, cut­ting in to tell him to lift his voice.

“Ev­ery night we de­brief to­gether and we re­peat what we have heard about each other,” she told Paris Match.

“I have to pay at­ten­tion to every­thing, do the max­i­mum to pro­tect him.”

Her adult chil­dren, Se­bastien, Lau­rence and Tiphaine, are re­ported to have a good re­la­tion­ship with their step­fa­ther and have been seen cam­paign­ing for Macron in Tshirts bear­ing En Marche!, the name of Macron’s party.

In fact, Macron made sure to get the bless­ing of Trogneux’s chil­dren be­fore propos­ing.

“It was a pow­er­ful act be­cause not ev­ery­one would have taken that pre­cau­tion, to come and ask us for her hand in mar­riage. I mean, it wasn’t quite like that, but he did want to know if this was some­thing we could ac­cept,” Tiphaine Auziere told BFMTV.

Cel­e­brat­ing an atyp­i­cal fam­ily It’s not clear when a se­ri­ous ro­mance be­gan be­tween the two, but Macron ap­peared to be a young man who knew what he wanted — at 17, he pro­fessed his love for Trogneux.

“What­ever you do, I will marry you,” he told her as he left Amiens to study else­where.

But Macron’s par­ents didn’t ap­prove of their son’s ro­mance with Trogneux. His fa­ther told Trogneux to back off un­til his son

was at least 18, Reuters re­ported, cit­ing the book “Em­manuel Macron: A per­fect young man,” by Anne Fulda.

“No­body will ever know at what mo­ment our story be­came a love story. That be­longs to us. That is our se­cret,” Trogneux was quoted as say­ing.

Philippe Bes­son, a friend of the cou­ple, ac­knowl­edged that not ev­ery­one was so ac­cept­ing of their re­la­tion­ship.

“They both had to face hos­tile looks, even

the re­luc­tance of their re­spec­tive fam­i­lies and also the view of our so­ci­ety about the age dif­fer­ence,” Bes­son told BFMTV.

“Es­pe­cially when the woman is older, (peo­ple are) al­ways sus­pi­cious.”

To put things in per­spec­tive, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is 24 years older than Me­la­nia Trump, but few peo­ple are mak­ing a fuss about their age gap.

Macron and Trogneux have been de­ter­mined to ensure that their re­la­tion­ship is not

painted as some sort of scan­dal.

They have made a point of mak­ing their re­la­tion­ship pub­lic, pos­ing in glossy French mag­a­zines and de­scrib­ing their mar­riage as a cel­e­bra­tion of an atyp­i­cal but lov­ing mod­ern fam­ily.

“We do not have a clas­sic fam­ily, it’s un­de­ni­able,” Macron said at a re­cent En Marche! event. “But do we have less love in this fam­ily? I do not think so. Maybe there’s even more than con­ven­tional fam­i­lies.” — CNN

French Pres­i­dent-elect em­manuel Macron (right) was a stu­dent in a school play when he met his fu­ture wife Brigitte Trogneux.

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