politics

Why everyone's talking about new First Lady of France, Brigitte Trogneux.

The world is looking closely at the French Presidential elections. The frontrunners set to face each other for the French Presidency on May 7 are far right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron.

Macron, 39, who founded and is the leader of a year-old political party called En Marche! (translated Forward!) is receiving a lot of attention. Not just because if he loses in two weeks a far right, anti-immigration, anti-EU National Front party headed by Le Pen will change the complexion of the European Union and perhaps even world politics, but because of his 63-year-old wife.

The interest is not so much that Brigitte Trogneux is 24 years his senior. It’s where and when they met.

The couple met more than 20 years ago. Image Chesnot/Getty.

Trogneux was a literature/drama teacher. Macron was her 15-year-old student in a Jesuit college in Amiens. He was in the same class as her daughter Laurence and, according to reports, that was who his two physician parents initially thought he was pursuing.

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His parents were not happy with the relationship between teacher and student and Reuters reports that in her book Emmanuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man, author Anne Fulda says they asked Trogneux to stay away from their son until he was 18. According to Vogue they even sent a young Macron away to Paris to finish his studies.

Vogue says the relationship started at 17, not 15, and that in 2007 they married after Macron persuaded Trogneux to leave her husband - 12 years after their affair began.

Brigitte and her daughter on the campaign trail. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

The pair have not confirmed when the relationship began and Emmanuel Macron: A Perfect Young Man has also been unclear on when they began dating.

As Trogneux is a mother of three and a grandmother of seven, Macron is a step-father of three and step-grandfather of seven. His youngest step-daughter, Tiphane, works on his campaign. They have never had children of their own.

Trogneux has been known to attend meetings with Macron, advise him on speeches and policies and is very involved in his career. The man who is being touted as the next French President has been very upfront that there will be a role and a place for his wife if he wins at this election, telling Bloomberg, “I owe her a lot, she helped make me who I am”.

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In recent weeks, as the polls began to favour Macron, the French have become fascinated in the former investment banker and his older, stylish wife (who have the same age difference as President Donald Trump and his wife Melania, but in reverse).

The couple have responded to that interest by being upfront and answering questions about their relationship in profiles in April Vogue and the high-circulating Paris Match. 

Yet despite all the interviews and photo-shoots, the interest just grows.

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