Macron's ex-teacher wife hoping to become France's next first lady at the age of 64

Macron's ex-teacher wife hoping to become France's next first lady at the age of 64
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Donia Al watan
France's next first lady could be a grandmother of seven who is 25 years older than her husband – and taught him at school when he was only a teenager.

Brigitte Trogneux, now 64, was once the drama coach of centre-Left candidate Emmanuel Macron, 39, who exit polls predicted will be the next president.

Miss Trogneux last night stood by her husband waving and grinning broadly after he won first place ahead of National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the first round of the country's presidential elections. 

Speaking after France's two main parties were kicked out of the election race, Mr Macron, who achieved 23.75 per cent of the vote compared to Le Pen's 21.53 per cent, said: 'We have turned a page in French political history.'

The result of the second round vote on May 7 will have major implications for Britain and its departure from the EU. Miss Le Pen wants to completely renegotiate France's relationship with Brussels while Mr Macron wants closer links. 

Macron and Trogneux are likely to be the next residents at the Elysee Palace with Macron becoming the youngest leader of France in modern history.

They first met when Mr Macron was 15 – and he later made a startling promise to his teacher.

'At the age of 17, Emmanuel said to me, 'Whatever you do, I will marry you!',' Miss Trogneux told Paris Match magazine last year.

The relationship started after Mr Macron acted in Miss Trogneux's theatre pieces when he was aged just 18 at a private Jesuit school in Amiens, northern France.

Then Brigitte Auziere, a married mother of three, she was supervising the drama club. Mr Macron, a literature lover who wanted to be a novelist, was a member.

He later moved to Paris for his last year of high school. At that time, he recalled, 'we called each other all the time, we spent hours on the phone, hours and hours on the phone'.

For her part, Miss Trogneux recalled in a television documentary: 'Little by little, he overcame all my resistances in an unbelievable way, with patience.' 

She also said: 'He wasn't a teenager. He had a relationship of equals with other adults.'

She eventually moved to the French capital to join him, and divorced her husband. They have been together ever since.

The couple finally married in 2007 – although she did not take his name – and Miss Trogneux is now campaigning by his side. 'I don't hide her,' Mr Macron told a French TV channel this week. 'She's here in my life, she has always been.'

During a speech last month, the pair kissed on stage with Mr Macron telling supporters: 'I owe her an enormous amount because she has contributed to make me the person I am.'

He told of how his wife would never be 'behind him', adding: 'If I'm elected – no, sorry, when we are elected – she will be there, with a role and a place.'

Mr Macron studied Philosophy at Paris Nanterre University, and attended France's elite Ecole Nationale d'Administration for graduate school.

After working as a public servant for a few years, he became an investment banker at Rothschild.

He rapidly climbed the career ladder, earning millions, before becoming an economic advisor to Francois Hollande's presidency in 2012 and then economy minister two years later. 

In a further colourful development, in February Mr Macron was unexpectedly forced to deny a gay extramarital affair. Political rivals had alleged he was backed by a 'gay lobby'.

Mr Macron laughed off rumours of a homosexual relationship with Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gallet, during a meeting with activists from his En Marche movement during the campaign.

'If you're told I lead a double life with Mr Gallet it's because my hologram has escaped,' he said, in a reference to a rival candidate making an earlier appearance as a hologram.

A spokesman for Mr Macron confirmed the comments were 'a clear denial of the rumours'.