From the Viewsroom

Brigitte and Emmanuel

Sandhya Rao | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on May 18, 2017

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It’s so much more than just about the French presidency

Age is only a number, they say. And the newly elected French president and his wife, Emmanuel Macron and Brigitte Trogneux, have certainly proved it. As reports on the French election slowly gathered eyeballs, the world woke up to another unfolding drama: the huge difference in age between Macron and Trogneux, and the stories surrounding their relationship.

It was the stuff of gossip. After all, as everybody now knows, she was his drama teacher, married with three children around his age. He was still in his teens when he declared he would marry her, and by 2007, he had, after she divorced her first husband. Plus, she has grandchildren. Yet, somehow, it’s not gossip that’s caught the world’s imagination, but the romance, despite many admonishing and censorious voices and opinions on the social media.

No matter how you look at it, this is an amazing story, and a major take-down of ageists, particularly those who target ‘older women’ in general. In a special way, it is a victory for women, not only because of the support of the man, but because of the poise and self-belief of the woman. That’s how more women should be, is what you feel when you read about Brigitte.

But more than that, viewed from this distance, the Emmanuel-Brigitte relationship is a testament to courage, mutual respect and intelligence. Undoubtedly, all this comes, or came, at a price. Clearly, this was acknowledged: Macron is quoted as saying, after their wedding ceremony attended by Brigitte’s children, “Thanks for accepting us, a not-quite-normal couple.” Apart from signalling fresh hopes for Europe, do the Macrons significantly mark a change in the definition of marriage vis-à-vis social, political, economic and other considerations? At one time, the sole purpose of marriage was procreation. No longer. With that, everything changes — for the better.

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Published on May 18, 2017
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