She told her family “it will be him or no one”. And in volume 1 of his memoirs he wrote “My wife, without whom nothing could have been achieved”.
Yvonne Vendroux married Captain Charles de Gaulle on 7 April 1921. She was a model wife and mother and followed him wherever his career took him.
The only time she was separated from her husband was between 17 June 1940 and June 1943 when she and the children fled to England to escape the Germans. They were finally reunited in Algiers.
Fifteen years later she became the first lady of France. Yvonne was undaunted by difficulties but she did not enjoy being a politicians wife. Nevertheless she supported him fully when he won a second seven year term. Although a dutiful wife and mother in public, she was very influential behind the scenes. “The presidency is temporary, the family permanent,” she said to Richard Nixon in 1969.
After Charles’ death in 1970 she lived a quiet life at the family home at La Boisserie. On 8 November, 1979, one day before the 9th anniversary of her husband’s death, she passed away in a Paris military hospital.
She is still revered in France as a symbol of moral rectitude and marital fidelity of a long gone era.