• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French woman wins right to marry dead fiancé

Ben McPartland · 28 Feb 2014, 10:26

Published: 28 Feb 2014 10:26 GMT+01:00

In a few weeks time a heartbroken French woman will stand alone before the mayor of her village for what will be an emotional ceremony, the likes of which are rarely seen.

It was revealed this week that after an agonising wait the woman, named only as Pascale, from the town of St Omer in northern France has finally been granted her longstanding wish by France's head of state, to marry her former partner Michael posthumously.

The pair, who were together for six and half years, were initially due to get married in June 2012, but just one month before the ceremony, Michael suffered a heart attack and died.

Stricken with grief Pascale vowed to carry on with her plans.

“Although he is gone, he is still my man,” Pascale told France Television this week.

She decided to make use of a little known and seemingly strange French law that allows someone to marry a dead person in special circumstances.

Pascale’s job was to convince the President of France that her’s was a special case and that her love for Michael went beyond the grave.

It took four letters to the president and 20 months of waiting, desperately hoping for a positive response.

“I wrote with my heart, I went beyond just simple words and it was accepted,” she said.

In a few weeks time she will stand alone before the mayor of her town with a photo of her former partner, in what will no doubt be an emotional ceremony.

But despite the pain she will finally be able to begin mourning.

“I will be his wife, I will carry his name,” she said.

(Pascale and Michael - Photo: Screengrab France TV)

The legislation that allows posthumous marriages stems back to when a dam burst in 1959 and killed 420 people in southern France.

Story continues below…

A pregnant woman who lost her fiancé was so upset President Charles de Gaulle penned a law allowing them to be married. However, the authorities require proof the couple planned to marry before one of them died.

Despite the legislation existing for many years, posthumous marriages in France are fairly rare events, with around 50 taking place each year.

Do you agree with a law that allows you to marry a dead partner?

SEE ALSO - From pigs to trouser-bans: France's strangest laws

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Opinion - French schools
Ten ways France must fix its 'failing' school system
What must France do to fix its school system? Photo: AFP

As pupils head back to the classroom this week, Peter Gumbel, a Paris-based British journalist and author of a best-selling critique of the French school system, spells out for The Local how France must fix a national education system in crisis.

16 things you almost certainly didn't know about France
One of the most famous roundabouts in the land of roundabouts. Photo: Amy Anderson/Flickr

Here are 16 facts from the brand new trivia book "F is for France". Did you know any of them? Be honest now.

Burqini row
Bretons bathe fully clothed as Muslim asked to leave beach
Photo: Screen shot/Ouest France

Protesters in Brittany take to the sea fully clothed after video emerges of a veil-wearing Muslim woman being asked to leave the beach in Nice, despite France's top court ruling burqini-bans are illegal.

American businessman to take over French club Marseille
Photo: AFP

The former owner of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team is set to become the new owner of troubled French football club Marseille.

Why expats are still happy about life in France
Photo: Dennis Jarvis/FLickr

Despite the fear over the heightened risk of terror attacks, expats are still very much content with the quality of life in France, a new survey has shown. Although there are drawbacks as well as positives.

Calais camp 'to pass 10,000' as UK warned over border
Photos: AFP

The camp's population has more than doubled since June, police say, as French politicians again call for the border deal with the UK to be torn up.

Parisians ignore 1923 ban to take the plunge in waterway
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: See Parisians take to the biggest swimming pool in the city.

Paris restaurant owner tells Muslim women to leave
Photo: AFP

Then says sorry after provoking outrage.

British man dies in France after trying to swim Channel
Photo Kondol/ Flickr

A British man's attempt to swim to France ended in tragedy.

French anti-burqini law would create 'irreparable tension'
Photo: AFP

A law banning the controversial burqini swim wear in France would be "unconstitutional" the French interior minister has warned and would create "irreparable tension".

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,751
jobs available