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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)

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