Emmanuel Tache de la Pagerie, 47, was one of dozens of Rassemblement National candidates voted into the National Assembly on Sunday, with his official ID verified and approved by the local authorities in the southern city of Marseille.
Born Emmanuel Tache in the working-class Paris suburb of Montreuil, he told Le Monde newspaper this week that he added “de la Pagerie” to his passport 30 years ago, when he worked in fashion and broadcasting before entering politics.
While not illegal under French law, the borrowed or suspect use of aristocratic surnames can be a prickly subject.
Critics of former president Valery Giscard d’Estaing sniped about his grandfather’s opportunistic acquisition of the noble-sounding “de” (“of”) particle, though few ever did for fellow commoner Charles de Gaulle.
The male line of the Tascher de la Pagerie family died out in 1993, but three of his descendants sued the deputy this week after learning their historic name had been appropriated.
“We have filed a complaint to protect the family name,” Frederic Pichon, a lawyer for the three women, told AFP, adding that a date for hearings would be set on July 8.
They are seeking a symbolic one euro in damages, and a fine of €500 per day if Emmanuel Tache continues to use their name.
“The fact that he’s in Rassemblement National, or France insoumise, or La République En Marche isn’t the problem,” he said, referring to the far left and the centrists of President Emmanuel Macron.
He said the aristocratic name was rare and noted “a risk of confusion in the eyes of the public,” even if the Tache/Tascher spellings are different.
“My clients are from Normandy but live in Paris, and are the sole heirs to have this name since the death of their father in 1993 — and one of his final
wishes was that his name be protected,” Pichon said.
Emmanuel Tache de la Pagerie did not respond to requests for comments, but told Le Monde that having just been elected, “I don’t have time to waste on this type of stuff”.