Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle: biography, children

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Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle: biography, children
Charles and Yvonne de Gaulle: biography, children

Yvonne de Gaulle (May 22, 1900 - November 8, 1979) was the wife of Charles de Gaulle, a French general and politician. She was known as Tante Yvonne (Yvonne's aunt). They married on April 6, 1921. Yvonne de Gaulle became famous for her saying: "The presidency is temporary, but the family is permanent." She and her husband narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on August 22, 1962, when their Citroën DS was targeted by machine-gun fire orchestrated by Jean Bastien-Thiry.

General information

Like her husband, Yvonne de Gaulle was a conservative Catholic and campaigned against prostitution, the sale of pornography on newsstands, and TV shows of nudity and sex. This is how she got her nickname. She later unsuccessfully tried to persuade her husband Charles de Gaulle to ban miniskirts in France.

de Gaulle

The couple had three children: Philip (b. 1921), Elizabeth (1924-2013) and Anna (1928-1948), who was born with Down syndrome. Yvonne founded a charitable foundation to help children with disabilities. It was named after Anna de Gaulle.


Yvonne was born into a family of industrialists, was of Burgundian origin. Her distant ancestors came from Holland, bore the surname Van Droe, which turned into Vendroux. One of the founders of her family became famous at the beginning of the French Revolution.

Her father Jacques was the chairman of the board of directors in the company. Her mother Marguerite was born into a family of notaries, she was the sixth woman in France to receive a driver's license, the granddaughter of Alfred Cornot. Her elder brother Jacques was born in 1897, he later became the mayor of Calais and a deputy. Her younger brother Jean was born in 1901 in Calais, married Madeleine Chaler (1907-2000), fathered seven children and died in a car accident in 1956.

The sister of the future Yvonne de Gaulle, Suzanne (born February 28, 1905 in Calais and died December 27, 1980 in England), married on March 5, 1934 and had two children, Jacques-Henri and Marguerite-Marie.

General de Gaulle


The education and upbringing that her parents gave her was strict, but in accordance with the mores of that time and the social environment surrounding her. It was relatively easy for her. A girl from a family with such a status was definitely offered to learn how to sew. During the First World War, the children of her family and their governesses move to England, to Canterbury, separately from their parents. There, the girl learned to read from the Dominicans in Asnieres-sur-Seine.

Yvonne and Charles


In 1920, she meets Ch. de Gaulle, he was a captain, returning from a mission in Poland. Real meetingwas arranged secretly from Yvonne's family. The couple went on a date to the Grand Palace. They went there to see the famous painting "Woman in Blue". Walk, then tea. Charles knocked over his cup on his companion's dress, which was taken with humor.

Their first joint evening took place at the ball of the special Saint-Cyr School in Versailles (the future General de Gaulle studied there since 1908).

Two days later, the girl told her parents that she had met her man. They married on April 7, 1921 at Notre Dame de Calais. Their honeymoon took place in northern Italy. Three children were born from this union: one boy and two girls.

Yvonne's role during World War II

In 1934 she moved with her family to the Boisserie estate. The acquisition of this estate, surrounded by high walls, was justified in particular by the need to protect Anna's daughter from the imprudence of society. A passionate gardener, Yvonne takes an active part in tending the garden.

During the events of 1940, she plays an important role for the country. Yvonne and her children move to England and from there actively support the Provisional Government. At this time, Charles heads the association "Free France". Reports are being organized about everyday life in Paris, which featured Yvonne de Gaulle cooking or talking to her husband.

de Gaulle and de Gaulle

In 1948 their daughter Anna died. After that, Yvonne de Gaulle and her husband organize a foundation in memory of their daughter. Georges Pompidou leads it and soon becomesactually next to General de Gaulle. Yvonne later tries to convince her husband to give up politics; couple retiring in La Boisserie.

Wife of the President of the French Republic

December 21, 1958 she became the first lady of France. During her husband's presidency, from 1959 to 1969, Yvonne lived with her husband at the Elysee Palace, leading a simple and measured life. Restrained, soft-spoken in the public arena, she was nicknamed Aunt Yvonne by journalists. With her religiosity, she actively influences her husband's conservatism in many matters, she even insisted that he keep people divorced or guilty of treason away from the government.

The general, who once invited actress Brigitte Bardot to the event, almost canceled it after the protests of his wife: she refused to accept divorced people in the palace. As eyewitnesses said, she "embodies tradition, observance of moral values ​​and a sense of duty." This did not prevent her, however, from intervening and influencing the decision of her husband (who was rather against it) in favor of the future Neuwirth law, which introduced permission for the use of oral contraceptives.

A day in the life

It is known that Yvonne once painted a couple of days of her life spent alone with her husband. At breakfast she reads Le Figaro. They all watch TV together until 11 p.m. On Sunday morning, they celebrate Holy Mass together in the chapel of the Elysee Palace.

yvonne de gaulle

And later she becomes one of the first ladies who really play an important role insocial life of the country. So, in 1961, while US Presidential couple John and Jackie Kennedy were invited to France, she took the initiative to mend relations with the US First Lady. And I must say, she did it very brilliantly. Two years after the murder of her husband, Jackie, at the invitation of Yvonne, came to rest and hide from the media pressure that fell upon her.

Terror attack

September 8, 1961 there was a terrorist attack in which the de Gaulle couple found themselves. Yvonne and her husband were the target of this terrorist attack in Petit-Clamart. There were 5 cars on the road from Paris. In the cabin of one of them was a presidential couple. At 9:35 p.m., the car drove over a sandy hill, which seemed to be the most ordinary one. And at that moment there was an explosion. The fire was so strong that it scorched the tops of the trees growing along the road. The driver accelerated, pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor. He was stopped only a few kilometers from this place, the couple was transferred to a limousine, and she drove on. Only incredible luck saved the spouses. The attack was caused by dissatisfaction with the French policy in the Algerian territories.

In fact, the organizer of the assassination, Colonel-General Bastien-Thiry, did not expect to kill Yvonne, but endangered the lives of innocent people (including three children and their parents). General de Gaulle regarded this as an aggravating circumstance and refused to pardon Bastien-Thiry, who was sentenced to death by the Court of Military Justice. The officer was shot eight months later. During the events of May 1968, Yvonne accompanied her husband tohis trip to Baden-Baden.

sh de Gaulle

Retirement and death

When her husband Charles retired as President of the Republic in 1969, she accompanied him, notably on his trip to Ireland. Famous photographs of the presidential couple on the beach were taken there. Later they became famous all over the world.

Becoming a widow in 1970, she lived a quiet life, and in 1978 went to a nursing home in Paris. She died in the Val-de-Grâce hospital in Paris at the age of 79. It happened on November 8, 1979, on the eve of the ninth anniversary of her husband's death. She rests in the cemetery in Colombey, her husband and their daughter Anna lie nearby.

Remaining Information

The couple had three children. The eldest, Philippe de Gaulle, was three years older than his sister Elizabeth. Anna was the youngest. When she was born, it became known that the baby was suffering from Down syndrome. She could not eat on her own, could not speak articulately, and her eyesight was so poor that she could not climb stairs.

When the youngest daughter was one year old, Yvonne wrote that she would give all her we alth, position, if only it could help her daughter. And all this was enough for the family. Then Charles was still a colonel. However, he secured a great future for himself very actively. Actively tried, working for the benefit of the family, and Yvonne. At the same time, it is known that the father spent a lot of time with his daughters Elisabeth de Gaulle, Anna and son Philip.

So, a woman who served in the family's house later recalled how Charles, returning home, sankon all fours and played with his children, singing songs. But he paid special attention to Anna. He could postpone any business if the baby cried for any reason.

with Anna de Gaulle

The general himself noted that his daughter Anna helped him to look at the world and the people around him differently. Yvonne noted that her daughter Anna was very touching. And this, apparently, helped the future presidential couple in many ways. France soon lost the war. And de Gaulle turned to the French, urging them to continue the fight against the Nazis. He actually ended up at the head of the French Resistance. And at this time, he continued to repeat that his daughter Anna helped him rise above victories and defeats, to be stronger than circumstances. It was also a difficult mission for Yvonne.

All this time she carefully guarded the girl. She played with her and dreamed that Anna was like everyone else. The same was repeated by her husband. But already at the age of 20, Anna fell ill with bronchitis and died. Then Charles admitted that now his girl has become like everyone else.

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