The Penelope Fillon mystery


The cover story of this week’s edition of Paris-Match is a portrait of Penelope Fillon, the British wife of the French conservative presidential candidate François Fillon. The article was clearly an attempt by François Fillon’s public relations team to dampen the scandal which has dented his campaign after it was revealed he paid his wife and two of his children out of parliamentary funds for work it is alleged was never carried out. But, writes Mediapart poltical analyst Hubert Huertas, the portrait of the central but mute character in the affair has in fact simply served to increase the mystery surrounding Penelope Fillon and the unease over her image as her husband’s “mute muse”.

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She is pictured with the pope, with Nicolas Sarkozy, with Prince William, Bernadette Chirac, Frédéric Mitterrand and on the day of her marriage. It is the usual style of article dedicated to a celebrity, but one might be tempted to say it is more the proof of a life, such it is that the existence of this woman as a person has become wrapped in a sort of taboo.