First Lady is an unofficial title used for the wife of a
non-monarchical head of state or chief executive. The term is
also used to describe a woman seen to be at the top of her profession
The term is often used to a non-monarchical heads of state or chief
executives who don't have that kind of style in their own country.
Some countries have a title, official or unofficial, that is or can be
translated as first lady. The title is not normally used for the
wife of a head of government who is not also head of state.
First Gentleman is the male equivalent of the title in countries where
the head of state's spouse has been a man, such as the
Malta. While there has never been a male spouse of a U.S. President,
"First Gentleman" is used in the
United States for the husband of a
In the United States, collectively, the President of the United States
and his spouse are known as the First Couple and, if they have
children, they are usually referred to as the First Family.[citation
2.8 Czech Republic
2.13 Republic of Ireland
2.16 New Zealand
2.21 South Korea
2.23 Trinidad and Tobago
United States of America
3 Non-spousal uses
4 Apolitical uses
5 See also
7 Further reading
8 External links
First Lady seems to have originated in the United
States, where one of the earliest uses in print, in 1838, was in
reference to Martha Washington. Other sources indicate that, in
Zachary Taylor called
Dolley Madison "first lady" at
her state funeral, while reciting a eulogy written by himself; but no
copy of that eulogy has been found.
The wife of the current
President of Armenia
President of Armenia is referred to as
"Հայաստանի Առաջին տիկին", which translates as
(among other things) "
First Lady of Armenia".
The wife of the current
President of Azerbaijan
President of Azerbaijan uses the term "Birinci
The wife of the
President of Brazil
President of Brazil is called "Primeira-Dama".
The wife of the
President of Bulgaria
President of Bulgaria is called "Първа дама".
The term "Lok Chumteav" is used.
The term "Primera Dama" is used.
The terms Supruga Predsjednika Republike (
Wife of the President of the
Republic) or Suprug Predsjednice Republike (Husband of the President
of the Republic) are most commonly used in Croatia, while the terms
Prva dama (First Lady) and Prvi gospodin (First Gentleman) are rarely
used, except by foreign sources. The current husband of the President
of Croatia is Jakov Kitarović.
The wife of the Prime Minister has occasionally, in exceptionally rare
cases, also been referred to as the
First Lady of Croatia, however as
the spouses of Prime Ministers have often maintained a low profile and
have almost never been public figures, the title Supruga Predsjednika
Wife of the Prime Minister) has been used in cases when such a
reference is needed. The current wife of the Prime Minister is Ana
The term První dáma is used for wife of the President of the Czech
The current first lady is Ivana Zemanová.
Following a petition against a proposed change in her status that
gathered more than 275,000 signatures, the French government announced
Brigitte Macron will not be holding the official title of "First
Lady", and will not be allocated an official budget for her
activities. In an interview with French magazine Elle, she stated
that a soon-to-be published transparency charter would clarify her
"role and accompanying resources", including the composition and size
of her staff.
Prime Minister of Greece
Prime Minister of Greece is the country's leading political figure
and the active chief executive of its government; the President of
Greece has a ceremonial role. As such, the term "Proti Kyria" is
unofficially used by the Press to refer to the wife of the country's
Main article: Spouse of the President of India
The term "First Lady" is less frequently used in India. The term might
be used at times to refer to the wife of the President of
newspapers; however, the more widespread term in general use is "Wife
of The President" or more informally as the President's
wife/spouse/husband. The term "First Lady" is not used to refer to the
wife of the Prime Minister.
The term "Ibu Negara" (Lady/Mother of the State) is used for wife of
the President of Indonesia.
Republic of Ireland
In the Republic of Ireland, the term "First Lady" (Irish: an Chéad
Bhean) is not used in official contexts, but is often used in the
media to refer to the wife of the President and, less
frequently, to refer to the wife of the
minister). During the first half of Bertie Ahern's term as
Taoiseach, he was separated from his wife Miriam (née Kelly) and the
First Lady was filled by his then domestic partner, Celia
The term "First Gentleman" has also been used to describe the husband
of a female President.
Leo Varadkar was elected
Taoiseach in 2017, the first homosexual
person to hold either post. However, he has said that he doesn't plan
for his domestic partner, Dr Matthew "Matt" Barrett, to fulfil First
During the administration of President Kamuzu Banda, Malawi had an
"Official Hostess" who served in the same capacity as "First Lady"
because the President was unmarried. Banda was never married and
Cecilia Kadzamira served in this capacity for the
First Lady of Maldives is used by the office of the
president, governmental offices, and by visiting
The term "first lady" is not officially used in New Zealand, but is
sometimes used in the press and colloquially to refer to the wife of
the Prime Minister.
The term first lady has been used intermittently for the wife of the
President of Nigeria. The spouse of the President has no official
title, but receives the same style as the president, Excellency. A
Shehu Shagari was a polygamist, and none of his wives
were referred to as the first lady.
The wife of the current
President of Peru
President of Peru uses the term Primera
The consort of the President of the
Philippines bears the
gender-neutral title of First Spouse (Filipino: Unang Kabiyák), and
among other duties, is host(ess) of Malacañan Palace. The title is
genderless as many Philippine languages lack grammatical gender, and
because there have been presidential consorts of both sexes.
When the official consort is female, she is known as "First Lady"
(Unang Ginang); the title has also been applied to an immediate female
relative serving in this capacity for a widowed President. There has
only been one First Gentleman (Unang Ginoó) in history: José Miguel
Arroyo, the husband of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the 14th President.
The term Pierwsza Dama is used by the wife of the current President of
Poland. The title of Pani Prezydentowa (the Presidential Lady) is
also commonly, though informally, used.
The wife of the president is called "Yoeong-boo-in"
When the wife of the president is incapacitated, the role of First
lady fell to the oldest daughter of the president during Park
Chung-hee's era. Park Chung-hee's wife, Yuk Young-soo, was
assassinated on August 15, 1974, and his daughter, Park Geun-hye
assumed the First Lady.
The term "first lady" is used by the wife of the President of the
Republic of China.
Trinidad and Tobago
The wife of the current president uses the term "first lady".
United States of America
First Lady of the United States
In American media, the term
First Lady is often applied to the wife of
a head of state in any country, irrespective of whether a different
appellation (or none) is used in that country. For example, in 1902,
the U.S. publication
Munsey's Magazine said of the wife of Canadian
Governor General the Earl of Minto: "As the first lady in the land,
she has done much to weld together the heterogeneous components of a
colonial society which includes peoples of different races and of
antagonistic religions." The term was also used by Munsey's to
refer to the wife of Mexico's leader, President Porfirio Díaz: In an
1896 piece about "The Daughters of Mexico", author Jeannie Marshall
said of Carmen Romero Rubio de Díaz: "She is still a young woman,
though she has filled the position of 'first lady of the land' for
many years, with marked success." The U.S. Spanish-language
newspaper La Prensa also called her "primera dama" when writing about
In the early days of the United States, there was no generally
accepted title for the wife of the president. Many early first ladies
expressed their own preference for how they were addressed, including
the use of such titles as Lady. One of the earliest
uses of the term "first lady" was applied to
Martha Washington in a
profile by Mrs. C. H. Sigourney in 1838: Mrs. Sigourney, discussing
Martha Washington had not changed, even after her husband George
became president, wrote that "The first lady of the nation still
preserved the habits of early life. Indulging in no indolence, she
left the pillow at dawn, and after breakfast, retired to her chamber
for an hour for the study of the scriptures and devotion". However,
the term "first lady" would not come into common use until the late
Harriet Lane, niece of bachelor President James Buchanan, was the
first woman to be called first lady while actually serving in that
position. The phrase appeared in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Monthly in
1860, when he wrote, "The Lady of the White House, and by courtesy,
First Lady of the Land." Once
Harriet Lane was called first lady,
the term was applied retrospectively to her predecessors.[citation
The title first gained nationwide recognition in 1877, when Mary C.
Ames wrote an article in the
New York City
New York City newspaper The Independent
describing the inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes. She used
the term to describe his wife, Lucy Webb Hayes.
While historically the term has generally been used to refer to the
wife of a president, there were occasions when another woman, such as
the President's daughter, has filled the duties of
First Lady as
hostess in the White House, if the President's wife was unwilling,
unable, or if the President was a widower or bachelor.[citation
As of 2018[update], the
First Lady of the United States
First Lady of the United States is Melania
Trump, wife of Donald Trump.
The entire family of the head of state may be known familiarly as the
The spouse of the second-in-command (such as a Vice President) may be
known as the "Second Lady", or Vice-First Lady. Less frequently, the
family would be known as the "Second Family".
The spouse of a governor of a U.S. state is commonly referred to as
First Lady or First Gentleman of that state, for example "First
Lady Tonette Marie Walker of Wisconsin". The practice
is less common for spouses of mayors but is nevertheless used for
some, particularly in large cities; example: "
First Lady Amy Rule of
Chicago" or "
First Lady Kris Barrett of Milwaukee." Mike Gregoire,
husband of former Washington state governor Chris Gregoire, preferred
to use his name instead of a common noun, calling himself "First
"First Lady" is also used to refer, less formally, to wives of college
and university presidents. It has even been used in
reference to female spouses of men who were chairmen of major
First Lady of Ukraine
First Lady of Ukraine is the unofficial title given by the society to
the wife of the President of Ukraine. Since Ukraine gained
independence in 1991, the post has been highly ceremonial and has
rarely played a role in social activism. However, the recent years
have witnessed some changes as Marina Poroshenko, the
First Lady since
2014, is engaged in various social initiatives, particularly the
movement for inclusive education and rights of persons with
In some situations, the title is bestowed upon a non-spouse. This
includes terms like "First Family", "First Daughter", and "First
In the past, occasionally another woman, such as the President's
daughter, has filled the duties of
First Lady as hostess in the White
House, if the President's wife was unwilling, unable, or if the
President was a widower or bachelor. Harriet Lane, niece of bachelor
James Buchanan was the first non-spouse to be called First
South Korean President
Park Geun-hye has been referred to as First
Lady to former President Park Chung-hee, who is her father. The title
was bestowed upon her after her mother's assassination.
The title was also officially bestowed on Victoria Quirino-Delgado,
the daughter of widower
Elpidio Quirino (1948–53), sixth President
of the Philippines. Victoria's mother, Alicia Quirino née Syquía,
had been killed by occupying Japanese troops towards the end of the
Second World War. While President Corazón Aquino (1986–92) was also
widowed, the title was not given to her older children who would
assist her in official duties. These included her son (and later
President) Benigno Aquino III, who was a sort of de facto First
Gentleman; his four sisters, as under their mother's presidency, now
unofficially share the duties of the First Spouse. The current
President, Rodrigo Duterte's marriage was annulled, and his common-law
wife is not qualified to take the title as they are not married yet.
Instead, he named his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, as
In 1994, Peruvian president
Alberto Fujimori officially named his
daughter Keiko "First Lady", after he had separated from his wife
Susana Higuchi.
After taking office as Puerto Rico's first female governor, Governor
Sila Maria Calderón
Sila Maria Calderón appointed her two daughters, Sila María
González Calderón and María Elena González Calderón, to serve as
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, is single, so his sister,
Esther Morales Ayma, fulfills the role of First Lady.
Following the leadership spill which installed
Julia Gillard as the
Prime Minister of Australia
Prime Minister of Australia on 24 June 2010, some news
media referred to her de facto partner, Tim Mathieson, as the "First
It has become commonplace in the
United States for the title of "First
Lady" to be bestowed on women, as a term of endearment, who have
proven themselves to be of exceptional talent or unique notoriety in
non-political areas. The phrase is often, but not always, used when
the person in question is either the wife or "female equivalent" of a
well-known man (or men) in a similar field. For example, the term has
been applied in the entertainment field to denote the "
First Lady of
Television" (Lucille Ball), the "
First Lady of Song" (Ella
Fitzgerald), the "
First Lady of Country Music" (Tammy Wynette,
Loretta Lynn was also known by the title), the "
First Lady of
Star Trek" (actor/producer Majel Barrett), the "
First Lady of American
Soul" (Aretha Franklin), the "
First Lady of the Grand Ole Opry"
(Loretta Lynn), and the "
First Lady of the American Stage" (Helen
The term "first lady" is also used to denote a woman who occupies the
foremost social position within a particular locality, in this sense
being particularly popular in Africa, where the pre-eminent female
noble in some chieftaincy hierarchies, such as those of the Yoruba
people, is often referred to by the title.
In recent years, the term has also been used to refer to the wife of
the pastor of a church, especially in predominantly black
List of First Spouses
List of first gentlemen in the United States
^ First Lady, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, retrieved 2014-12-30
^ First Lady, Oxford Dictionaries, retrieved 2014-12-30
^ Amanda Foreman, "Our First Ladies and Their Predecessors", Wall
Street Journal, May 30–31, 2015, C11,
^ First Lady, Collins English Dictionary, retrieved 2014-12-30
^ a b M., Design by Paul Andres Gomez. "'He asumido mi compromiso con
la niñez de Colombia con toda la disposición de mi corazón', afirma
la Primera Dama".
^ Collins English Dictionary definition. Retrieved 2013-12-08
^ a b Mrs. Sigourney, "Martha Washington", St. Johnsbury (VT)
Caledonian, August 7, 1838, p. 1.
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^ LLC, Helix Consulting. "Рита Саргсян Первая
леди Армении - Президент - Президент
Республики Армения [официальный
^ LLC, Helix Consulting. "Ռիտա Սարգսյան Հայաստանի
Առաջին տիկին - Նախագահ - Հայաստանի
Հանրապետության Նախագահ [պաշտոնական
^ Mehriban Əliyeva Archived 2015-03-30 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Willsher, Kim (2017-08-08). "No 'first lady' title for Brigitte
Macron after petition over her status". The Guardian.
ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-17.
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First Lady Sabina Higgins wears 100% Irish during historic visit -
^ Archives, RTÉ (5 July 2012). "RTÉ Archives".
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^ "Step forward Fionnuala -- Taoiseach's wife and his perfect partner
as he runs country - Herald.ie".
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Leo Varadkar doesn't plan 'first gentleman' role for
partner". The Irish News.
Leo Varadkar opens up about bridging the miles with FaceTime as his
boyfriend Matt moves to the US - Independent.ie".
^ "'Matt makes me a better man' - Leo Varadkar's most revealing
interview - Independent.ie".
Leo Varadkar 'very much in love' as partner jets to US to take up
medical fellowship". 25 June 2017.
^ "How Is It Going To Be For Leo Varadkar's 'Silent Partner' Dr.Matt
Barrett". 3 June 2017.
^ "Mystery of the Banda millions". BBC News. 2000-05-17.
^ "Cecilia Kadzamira-Malawi's First Lady".
^ The Office of the President, statement by The President of the
Republic of Maldives, 02 January 2014
^ "President Yameen and
First Lady meet Sri Lankan President and First
Lady - Maldives High Commission - London - Maldives in the UK and
^ "First ladies of Pakistan, Maldives visit Bhaktapur, My Republica,
Nov 28, 2014".
^ PM's Trade Mission 2013 Archived 2015-01-22 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Hanging out with the political Wags, stuff.co.nz, 2 November 2011.
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Colourful Brilliance, Gaudy Rays". Thisday. AllAfrica.com. Archived
from the original on 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
^ "Primera Dama: "Comencemos a formar una sociedad con valores" -
Presidencia". Archived from the original on 2014-02-26.
^ www.ideo.pl, ideo -. "Oficjalna strona Prezydenta Rzeczypospolitej
Polskiej / Pierwsza Dama / Aktywność Pierwszej Damy".
^ McDonald, Charlotte. "Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - Visit by
Taiwan's First Lady".
^ "The First Lady's Profile – The Office of the President of the
Republic of Trinidad and Tobago".
^ "In The Public Eye: The Governor-General of Canada", p. 684.
^ Jeannie A. Marshall, "The Daughters of Mexico"
^ "Domincales", La Prensa, 19 September 1917, p. 4
^ "First Family — Definitions from Dictionary.com".
dictionary.com. Retrieved 2007-07-19. 2. The family of the chief
executive of a city, state, or country.
^ "First Gentleman – What's in a Name?". State of Michigan. Archived
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^ "Maryna Poroshenko: The level of inclusion in education is an
indicator of the state development degree". President of Ukraine.
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framework of #накавуздругом social initiative". President
of Ukraine. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
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Our Future Together. Institute for Corean-American Studies, Inc.
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box? The abuses of the English language that readers hated most have
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^ DuBois, Joshua. First Ladies of the Church. The Daily Beast,
Bailey, Tim. "America’s First Ladies on Twentieth-Century Issues: A
Common Core Unit", History Now 35 (Spring 2013) online, curriculum
unit based on primary sources
Berkin, Berkin, ed., "America's First Ladies", History Now 35 (Spring
2013) online; popular essays by scholars
Burns, Lisa M. (2008). First Ladies and the Fourth Estate: Press
Framing of Presidential Wives. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University
Press. ISBN 978-0-87580-391-3
Caroli, Betty Boyd (2010). First ladies : from Martha Washington
to Michelle Obama. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
Horohoe, Jill, “First Ladies as Modern Celebrities: Politics and the
Press in Progressive Era” (PhD dissertation, Arizona State
University, 2011). DA3452884.
Lugo-Lugo, Carmen R. and Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo. "Bare Biceps and
American (In) Security: Post-9/11 Constructions of Safe(ty), Threat,
and the First Black First Lady", Women's Studies Quarterly (2011) 39#1
pp 200–217, on media images of Michelle Obama
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Scholarship", Presidential Studies Quarterly (2003) 33#2 pp 423–441.
Current First Ladies (biographies and photo profiles)
First Ladies and Gentlemen by country
Trinidad and Tobago
List of spouses of heads of state
List of spouses of h