French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron attend a concert given by the Pierre Claver Association at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 25, 2017. REUTERS/Julien de Rosa/Pool - RTX3CVS7

Once upon a time France was so dedicated to the love life of its ruler that its king had not only a Queen but also a semi-official mistress, the Maîtresse-en-titre, with her own apartments and a small salary.
But now we live in a less romantic age, the French seem disinclined even to allow the actual wife of their current President Emmanuel Macron a formal role as First Lady.
The President wants his wife Brigitte, who famously met the future premier when he was her pupil at school and they wrote a play together, to take on the title, which does not currently exist in France.
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But an online petition signed at the time of writing by almost 200,000 people takes issue with the proposals.
While Macron has pledged that the position will not be paid from …