A newly elected MP from Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party has been sued by descendants of one of France’s oldest aristocratic families who accuse him of adding their name to his own.
Emmanuel Taché de la Pagerie, 47, was one of dozens of National Rally deputies elected to the National Assembly on Sunday, with his official identity card verified and approved by local authorities in the southern city of Marseille.
Born Emmanuel Taché 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 to enter politics.
“It is quite normal in the art and communication sectors to use a pseudonym or a first name. The only restriction is that you cannot pass it on to your children,” Taché de la Pagerie’s lawyer, Alexandre Varaut, said in a statement.
He said his client’s use of the name “has been common knowledge for several decades.”
The male line of Tascher of the Pagerie The family died in 1993, but three descendants sued the MP this week, alleging their historic name had been appropriated.
The most famous member of the family was Empress Josephine de Beauharnais, who married Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796. Her full name was Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie.
Although not illegal under French law, the use of aristocratic surnames can be a tricky subject.
Critics of former President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing criticized his grandfather’s acquisition of the noble-sounding “de” (“de”) particle, although few ever did so for his compatriot Charles de Gaulle.
It was an unwelcome row for Taché de la Pagerie’s party days after it scored a major parliamentary breakthrough.
“We filed a complaint to protect the family name,” Frédéric Pichon, lawyer for the three women, told AFP, adding that a hearing date would be set for July 8.
They claim a symbolic euro in damages, and a fine of 500 euros per day if Emmanuel Taché continues to use their name.
“The fact that he is in the National Rally or La France insoumise or La République en Marche is not the problem,” he said, referring to the far left and centrists of President Emmanuel Macron. .
He says the aristocratic name is rare and notes “risk of confusion in the eyes of the public”, even though the Taché/Tascher spellings are different.
“My clients are from Normandy but live in Paris, and are the only heirs to bear this name since their father died in 1993 – and one of his last wishes was for his name to be protected,” Pichon said.
Emmanuel Taché de la Pagerie did not respond to requests for comment, but told Le Monde that as soon as he was elected, “I have no time to waste on this kind of thing”.