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Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle’s maternal grandmother was descended from John MacCartan who was exiled from County Down in 1691 following the Williamite War. De Gaulle was a decorated officer in the French army during the First World War. He also fought in the Second World War before moving to London in 1940 from where he led a provisional government of France. Following the war, he became Prime Minister and then President of the French Republic. In 1969, de Gaulle fulfilled a lifelong dream to visit his Irish ancestors’ homeland. During his visit, he met President Eamonn de Valera. The French historian, Jean Lacouture, called them “the two fabled twins”. Video by British Pathé.

Anne Bonny