Skip to main content

Home News News World

Husband of world’s only openly gay leader joins NATO leaders’ wives for historic photo

Gauthier Destenay stood shoulder to shoulder with wives including Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron.

By Will Stroude

A small but hugely symbolic moment took place in Brussels this week as the husband of the world’s only openly gay leader stood shoulder to shoulder with other spouses during a high-powered NATO conference.

Gauthier Destenay, the husband of Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, posed alongside the wives of world leaders for an historic picture at Royal Castle of Laeken on Thursday night (May 25).

He joined First Ladies and partners including Brigitte Macron (France), Melania Trump (USA) Emine Gulbaran Erdogan (Turkey), Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Ingrid Schulerud (Norway), Desislava Radeva (Bulgaria), Amelie Derbaudrenghien (wife of Belgium’s Prime Minister) Mojca Stropnik (Slovenia) and Thora Margret Baldvinsdottir (Iceland).


Destenay, a Belgian architect, married Bettel in May 2015, just months after same-sex marriage was legalised in Luxembourg.

Bettel became Luxembourg’s first openly gay Prime Minister when he assumed office in 2013, and is currently the world’s only openly gay leader.

He is just the world’s third openly gay head of government in history, following Iceland’s former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Belgium’s former Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.

Luxembourg is also the only country in the world to have both a gay Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Etienne Schneider.