msnbc.com news services
updated 2/11/2004 10:38:03 AM ET 2004-02-11T15:38:03

Dressed in a demure black suit, a 35-year-old Frenchwoman married her dead boyfriend Tuesday, an exchange of vows that required authorization from President Jacques Chirac.

Under French law, Christelle Demichel became both bride and widow in the ceremony, which was performed at Nice City Hall on the French Riviera. The groom, a former policeman identified as Eric, was killed by a drunk driver in September 2002. Demichel, who was pregnant at the time, lost her baby in the same accident.

Demichel told LCI television she understood “it could seem shocking to marry someone who is dead,” but her feelings for him had not dimmed. His body was not present for the ceremony.

Such marriages are legal if the living spouse can prove the couple had intended to marry before the other died. The French president must also authorize it.

A 35-year-old French woman has married her boyfriend 18 months after he was killed in a car accident.

The wedding service was performed on what would have been her husband Eric’s 30th birthday.

“Eric and I promised when he was alive that we would get married,” she told French television. “Even though he is dead, I respect the values I shared with him, especially as his death was not his fault.”

“I lived a beautiful love story and this wedding testifies to it,” Demichel said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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