German Election: Doris prepares for life out of the limelight

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The Independent Online
SHE WAS by his side on Sunday night, stepping up for a rare appearance of the limelight as her husband milked the adulation. Doris Schroder-Kopf, Germany's First Lady, has not had much time to get used to her new role, and the country may need some time to become accustomed to her.

For one thing, she is one of the youngest wives to enter the Chancellery, and unlike previous incumbents, she does not easily conform to the role expected of her.

Ms Kopf, 34, has been married to Mr Schroder for only a year. They were wed a few weeks after the politician got his divorce from his third wife, Hiltrud. A divorced journalist who brought up her daughter, now aged seven, alone, the new First Lady might have become a role model for a generation of German women.

Asked yesterday if she had any political ambitions, Ms Kopf said that, unlike Hillary Clinton, she was not interested. "I have another profession. I am a journalist," she said.

But when Mr Schroder started campaigning in the summer, his wife decided to give up her job at a radio station and to concentrate on looking after the household. The Schroders live in a small attic flat in Hannover.

Despite her husband's campaign as a force for change, Ms Kopf so far fits the traditional German mold of the self-effacing politician's wife, unlike Hiltrud, who was for ever spearheading causes and courting publicity.

Ms Kopf is intent on shielding herself and her daughter from prying eyes.

The family will not even be moving to Bonn. Ms Kopf will follow her husband to Berlin when he takes the government there next year.