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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 January 2021

US ELECTIONS

All the first ladies of the United States: From Martha Washington to Melania Trump

While the term was coined long after the first president took office, here's who has been the right-hand woman of the White House throughout history

Flotus will soon be in flux.

With president-elect Joe Biden set to take the reins at the White House in January, so, too, will his wife, Jill Biden, take the mantle of another of America's most famous titles.

The English teacher will become the next first lady of the United States when Biden is inaugurated early next year, inheriting the traditions and legacies of those who have come before her.

While the term first lady wasn't coined until the late 1800s, the wife of the first US president, Martha Washington, is popularly credited as the first woman to hold the position.

The first lady, however, has not always been the wife of the president, with daughters-in-law and nieces also assuming the duties of the role throughout history.

While the position has morphed during the centuries, and shifted as it has been inhabited by different women with different skills and interests, the first lady's role has long been associated with supporting the president both politically and socially, whether hosting events or backing charitable initiatives.

In more recent decades, the first lady has her own official staff and is typically expected to champion social causes close to her heart during the president's tenure.

Here, we take a look back at all the women who have held the position of first lady throughout the years, dating back to 1789.

Updated: November 24, 2020 02:54 PM

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