Icelanders Debate Title for President's Husband Skip to content
Halla Tómasdóttir and Björn Skúlason
Photo: Halla Tómasdóttir 2024 Facebook Page.

Icelanders Debate Title for President’s Husband

With Halla Tómasdóttir set to assume the presidency in August, there is no consensus about what title her husband, Björn Skúlason, should receive when the former assumes the presidency. “First Gentleman” and “First Spouse” were top contenders in an informal survey conducted by RÚV.

First Gentleman?

Ever since Iceland elected its first president in 1944, six individuals have held the office – only one of whom was a woman: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.

As Vigdís remained unwedded during her presidency, all of the spouses who have resided at the presidential residence in Bessastaðir have been women. These women have traditionally been referred to as First Lady.

With Halla Tómasdóttir having been elected the seventh president of Iceland last weekend, this is set to change. In light of her election, many have wondered what title Björn Skúlason, Halla Tómasdóttir’s husband, will receive when Halla assumes the office of President of Iceland in August.

Will he be referred to as “First Spouse” (Forsetamaki), “First Gentleman” (Forsetaherra), “Presidential Husband” (Forsetabóndi), “Presidential Partner” (Forsetamaður), or “First Lady” (Forsetafrú) in honour of tradition?

To gauge public opinion on this issue, RÚV conducted vox-pop interviews earlier this week.

“What should we call him?” the first interviewee mused. “Shouldn’t we just refer to him as a ‘supporter?’”

(The Icelandic word for Supporter is Stuðningsmaður, literally Supporting-Man.)

“Presidential Man or Presidential Spouse, wouldn’t that suffice?” another interlocutor wondered.

“The Chef at Bessastaðir,” another respondent noted, referring to Björn’s occupation as a chef.

No decision made by President’s Office

To delve further into this question, RÚV also conducted a small online survey.

Participants were asked to choose among the titles “First Spouse” (Forsetamaki), “First Gentleman” (Forsetaherra), “First Lady” (Forsetafrú) “Presidential Partner” (Forsetamaður), “Presidential Husband” (Forsetabóndi), or to suggest an alternative.

Most respondents chose “First Gentleman” (Forsetaherra) followed by “First Spouse” (Forsetamaki). Additionally, over 300 suggestions for an alternative title were submitted.

According to RÚV, the Office of the President of Iceland has not decided which title will be used.

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