Peristera Batziana is the media-shy partner and childhood sweetheart of Greece’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras.
‘Betty’, as she is known, is the country’s first unmarried first lady: marriage, perhaps unsurprisingly, was never on the cards.
The two have kept their 30-year relationship largely out of the public eye. Unlike the first ladies that have come before her, Batziana has managed to stay away from the glamour that comes with the Maximos mansion, the official seat of the Greek prime minister for a long time. The flat she shares with her partner and their two young sons is in the heart of working class district Kypseli, in Athens.
Fittingly, perhaps, their youngest’s middle name is ‘Ernesto’.
Growing up in Thessaly, in central Greece, Batziana has been on the left since secondary school, where she met Tspiras in 1987. Like him, she took part in the student protests in Athens during the late 1980s that reflected widespread disillusionment with mainstream politicians and educational reforms.
She studied electrical engineering at the University of Patras, where she demonstrated the same strength of will in her studies as she did in her student activism, becoming involved in a court battle with one of her professors to defend her PhD.
Batziana joined the Communist Youth party before Tsipras; indeed, she reportedly encouraged him to join.