Marcos, Imelda (1929–)

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Marcos, Imelda (1929–)

Philippine politician and first lady. Born Imelda Romualdez, July 2, 1929, in Tacloban, Leyte Province, Philippines; 1st of 6 children of Vicente Orestes Romualdez and Remedios Trinidad Romualdez; m. Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (b. 1917, president of the Philippines, 1965–1986), May 1, 1954 (died Sept 28, 1989); children: Marie Imelda ("Imee") Marcos; Ferdinand Marcos Jr.; Maria Victoria Irene Marcos.

Ruled with husband and amassed a fortune through corruption and the skimming of public funds (1965–86); became first lady of the Philippines (Dec 30, 1965); legalized as head of state in event of death or illness by Presidential Decree 731 (June 7, 1975); was virtual ruler of the Philippines (after 1979) because of husband's failing health; played the US against the USSR to gain increasing aid; became legendary for her conspicuous consumption (1980s) and was associated with the thousands of shoes found in her wardrobe; with husband, tried to fight off the Aquinos and their followers (1983–86); forced into exile (1986); returned to Philippines (1991); during husband's 20 years in office as president of the Philippines, was at the center of power, exercising dictatorial powers on her own authority.

See also Katherine W. Ellison, Imelda: Steel Butterfly of the Philippines (McGraw-Hill, 1988); Carmen Navarro Pedrosa, Imelda Marcos (St. Martin's, 1987); Beth Day Romulo, Inside the Palace: The Rise and Fall of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (Putnam, 1987); and Women in World History.

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