The German Chancellor is preparing to step down later this year, having long since consolidated her position as one of the world’s most successful political leaders.
During her tenure, she dealt with five British prime ministers, four French presidents and seven Italian prime ministers. When President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday, he will be the fourth U.S. Commander-in-Chief she has worked with.
Yet despite her background, Merkel, leader of the world’s fourth-largest economy, has spent much of her political career proving herself.
When she became the first woman to hold the prominent position in Germany in 2005, many deemed her too inexperienced and uncharismatic to last.
Bild, Germany’s most widely read newspaper, marked the occasion with a front page photo and a headline titled “Miss Germany!” Even within her own party she was called “das Mädchen”, in German for “the girl”.
But as other leaders came and went in the years that followed, Merkel endured,…
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