Her visit is supposed to put the spotlight on malnutrition and hunger
French President Francois Hollande’s official partner Valerie Trierweiler is on a two-day visit to India on what could be her last appearance as the French “First Lady,” although no such official appellation exists in the country’s Constitution.
Ms. Trierweiler, a journalist with the weekly Paris Match went into hospital with “a touch of the blues” following revelations of President Hollande’s affair with actress Julie Gayet by the mass circulation magazine Closer. The French press has promptly dubbed the entire affair Closergate.
In her wisdom, The French First Lady seems to have decided that a visit to India’s slums would be a good way to clear her head and leave behind the fairy tale-turned-nightmare romance she shared with the French head of State.
Ms. Trierweiler’s decision to go ahead with the visit to India as planned and never mind her relations with the President, has the Elysée Palace in a bit of a flap. Ms. Trierweiler, who on Friday left the official residence at La Lanterne near Versailles where she has been resting since she left hospital a couple of days ago, appears to be thumbing her nose at the President in a last hurrah.
“In short, she is quite insouciantly telling Francois Holland that she’s an independent woman who will do just as she likes!” a prominent French journalist told The Hindu.
A spokesperson for the charity Action Against Hunger told journalists on Friday that Ms. Trierweiler’s visit to India has been long on the cards. A source close to her office told this correspondent on the telephone: “This is her way of showing that she remains close to humanitarian causes”.
The French First Lady’s visit is supposed to put the spotlight on malnutrition and hunger. She is going to visit a slum (de rigeur for celeb poverty circuit), have lunch with a group of deprived and not so deprived women and be the chief guest at a gala dinner at the Taj Mahal Hotel on hunger and malnutrition in the world.
Le Parisien newspaper on Friday quoted Elysée Palace sources as saying: “This is madness. She has just come out of hospital and she should be resting.”
An argument brushed aside by the First Lady’s supporters, the paper says, who claim she is both calm and composed after spending time with her family.
In all probability, Ms. Trierweiler will not be returning to the Elysée Palace when she goes back to Paris. In a day marked by high drama, Ms. Trierweiler’s advocate and close friend Frédérique Giffard told journalists that the Presidential couple was “reflecting” on the next steps and that “Valerie Trierweiler will leave with dignity”. But the ferocious Ms. Trierweiler immediately spoke to journalists and sacked her advocate during an interview with Europe 1 Radio, saying, “She has over stepped her mandate. She is no longer my lawyer.”
Today the Elysée Palace is preparing Francois Hollande’s trip to the United States next month. Informed sources say he will go alone. The President who is currently calling on Pope Francis at The Vatican is expected to put an end to what has become a tradition in France. “The people elect a person, not a couple to head the French State,” Mr. Hollande has often said.