France’s first lady Valerie Trierweiler has admitted she made a mistake sending tweets aimed against President Francois Hollande’s former partner.
Valerie Trierweiler caused controversy when she used Twitter to publicly back an opponent of Segolene Royal in parliamentary elections in June.
Segolene Royal, the Socialist presidential candidate in 2007, is the mother of Francois Hollande’s four children.
Valerie Trierweiler told a French newspaper she regretted the move.
“It was a mistake that I regret. I must have been clumsy because this was badly interpreted,” Valerie Trierweiler told regional newspaper Ouest-France.
“I had not yet realized that I was no longer a simple citizen. It won’t happen again.”
Government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem welcomed the remarks.
“It is entirely to her credit that Valerie Trierweiler has taken the time to express her regrets,” she said according to French news agency AFP.
During the elections, Valerie Trierweiler tweeted support for Segolene Royal’s opponent, dissident socialist politician Olivier Falorni. Her actions embarrassed Francois Hollande, who had only recently been elected president.
The president had given his public support to his former partner Segolene Royal, who subsequently lost the election to Olivier Falorni.
He recently told journalist that he and the first lady agreed on everything except her tweets.
There has long been speculation of the intense rivalry between the two women.
Segolene Royal is a former leader of the Socialist Party who ran for president in 2007 but was defeated by conservative Nicolas Sarkozy. Valerie Trierweiler is a former political journalist.
In the interview with Ouest-France, she said she planned to continue working at Paris-Match – the weekly magazine where she writes an arts column. – but would abandon plans for a more high-profile television presenting role.
“I understand that being the president’s partner and working for a television channel may be problematic or even fuel suspicion for some people,” she said.
France’s President Francois Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler are living “separate lives” and could even announce their break-up over summer, GALA Magazine has revealed.
The prediction comes after Valerie Trierweiler, the partner of Francois Hollande, was attacked for sending a Twitter message supporting a rival of Segolene Royale, the mother of his four children, in parliamentary elections last month.
The controversial Twitter message was posted in June, less than a month after Francois Hollande was elected to president, causing a national outcry in France.
Now GALA Magazine has revealed that friends of the presidential couple believe they could now be set to end their seven-year relationship.
The magazine said: “Relations between them have become so tense that there is talk of them splitting up.
“These days they hardly see each other and the President is said to be thinking about leaving his partner, announcing the news over the summer before the government returns to work in the autumn.”
President Francois Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler are living “separate lives” and could even announce their break-up over summer
Francois Hollande was said to be “furious” at his girlfriend’s online antics and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault broke with protocol and told Valerie Trierweiler she should “know her place”.
Thomas Hollande, the eldest son of President Hollande and Segolene Royale, also scorned Valerie Trierweiler, confirming that he never wanted to see her again after she destroyed president’s “Mr. Normal” image.
Valerie Trierweiler, dubbed the Rottweiler, was initially defiant but apologized for her tweet two weeks after it was sent in June.
One friend of the First Lady told Le Parisien newspaper: “She knows she made a mistake.
“She did not appreciate the consequences that her tweet would have on the authority of the head of state, on the socialist party, on her children and those of Francois Hollande.”
Valerie Trierweiler also told French TV that: “I will count to 10 before tweeting.”
Francois Hollande has already publicly expressed his disapproval of the row between his current and former lovers during a televised Bastille Day address to the nation on July 14.
The President said: “I am for a clear distinction between public and private life.
“I believe private matters should be regulated in private and I have asked those close to me to respect this.”
President Francois Hollande also left the divorced mother-of-three at home in Paris when he travelled to London for meetings with both Prime Minister David Cameron and the Queen earlier this month.
Francois Hollande and Segolene Royal lived together for 28 years before the President left her for Valerie Trierweiler in 2005.
News magazine L’Express wrote of Valerie Trierweiler last month: “For her, Segolene Royal remains the object of profound and irrational jealousy that complicates political relations.
“It is almost impossible to even speak about the woman in front of her, even from a purely political angle.
Newly elected French President Francois Hollande celebrated his first-ever National Day (known outside of France as Bastille Day) as head of state on Saturday with usual pomp, military parade and flight show.
At 10:00 a.m. local time, Francois Hollande presided the military parade down the Champs Elysees Avenue, which involved some 4,950 soldiers, 368 armored vehicles, 241 horses and 98 jets and helicopters.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hailed a “national unity,” adding that the Bastille Day represented “an opportunity for the French to come together around the values of France.”
The president’s girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler, who had been keeping a low profile after tweeting her support for a rival of Francois Hollande’s ex-companion Segolene Royal in legislative elections last month, made her first public appearance on Saturday.
French President Francois Hollande celebrated his first-ever National Day
The two-hour parade was closed by a paratroop air show near the Concorde Square. After the parade, Francois Hollande was scheduled to join injured soldiers in Afghanistan to lunch.
Francois Hollande promised to withdraw French combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, two years ahead of the alliance’s plan.
However, the president said France would continue to support Afghanistan in civilian fields including health, education, culture and agriculture and also assist its defense and interior ministries in training.
“This July 14th is the last one of our combat units in Kapisa to pass in Afghanistan. Two thousand soldiers will return to their homes at the end of the year,” the president said when addressing a group of ministers and military figures on the eve of the National Day.
“It is an act of sovereignty that France has posed freely. I took this decision, in harmony with our allies, and with the agreement of the Afghan authorities,” he noted.
Francois Hollande also unveiled a new white paper on defense and national security, the fourth document of its kind for the country, which aims to “define our defense strategy and capabilities of our forces for the next 15 years,” he said.
“The objective is to ensure the long term performance, efficiency and balance of our forces,” he stressed.
In a televised interview later in the afternoon, the head of state will review his first two months of presidency, which has been overshadowed by eurozone crisis and jumping unemployment rate following a wave of job cuts in the country’s leading companies.
Wet summer weather is unlikely to dampen the enthusiasm of Parisians and visitors who turned out in large numbers to witness the annual celebration.
Gardens of the Elysee Palace will be open to visitors throughout the afternoon. Huge crowds are expected to enjoy fireworks display centered on the Eiffel Tower and across the country.
Bastille Day marks July 14, 1789, when French citizens stormed the Bastille prison in Paris, which helped spark the French Revolution.
Thomas Hollande, French president’s eldest son, has publicly attacked the country’s First Lady Valérie Trierweiler, accusing her of destroying the president’s election-winning “normal image”.
Thomas Hollande says he and his brothers and sisters have made it clear they no longer want to see their father’s partner, Valérie Trierweiler, after she helped destroy their mother Ségolène Royal’s political hopes with a jealous tweet.
Valérie Trierweiler, 47, used Twitter to express her support for the rival of François Hollande’s former partner Ségolène Royal days before France’s legislative elections last month.
Ségolène Royal, 58, went on to lose her parliamentary seat and saw her ambition to become the speaker of France’s Assemblée Nationale vanish with it.
In an interview with the news magazine Le Point, Thomas Hollande, 27, who was active behind the scenes in both his parents’ election campaigns, shatters any attempts by the Elysée Palace to paper over the domestic-turned-political spat.
“What I find reproachful about the tweet is that it put the private life into the public domain,” he told Le Point.
“It pained me on behalf of my father who absolutely detests anyone talking about his private life. It destroyed the normal image that he had constructed.”
Thomas Hollande, French president's eldest son, has publicly attacked the country's First Lady Valérie Trierweiler, accusing her of destroying the president's election-winning "normal image
During a long and bitter election campaign against Nicolas Sarkozy, 57, François Hollande, also 57, had presented himself as Monsieur Normal as a direct contrast to his predecessor’s flashy bling-bling image.
Valérie Trierweiler was portrayed as a more discreet and dignified alternative to the former first lady, supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, 44.
Thomas Hollande said his father was “stupefied” by the tweet, which was reportedly posted after his father and Valérie Trierweiler fell out over the president issuing an official message of support for Royal, who was standing for parliamentary in the coastal constituency of La Rochelle.
Shortly afterwards Valérie Trierweiler sent a message supporting SégolèneRoyal’s rival, Socialist party dissident Olivier Falorni, who went on to secure a convincing victory.
“I knew that she would do something one day, but not such a huge blow. It’s staggering,” said Thomas Hollande, one of the Hollande-Royal couple’s four children.
He said it was “only logical, no?” that he and his siblings no longer wished to have anything to do with Valérie Trierweiler, a journalist with Paris Match magazine, adding: “What matters is that relations with our father return to normal.”
Thomas Hollande, a lawyer, said he had a tête-à-tête dinner with his father who had asked him not to “add fuel to the fire” over the tweet, which caused a national scandal.
Le Point said the president was likely to refer to the tweet during the traditional 14 July Bastille Day speech, in which he is expected to clarify Valérie Trierwieler’s role.
The president’s son, however, had clearly ignored his father’s advice not to rake over the ashes of the row. Speaking of Valérie Trierweiler, he told Le Point the current situation was causing instability.
“Either she’s a journalist, or she has an office at the Elysée … and, above all, no more tweets,” he said.
He also said his mother had not abandoned her political ambitions, suggesting she could take up a government post.
“A minister? Why not, in a few months? In politics, one is never dead.”
Never far from Hollande’s side during the long election campaign, Valérie Trierweiler’s absence has been conspicuous since the offending tweet. On Monday François Hollande travelled to London to meet David Cameron and the Queen without his partner.
French commentators also pointed out that she had not accompanied the French leader to the G20 summit in Mexico. She is expected to be at François Hollande’s side during the official Bastille Day parade on Saturday on the Champs Elysées.
France is voting in a second round of parliamentary elections seen as crucial for President Francois Hollande’s reform agenda.
Socialist Francois Hollande, who was elected last month, is seeking a solid left-wing majority in the lower house.
He has promised to hire more public workers and to refocus EU fiscal efforts from austerity to “growth”.
Socialists and their left-wing allies won 46% in last Sunday’s first round, against 34% for the centre-right UMP.
Nationwide, the turnout was a modest 57%. France’s 46 million eligible voters are picking representatives for 577 seats in the National Assembly.
After the first round, 36 seats out of 577 were declared in constituencies where the winner got more than 50% of the vote. Socialists and their allies won 25 of those seats.
France is voting in a second round of parliamentary elections seen as crucial for President Francois Hollande's reform agenda
The French Senate is already under the control of the Socialists and their allies following elections in 2011.
The Socialist Party has concluded electoral pacts with the smaller Europe Ecology/The Greens (EELV) as well as the Radical Left party – with marginal candidates withdrawing from the second round in order not to split the left-wing vote in individual constituencies.
The vote is also seen as a key test for the anti-immigration National Front (FN), which took 13.6% in the first round.
The FN – which has no nationally elected representative – is hoping to take a number of seats, notably for its leader Marine Le Pen in the northern town of Henin Beaumont.
Another closely watched race will be in La Rochelle in the west. Official Socialist candidate Segolene Royal – who is also Francois Hollande’s former partner – is standing against a dissident left-winger, Olivier Falorni, who defied the national leadership and maintained his candidacy.
In a well-publicized twist in the past week, Francois Hollande’s current partner, Valerie Trierweiler, expressed her support for Olivier Falorni in a tweet.
On the right, the UMP of former President Nicolas Sarkozy has concluded an electoral agreement with its centrist Radical Party and New Centre allies.
The start of Francois Hollande’s term has been dominated by the eurozone crisis. In his month since taking office, he has taken part in a series of summits urging his EU partners to engage in stimulus spending and to consider eurobonds.
His government is due to present a revised budget plan to parliament next month.
A picture of France’s First Lady Valerie Trierweiler taken on the beach when she was just 16 year-old reveals the natural elegance that has captivated new French President Francois Hollande.
Dressed in only a swimming costume with a silver chain around her neck and a hand in her chestnut brown hair, Valerie Trierweiler was renowned for her good looks and her ambition even as a school-girl.
Old friends remember Valerie Trierweiler, born Massonneau, as a girl used to turning heads but disinterested in the attention her looks brought her.
Instead she relished being independent and was one of only a few girls at school to own a moped which she enjoyed using to get around.
Valerie Trierweiler appeared to have set her sights firmly on rising from her humble origins and putting her difficult childhood behind her.
Raised in the town of Angers in the Loire Valley, she was brought up in a council house.
Valerie’s father, a clerk, had lost a leg after standing on a Second World War landmine in 1944 when he was 12.
His disability combined with being one of six children meant Valerie Trierweiler’s childhood was not easy and she appears to have adopted a steely manner which has been criticized.
A picture of Valerie Trierweiler taken on the beach when she was just 16 reveals the natural elegance that has captivated French President Francois Hollande
However old school friends defended the twice-divorced mother-of-three who is the First Lady in the Elysee Palace to be unmarried and have a job – she is a political journalist for Paris Match.
An old classmate from Joachim du Bellay High School recalled: “She was always very attractive and very pleasant with it.
“She had a lot of ambition. She knew where she wanted to go in life. She was one of the few girls at school to own a moped!
“Life was not easy at home, being one of six children but she never complained. She does not have a bad part to her character, she just has a lot of character!
“She has been described as cold but that is not the case she is simply reserved, protective. You could tell she had a promising future,” said Florence Pellé, Valerie Trierweler’s best friend at school.
“And she turned all of the boys’ heads as well! But she wasn’t really interested in the good-looking boys. She was looking for something else, someone more intellectual, deep.
“She always had a lot of charm. And notoriety has not changed her, she has remained the same, straight-forward.”
Old friend Loick Berrou added: “Valerie was fresh and full of life. Her beauty and charm shone through.”
Another old friend added: “She loved being outside. She would ride her bike, swim in the river and help out at a local farm.
“And she also did synchronized swimming!”
Residents in Angers are proud of Valerie Trierweiler’s elevation to the Elyse Palace.
Her face is displayed on the front cover of many of France’s magazines and proudly displayed in news agents across the town.
Her uncle Florent Massonneau said yesterday: “I am proud that that Valerie has become the first lady.
“As a young woman she had it all – beauty and intelligence.”
Florent Massonneau added: “Valerie did not have an easy childhood. Her father loved her very much but he was disabled. He lost a leg in the war.
“And he died young, too young. She was not even 21.”
Florent Massonneau lives around the corner from the council house that was Valerie Trierweiler’s childhood home, in the working class district of Monplaisir.
Her mother Jeanne still lives there.
Valerie’s mother, who worked as a cashier at the local ice-rink to make ends meet after her husband died, continues to play an important role in her daughter’s life.
Valerie Trierweiler has three sons, aged 15, 17 and 19 from her marriage to her second husband Denis Trierweiler, a sub-editor at glossy French magazine Paris Match.
For the first time ever in France, the incoming presidential couple, Francois Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler, are not man and wife and the protocol boffins at the French foreign ministry are straining over an interesting conundrum: what to call the new First Lady?
Francois Hollande and journalist Valerie Trierweiler have been together since 2005; openly so since 2007, when Hollande’s relationship with fellow Socialist Segolene Royal was publicly ended.
Theirs is by all accounts a devoted partnership. Valerie Trierweiler was at Francois Hollande’s side throughout the campaign, with an office at his headquarter.
Valerie Trierweiler gives him regular advice, and is credited with having masterminded his “relooking” – the makeover and weight-loss programme that preceded his presidential candidacy.
Many will have a got a first look at Valerie Trierweiler during the victory celebrations at the Bastille on Sunday night: an attractive woman of 47 with thick chestnut hair, clearly delighted by her partner’s triumph.
Francois Hollande and journalist Valerie Trierweiler have been together since 2005
After the exotic glamour of Carla Bruni – and before her the buttoned-up correctness of Bernadette Chirac – she will offer a very different version of the presidential consort.
Valerie Trierweiler’s origins are not exactly humble, but certainly rather more ordinary than the backgrounds of her predecessors. In her own words, she comes from a family of “impoverished bourgeoisie”.
Her paternal grandfather owned a bank in the western town of Angers, but by the time Valerie Massonneau was born in 1965 the affluence had long since petered out.
Her father lost his leg at the age of 12 while playing with an unexploded shell in World War II. They lived in a council house in Angers, and her mother did part-time work as a cashier at a local skating-rink.
One of six brothers and sisters, Valerie had ambition and came to Paris to study politics. She started in journalism at the now-defunct magazine Profession Politique, and in 1989 was taken on as a political reporter at Paris Match, where she has been ever since.
Funnily enough one of her early assignments was to interview the 38-year-old Segolene Royal, who in 1992 had just given birth to her fourth child with Francois Hollande.
Segolene Royal was environment minister at the time – she was the first ever French minister to give birth in office – and spoke to Valerie Trierweiler in her hospital room.
Valerie Trierweiler briefly met Francois Hollande a few years earlier, but their friendship deepened from 2000 when they met often in the corridors of the National Assembly.
“We both loved politics, and we both loved to have a laugh,” she told one interviewer.
Today Valerie Trierweiler says she has to pinch herself to believe the extraordinary change that suddenly come upon her life.
“It’s a bit like I am the subject of one of my own despatches,” she said.
“You know that film in which a person in the audience enters the screen and becomes part of the film. It’s like that.”
Pestered by questions about how she will approach her new life, Valerie Trierweiler has said she needs time to work it out.
The couple has indicated they do not intend to live in the Elysee palace, but they have been told by the presidential security people that their current residence in the 15th arrondissement of Paris is unsuitable.
As much as possible, Valerie Trierweiler wants to maintain her previous lifestyle. She has three children by her former husband Denis Trierweiler, two of whom are taking the baccalaureate in June.
She also intends to keep on with her journalism – though she has already been obliged to give up writing on politics because of her relationship with Francois Hollande.
“It is going to be very complicated,” said the journalist and writer Philippe Labro, who gave her a job as political interviewer on the TV station Direct8.
“She is someone who has always worked, who’s come from nowhere, who’s done everything for herself. I understand her point of view, but it’s going to be very hard to keep doing that and be First Lady.”
One thing she should understand well, given her background at Paris Match, are the demands of the celebrity press – though a recent contretemps with her own employer suggests there could still be tensions to come.
When the magazine published a large and favorable photo-story about her on 8 March (International Women’s Rights Day), she tweeted: “Bravo to the sexism of Paris-Match.”
As for the protocol, no-one seriously thinks the marital status of Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler presents a problem.
Times have changed – and today being unmarried is as “normal” (Francois Hollande’s watchword) as being married.
There just remains the tricky question of what to call her. Conjoint? Compagne? Maybe. Or conceivably Madame Hollande?
Francois Hollande and Valerie Trierweiler have said they will not get married purely for reasons of protocol.