World News

Thursday 31 July 2014

Don't worry about me - Trierweiler

Published 27/01/2014|01:52

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Valerie Trierweiler is surrounded by media on her visit to a hospital in Mumbai (AP)
Valerie Trierweiler, centre, is escorted by security after she arrived at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, India (AP)

In her first public appearance since the French president broke up with her, Valerie Trierweiler bristled when asked about her future during a charity visit to India and said: "Don't worry about me."

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Ms Trierweiler did not address the scandal directly during a news conference with the aid group Action Against Hunger, but in response to a reporter's question about her future life, she said she was not sure what the years will bring.

"I don't know," she said in some of her first public comments since the scandal erupted earlier this month. "I have time, there are some years to come. I will see bit by bit. For now I am not foreseeing anything. In any case, don't worry about me."

She acknowledged that her days as first lady were over, but refused to talk about her accomplishments in the role.

"I don't know if it's for me to judge, or for you," Ms Trierweiler said. "I was there for 19 months. I was able to discover people whom I hadn't known. I understood that you can be useful, and in being useful to others you can be useful to yourself."

Ms Trierweiler, 48, had spent the day cuddling children in a public hospital in Mumbai.

The former first lady arrived in Mumbai last night on a long-planned trip that has provided her with an escape from the scandal. She has been a subject of intense media interest after being treated in hospital earlier this month with what aides described as shock and depression following a tabloid's publication of photos it said proved President Francois Hollande was having an affair with an actress.

On Saturday, Mr Hollande announced their seven-year relationship was over. On Monday, the link to Ms Trierweiler's first lady page on the presidential website was shut down.

The two were not married.

As reporters followed Ms Trierweiler's every move in Mumbai, French TV switched to coverage of Mr Hollande's trip to Turkey, with one news channel showing a banner on the screen reading "First Trip of a Single President".

Ms Trierweiler, a journalist who has three children from a previous marriage, said of her India trip that it was agonising to see children suffer.

"I cannot stand that these children have fewer chances than others," she said. "We should give the same chances to all. We have (here) children who suffer from malnutrition. That is why I am here today."

After the hospital visit, Ms Trierweiler posted a photograph of a mother and child in a message on her Twitter account that read: "Alongside ACF (Action Against Hunger) in India to fight malnutrition. A child dies of hunger every 30 seconds."

She also posted a message thanking the staff of the French presidential palace for their "devotion".

Ms Trierweiler's chief of staff, Patrice Biancone, said her office as first lady would be formally ended on Wednesday.

"These last few days have been difficult. But today, she is serene," he said.

The head of Action Against Hunger said Ms Trierweiler planned to commit herself to humanitarian work.

Press Association

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