Tuesday 17 October 2017

Family feud puts cloud on Bastille Day for Francois Hollande

France's President Francois Hollande and his companion Valerie Trierweiler (L) visit the gallery Yvon Lambert during the Avignon festival
France's President Francois Hollande and his companion Valerie Trierweiler (L) visit the gallery Yvon Lambert during the Avignon festival
Mr Hollande's eldest son Thomas
Valerie Trierweiler, companion of France's President Francois Hollande, arrives at the Yvon Lambert gallery during a day trip to the Avignon Festival

Pierre Dubois in Paris

Military jets trailing exhaust in the red, white and blue of the French flag opened Francois Hollande's first Bastille Day parade as president and jumpers gliding in on parachutes in the same patriotic colours ended it, thumping down on Paris's famed Champs-Elysees in front of the new French leader.

However, a family feud involving Mr Hollande's current partner, his former partner, his son and an apparently vindictive tweet has hung like a dark cloud over his big day.

First lady Valerie Trierweiler, pictured left, watched the parade from the first row on Saturday -- but she and other companions of dignitaries sat separate from their partners, as in years past. Ms Trierweiler sparked a furore with the tweet saying she was supporting the rival of Segolone Royal, Mr Hollande's former partner.

According to behind-the-scenes reports in the media, both Mr Hollande and his children were furious, but all sides moved into a damage-control operation and kept the feud under wraps.


Ms Trierweiler has since kept a low profile. She was notably absent when Mr Hollande visited Queen Elizabeth II this week in London.

The Twitter account of Mr Hollande's eldest son Thomas reads discreetly: "I don't plan on tweeting for the moment."

A low profile was maintained until last week when the 27-year-old Thomas broke his silence, speaking out against his father's companion's actions to the newsweekly 'Le Point', published last Wednesday.

"I knew that something could come from (Valerie) one day, but not such a big knock. It's mind-blowing," he was quoted as saying.

"It upset me for my father. He really hates it when his private life is spoken about. It destroyed the 'normal' image he'd built up."

The Elysee tried to defuse the comments, saying last Friday that they were made during a "personal interview".

Thomas Hollande has said some comments were taken out of context.

Irish Independent

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