PIERRE Trudeau's former wife, Margaret, was at his side with their sons, Justin and Sacha, when he died, aged 80, in Montreal on Thursday afternoon.
The woman who had once charmed a nation as the ``flower child'' who married a Prime Minister, and went on to shame him and to suffer personal tragedy, left without any comment.
Since their breakup he had lived alone, at times like an ascetic in his austere Art Deco home. At other times he echoed his rakish bachelor days and was seen with beautiful and celebrated women.
But Margaret, who remarried after her 1984 divorce from Mr Trudeau, had remained proudly marked by the years she spent with him and their three sons. When Mr Trudeau fell ill three weeks ago she travelled to Montreal to be with him.
Margaret was 22 when Mr Trudeau, the Prime Minister, shocked Canada in 1971 by announcing he was marrying a woman less than half his age who professed to no interest in politics. It was a marriage of the heart, not reason. Trudeau, regarded as Canada's greatest prime minister of the last century, always professed to believe in cold hard logic, but always seemed to act differently in his private life.
It was a fairy-tale marriage, the pot-smoking former flower-child marrying the aging old lothario prime minister. She told anybody who asked that he had the body of a 25-year old.
Their fairytale romance eventually failed and they separated in 1977, after which she famously spent the night with the Rolling Stones.
(The Times, London)