Saturday 7 December 2019

A question of protocol for new first lady of France

Henry Samuel in Paris

ValErie Trierweiler, France's new first lady, is posing a protocol conundrum as she and Socialist François Hollande become the first unmarried couple to enter the Elysee Palace.

French commentators were flummoxed as to how to address the 47 year old twice divorced journalist in official functions.

Would it be, "Madame Valerie Trierweiler, companion of the president" or "Madame Valerie Trierweiler-Hollande, the president's spouse"?

Ms Trierweiler recently said she thought their unmarried status would pose no problems, bar, perhaps, a visit to the Vatican. But it could also be an issue in India, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia, experts said.

The couple have ruled out getting married purely for diplomatic reasons. "It's not something one does on the pretext of being president. The decision is ours to make," Mr Hollande said.

The start of Ms Trierweiler's romance with Mr Hollande was controversial; the pair had started a relationship in 2005 but had kept it quiet during the 2007 presidential elections when Segolene Royal -- then Mr Hollande's official partner with whom he had four children -- was the Socialist candidate.

The feisty mother of three is expected to fly with Mr Hollande to the US on May 18 for a G8 summit.

Irish Independent

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