VALERIE Trierweiler, the French first lady, has apologised for a controversial Twitter message that wrecked Francois Hollande's former partner's bid for a seat in parliament.
After a week of silence, Miss Trierweiler admitted she "made a mistake" by publicly backing Ségolène Royal's rival at the election in La Rochelle, western France. She confessed she was "devastated" by the fallout from the tweet.
Miss Trierweiler sparked a political storm last week by firing off a message wishing "good luck" to the Socialist dissident rival of Ms Royal, 58, mother of Mr Hollande's four children.
It sparked a fierce backlash among politicians and the media and prompted an unprecedented reproach from Jean-Marc Ayrault, Mr Hollande's prime minister, who told Miss Trierweiler, 47, to "know her place".
On Sunday, Olivier Falorni defeated Miss Royal with 63 per cent of the vote.
Mr Hollande, 57, who made no public mention of the spat, reportedly said the defeat was his "biggest disappointment" of largely successful elections, while his children have reportedly cut off relations with his new partner.
While Miss Trierweiler was defiant about the tweet last week, she has now reportedly said she made a mistake.
A friend told Le Parisien newspaper that Mr Hollande was "furious".
"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.
"The tweet had no impact on the final outcome of the election in La Rochelle.
"On a national level, the socialists won an absolute majority and did not lose the 40 seats that had been predicted.
"But Valerie is still devastated. She fears she has portrayed a very negative image.
"The fallout with Francois Hollande was stormy. He was furious. It's clear that it can never happen again."
Ms Royal had said she was "mortified" by the "violent blow" from Miss Trierweiler.
Quoting French writer Victor Hugo, she added: "Traitors always pay for their treachery in the end."