The battle of the French President's women, past and present, flared again yesterday with ungracious new public remarks from both sides.
François Hollande's former partner, Ségolène Royal, gave a magazine interview in which she accused the First Lady, Valérie Trierweiler, of conspiring to destroy her presidential bid in 2007.
Coincidentally, a photographic book about Mr Hollande's election campaign, published yesterday, contained captions written by Ms Trierweiler. Beside an image of Mr Hollande and Ms Royal at a rally in April, the First Lady wrote: "Yes, the man I love had a woman before me. I've learned to live with it."
Ms Trierweiler, 47, caused a storm last week when she sent a tweet wishing "good luck" to a renegade Socialist who threatened to deprive Ms Royal of a parliamentary seat. She has since said she "regretted" what she did.
In her first interview since losing at La Rochelle on Sunday, Ms Royal, 58, said she now believed Ms Trierweiler's "bitterness" explained why Mr Hollande had not given her his undivided support in the 2007 presidential poll.
Speaking to Le Point magazine, Ms Royal accused her rival of "profiting" from her job as a journalist for Paris Match in 2006-7 to begin her affair with Mr Hollande and to persuade him to take a detached attitude to her presidential campaign. "In an Anglo-Saxon country, she would have been fired the same day. But Paris Match was happy to see me undermined," she said.