A question of protocol for France's new First Lady Valerie Trierweiler


John Lichfield
Wednesday 09 May 2012 12:38

François Hollande and his partner, Valerie Trierweiler, face two pressing questions which usually dog much younger couples. Should they get married? And where will they live?

Once Mr Hollande becomes President next week, he and Ms Trierweiler will almost certainly have to leave their flat in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.

They have been advised that a head of state living in a flat surrounded by ordinary citizens would be a security nightmare. They are therefore likely to move into the presidential flat in the Elysée Palace – used by Jacques and Bernadette Chirac but not by Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni.

Ms Trierweiler, 47, a journalist who is twice divorced and has three sons, insists she will continue to work. The couple have been together since 2007, when Mr Hollande ended his partnership with Ségolène Royal, which produced four children.

Mr Hollande and Ms Trierweiler have refused to say whether they will marry. Officials say that having an unmarried First Lady poses no particular problem of protocol, except for visits to the Vatican and Saudi Arabia.

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