Dressed in a bright peach blouse and slick black trousers, former French first lady Madame Valerie Trierweiler (48) put up a brave face and addressed a packed house of journalists at Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Colaba on Monday. Trierweiler made her first public appearance in Mumbai, after President Francois Hollande (59) declared that the couple had officially separated earlier on Saturday in Paris.
Trierweiler is on a three-day fleeting trip to Mumbai representing the international non-profit Action Against Hunger (ACF).
She clarified that her trip to Mumbai was planned six months ago, while she was still the French first lady. The French President broke up with her last week. “I have been working with ACF on issues related to malnutrition since 2011. Every thirty seconds an Indian child dies of malnutrition. I have three children from my previous marriage and I feel no child should suffer this fate. This trip was long due and I would have not missed this for anything in the world. I feel that being useful to others is the most fulfilling feeling,” said Trierweiler.
This is Trierweiler’s third visit to Mumbai. “I came to the city for the first time as a journalist with former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin’s entourage. For the second time, I visited the city with President Hollande as the first lady. This time around I have come for a cause,” she said.
Trierweiler very strongly ascertained her independence and said that she will continue being a proactive humanitarian even after her office as a first lady is officially eliminated on Wednesday. “I have stayed on as a first lady for nineteen months. I have discovered situations, people and a side to myself that I have ignored before. I have been useful to others in my capacity during this time and I will continue to do so in future,” she said.
French journalists asked her a slew of queries which were replied by her in French. Representatives escorting Trierweiler refused to translate the interaction about her personal life into English. Trierweiler seemed exasperated at a flurry of questions aimed at her after her term as official first lady ends. When asked as to how she feels now that she is no more the first lady she quickly sought control of her emotions and patiently concluded, “I still have many years ahead of me. I foresee my future quite well. Don’t worry about me.”
Hollande and Trierweiler were seeing each other since the past seven years.
She was officially designated as the first lady of France close to a year and a half ago. Hollande separated with his partner of many years Trierweiler, days after rumours of his alleged affair with French actress Julie Gayet (41) came to fore.On Monday morning, she visited the paediatric ward of BMC-run Sion Hospital where studied issues plaguing malnourished children in Mumbai slums. She was seen examining and tasting food products which are being fed to improve the condition of malnourished children. She later inaugurated Fight Hunger Foundation, an Indian NGO which has partnered with ACF to tackle malnutrition in India. Later in the evening, she attended a gala fund raising dinner for Fight Hunger Foundation before flying back to France on Tuesday, now in the capacity of a private civilian.