Hours after French President Francois Hollande announced the end of their seven-year relationship, Valerie Trierweiler arrived in the city, enjoying all the benefits of a VIP dignitary -- a limousine, a police motorcycle cavalcade and a bodyguard
She had been officially dumped by French President Francois Hollande on Friday, but Valerie Trierweiler was still afforded all the trappings of France's first lady as she was spirited out of Paris and jetted off to India.
At the behest of the Elysee Palace, the now ex-girlfriend of the French president was provided with a limousine and a motorcycle police escort to secure her route out of the city.
Trierweiler was taken to the runway at Charles de Gaulle airport without running the gauntlet of waiting camera crews. From there she flew to Mumbai for a two-day charity visit. Accompanying her on the trip was a bodyguard and her chief of staff, Patrice Biancone.
Despite her reduced status, she arrived at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in a convoy of black limousines with two police jeeps for security.
Philippe Rande of Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger), said her schedule might be changed to spare her the embarrassment of facing reporters who are likely to be more interested in her separation from Hollande than her “humanitarian mission”.
“It's hard to imagine visiting a hospital with a large number of journalists there to cover the event,” said Rande.
Time with the kids
While visiting the Nutrition Rehabilitation and Research Centre of the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital yesterday, she said, “It is very touching to see these babies weighing less than a kilogramme and with very limited life chances.”
She added, “It's an injustice because even if everything is done to make them better, they don't have the same facilities as in our hospitals.'
She also posed for pictures with patients at the Sion children's hospital. She refused to answer any questions about her relationship. Her only reference to the on-going scandal came when she said: “You see, you can't say I'm wasting public money, I've only got a bodyguard.”
In fact, Patrice Biancone, her ex-chief of staff, is also on the trip, and she said of Trierweiler: “She has not become an ordinary citizen, she is an ex first lady, which gives her a different status.”
She is also due to attend a charity dinner with 50 wives of prominent local businessmen before returning to France tomorrow and a new life as a private citizen.
Smiling and dressed in a salmon pink top, Trierweiler addressed reporters. “I feel good, I feel very happy to be here,” she told a news conference. “Do not worry about me.” Asked about her future, she said: “I’ve got time to reflect. I’ve still got a few more years to live.”