Trierweiler to visit India despite split with Hollande: charity
Valerie Trierweiler will go ahead with a two-day trip to Mumbai that is being organised by 'Action Against Hunger' - by Miguel Medina
Trierweiler was going ahead with the trip to promote a French charity, the official said on Sunday, in her first public appearance since it emerged that Hollande was having an affair with a French actress.
She was set to arrive in the financial hub Mumbai for the long-planned two-day trip organised by Action Against Hunger (Action Contre la Faim, ACF), despite no longer being France's First Lady.
"There is no doubt about her coming," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that the charity was however "working on different assumptions" -- meaning her schedule in India may change.
Airport sources in Paris confirmed she boarded her flight and was expected to arrive in Mumbai around midnight on Sunday.
Hollande, 59, told AFP on Saturday he has split with longstanding partner Trierweiler, 48, after revelations earlier this month in the French press of his affair with actress Julie Gayet.
Trierweiler was hospitalised for a week after news broke of Hollande's involvement with the 41-year-old Gayet, and she had since then been holed up in a presidential retreat outside Paris.
Trierweiler, who was treated in hospital for a bout of "tiredness" brought on by the scandal, had been invited to India in her official capacity, ACF has said.
The charity is paying for the trip, which is financed mostly by private Indian partners.
In Mumbai Trierweiler will visit a hospital where ACF has a feeding project for malnourished children and witness a training programme for medical staff, the charity has said.
She will lunch with the wives of top local businessmen and attend a charity gala dinner at the city's luxury Taj Mahal hotel where she is also staying.
The dinner has been organised to promote ACF's local charity partner Fight Hunger Foundation, with Trierweiler the guest of honour and a list of sponsors including Moet and Chandon.
She will be shown around the city by French actress Charlotte Valandrey, who is involved in the cause of promoting organ donations and transplants.
The trip is expected to generate intense press interest given the scandal and her refusal so far to speak about it. A press conference is planned for Monday but Trierweiler herself may not address the media, ACF has said.
Trierweiler visited India in February last year when, accompanied by the president, she visited a shelter for street children in New Delhi and spoke of her desire as First Lady to become a champion of children's rights.
India at the time decided to treat Trierweiler as if she were Hollande's wife, resolving a potential protocol headache in the conservative country.
Trierweiler is a glamorous, twice-divorced career journalist who has three children of her own and had been Hollande's partner for the best part of a decade.
Hollande announced his separation from Segolene Royal, a senior member of his Socialist party and a presidential candidate in 2007, just after she lost the election to Nicolas Sarkozy.
He then started living openly with Trierweiler. Although she is not married to Hollande, she assumed the role of First Lady at official functions after Hollande's election in 2012.
She emerged into the spotlight before he was elected president, and warned that she would not be a wallflower, saying in April 2012: "I have character, they cannot muzzle me."
Hollande has not denied an affair with Gayet but has so far steadfastly refused to answer questions about his love life.
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