London: French President Francois Hollande and girlfriend Valerie Trierweiler are set to marry ‘in the near future’, it has been revealed.
Presidential aides have been urging France’s first ever unmarried ‘first couple’ to wed quickly to avoid protocol problems on state visits to strict religious countries.
Advisors have warned the couple that their status may be viewed as ‘living in sin’ by hard-line states like Saudi Arabia or The Vatican.
And it seems that the pair have now decided to bow to pressure and tie the knot, France’s Closer magazine reported.
“Members of Valerie’s family have confided in us to reveal that they are planning a happy event, and in the not too distant future,” the Daily Mail quoted the magazine as saying.
“For her to become Mrs Hollande would clarify her status in the eyes of the French people and the world, though the president’s wife technically has no official status in our Constitution,” the publication said.
Hollande, 57, and Trierweiler 47, met 15 years ago at a political rally and have been a couple since past five years.
The socialist President has four children with his previous ‘live-in lover’ Segolene Royal, who he left after she lost her bid for the presidency to Nicolas Sarkozy in the last election five years ago.
Until now both Hollande and Trierweiler have resisted calls to marry.
But she is said to have changed her mind after being repeatedly asked about her status by American journalist at the recent G8 summit in Washington DC.
“They kept asking if I was actually allowed to be there. What kind of era are we living in,” she had told French newspapers on her return.
But Closer magazine added: “Her main priority now is uniting her destiny with that of the president of France.”
Nicolas Sarkozy faced the same problem five years ago after divorcing within months of taking office.
“The fact that Francois Hollande and Ms Trierweiler are not married may not bother the French. Here, public and private life are separate,” Christian Delporte, French constitutional expert, said.
“But it is not the same in some other countries, where their relationship may be viewed as sinful.”
“If they don’t marry then the same thing could happen to him as to Mr Sarkozy, where whatever his private feelings, he gets married out of his obligation to better perform his duties to France,” Delporte added.
“There are those close to Mr Hollande who are starting to advise him to do precisely this and do it within a few weeks, just to avoid any possible controversy on his trips overseas,” Le Figaro newspaper added.