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Hollande and Royal maintained a pact of silence about their crumbling relationship _ broken only after she lost to Sarkozy in 2007. Royal then announced that she had asked Hollande to leave their family home.

Royal, who soldiered through Hollande’s presidential campaign with occasional appearances, now wants a piece of the political pie _ as speaker of the lower house of parliament should the Socialists win June legislative elections.

As for Trierweiler, she cheered Hollande on at rallies but also kept an office at the Socialists’ campaign headquarters, assuring she was never far from earshot.

And on Tuesday, she let journalists waiting outside the couple’s Paris apartment know who’s in charge with a Tweet: “I thank my colleagues for respecting our private life and that of our neighbors. Please don’t camp in front of our home.”

Some political enemies of Hollande threw darts, with a lawmaker in Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party comparing Trierweiler to a Rottweiler.

“All these attacks, one is lower than the next,” the incoming first lady lamented on Radio Hollande, a station set up as part of his presidential campaign.

UNWED AT THE ELYSEE

Some mundane problems will need to be resolved, namely where the first couple will reside. Eschewing tradition _ and the Elysee Palace _ they want to remain in their own apartment, located in a busy Paris neighborhood and said to be a security nightmare.

And how will their unwed status play to the crowd of official visitors or when traveling abroad, particularly to countries sensitive about male-female ties outside wedlock?

Will they simply break down and get married?

“This isn’t something you do under the pretext that you’re going to be president,” Hollande said in an interview with the magazine Elle. “The decision is ours.”

Trierweiler wants to keep working even though she has been booted from her job as a political reporter to avoid conflict of interest.

“Even if my press card is withdrawn, I will die a journalist. It’s in my soul,” she told Radio Hollande.

In her new role, she is walking through the other side of the looking glass, and she knows it.

“This role makes me a little uncomfortable, but I will manage very well if it is not limited just to that. I want to represent the image of France, do the necessary smiling, be well-dressed, but it shouldn’t stop there. I will not be a trophy wife,” she told The Times of London.

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