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US First Lady Michelle Obama peeled away from President Barack Obama's European tour on Thursday, meaning she will miss the G8 summit spouses programme laid on by Carla-Bruni Sarkozy.
The French First Lady will lead a tour of food producers in Normandy before hosting an event on her new cause, adult illiteracy, but reporters will be most interested in evidence of her recently reported pregnancy.
Michelle Obama did not travel to the summit in the resort of Deauville with her husband after wrapping up their state visit to London earlier Thursday.
The president was seen kissing his wife goodbye on the tarmac of Stansted airport near London before she was driven away in an SUV, while Obama boarded a smaller-than-normal version of Air Force One alone.
The White House offered no details of Michelle Obama's programme, but she sometimes drops off portions of her husband's overseas tours to return home to be with her daughters Malia and Sasha.
On Thursday evening, Bruni and her husband French President Nicolas Sarkozy were playing host to the other leaders and their spouses for a dinner on the seafront terrace of Le Ciro's restaurant in the elegant Channel seaside resort.
On Friday she will welcome the wives of the African leaders invited to join the heads of the G8 powerhouses at the summit, before hosting a working lunch for another of her causes, protecting mothers and children from AIDS.
Neither Bruni nor her husband have commented publicly on her pregnancy, but it has long been an open secret in Paris and last week Sarkozy's father told the German daily Bild that he was expecting a new grandchild.
Bruni already has a 10-year-old son, Aurelien, from an earlier relationship with the philosopher Raphael Enthoven, and 56-year-old Sarkozy has three sons aged 14, 25 and 26 from two previous marriages.
© 2011 AFP
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