Royalty and statesmen

Known for their laidback style, both men are clearly at ease with each other
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Carla's charm and style have won her many fans since becoming France's First Lady
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George Bush sings the praises of 'smart and capable' Carla

15 JUNE 2008
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has already charmed the British royal family. Now the former model has enchanted George Bush.

Speaking at the end of his visit to France last week, the US President was full of praise for the country's beautiful First Lady. She was, he said, "a really smart, capable woman.

"I can see why you married her," he told French premier Nicolas Sarkozy, to much laughter.

Mr Bush and his wife, Laura, were in Paris as part of the President's tour of Europe, which has already seen him touchdown in Germany, Italy, the Vatican and Slovenia.

Highlight of the French trip, which also saw Mrs Bush visiting artist Claude Monet's famous gardens, was a sumptuous private dinner at the Elysee Palace on Friday. Showing their trademark laidback style, both presidents opted for a more casual look, sporting black tie rather than formal tuxes. Carla, meanwhile, looked as radiant as ever in a glittering black cocktail dress.

Guests are reported to have feasted on lobsters, medallions of chicken stuffed with artichokes and then cylinders of lemon and pistachio surrounded by strawberry coulis. A 1998 Pommery Cuve Louise champagne accompanied the toasts.

Mr Bush's European tour will end in Great Britain next week. After afternoon tea with the Queen on Sunday, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown before flying to Northern Ireland.


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