The State visit to Britain by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni drew widespread attention not the least from the massed ranks of photographers and televison crews keen to record the couple’s every step.  No cliche was left unturned as members of the press vied with one another to describe their partnership.

But… a state visit by a French President would always draw interest, and with the added glamour angle you had a winning formulae.  The drab world of formal visits was to be given a makeover - I for one hoped so. In my view, the visit was not so much a breath of fresh air blowing away the cobwebs, but a mix of contrasting elements standing together. With this visit we hoped to  see contrasts of age, style and appearance. In addition the sense of anticipation was heightened because the people involved represented the historic differences between the English and the French. Would they come together in a new entente cordiale? Would the charge be led by the French President? Not on your life, it was led by his wife, the amabassador extraordinaire.

Did Carla Bruni-Sarkozy disapoint? Here are the photographs, judge for yourselves.

(Apologies for the cliches and metaphors – all of them mixed)

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France’s first lady Carla Bruni is off to a good start as she rides in a carriage with Britain’s Prince Philip on route to Windsor Castle. Photograph by: Darren Staples

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Bruni rides in a carriage on route to Windsor Castle.    Photograph by: Darren Staples