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Carla Bruni hailed as Princess Diana

Britain's tabloids hail France's First Lady Carla Bruni as a fashion queen who could be the new Princess Diana.

world Updated: Mar 28, 2008 10:49 IST
Paul Majendie
Paul Majendie

The day after splashing pictures of her naked, Britain's tabloids hailed Carla Bruni as a fashion queen who could be the new Princess Diana.

"What a difference a day makes ... and this time she remembered to put some clothes on," trumpeted The Daily Mail, which devoted a six-page spread to France's First Lady.

"Britain is enchanted by Madame Sarkozy," said the Daily Express opposite a picture of the former catwalk star turned singer arriving for a state banquet at Windsor Castle.

Tabloids had welcomed Carla at the start of a state visit with her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, on Wednesday by reproducing a nude fashion shot of her taken in the 90s. Bookmakers William Hill quoted odds of 10-1 that Sarkozy would buy the print when it was auctioned next month in New York.

Any moralistic tut-tutting by the popular press was replaced on Thursday by praise for a woman hailed as a demure model of elegance.

"A Good Night for France. The Gaul Scorers," declared The Sun in a front-page spread linking Carla's triumph with France's soccer defeat of England in Paris.

When she arrived in London, heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles had planted a kiss on her gloved hand.

"Is Carla the new Diana?" asked The Daily Telegraph. "Presidential aides hope France's First Lady will become their very own Queen of Hearts."

At home, French newspapers enthused over the sensation created by the new first lady, whose apparent ease with rigid court protocol they put down to her long experience as a model.

"The English conquered by Carla", said Le Parisien daily.

Even the leftwing Liberation daily paid tribute, remarking that Carla had delivered a near faultless performance but adding: "her husband had more difficulties with protocol."

One British paper said that in her Christian Dior outfit, Carla recalled Jackie Kennedy in her heyday, and the press adulation should help to boost her husband, nicknamed "President Bling-Bling" for his lavish lifestyle.

Their relationship had sent Sarkozy's popularity ratings plunging. Voters complained the president was focusing too much on his private life and not enough on France's economic issues.

Headlines like "Enchante" and "Ooh La La, Madame Sarkozy" showed she is very much a presidential asset as far as the British press is concerned.

Sarkozy, 53, separated from his second wife Cecilia last October following an 11-year marriage and just five months after winning power. By February he had married the 40-year-old Bruni.

Bruni had previously been linked with rock stars Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, as well as US businessman Donald Trump.