28 APRIL 2009 When two European style queens came face to face what would normally be a rather businesslike state visit bore all the hallmarks of a couture parade.
Accompanying her French president husband on tour in Spain, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy unveiled a dazzling series of outfits from her 'Parisian chic' wardrobe, only matched for elegance by that of the country's Crown Princess Letizia.
In a beautifully-cut velvet evening gown by Christian Dior featuring a high neck and low back, former Italian model Carla wowed the august assembly during a glittering white tie gala dinner at Madrid's historic Royal Palace.
Letizia, on hand to help her in-laws King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, and husband Felipe with hosting duties, showed why her name has become a byword for style in her homeland since she wed the crown prince.
The slender brunette stood out in a silver shuntung silk affair, with crystal embellishment at the neck and a mini-train adorned with faux gems. Her stunningly regal look was topped off with a tiara loaned by her mother-in-law, which she wore on her wedding day.
Earlier in the day at the Zarzuela Palace, the official residence of the Spanish royals, the two ladies proved in sync again by stepping out in similar fitted dresses.
Carla, a supreme judge of occasion, wore a cobalt blue design by Christian Dior for the lunch date, while the 36-year-old Spanish princess opted for a grosgrain plum shift by one of her favourite local designers Felipe Varela.
Letizia was in towering heels as is her habit, a reflection of her husband's 6ft 2in stature; their guest, meanwhile, slipped into a pair of Christian Louboutin kitten heels that were a tad higher than her usual ballet flats.