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'Very pretty' Samantha wins Barack's approval at glittering White House gala

15 MARCH 2012

It was her official debut on the world stage, and Samantha Cameron didn't disappoint, wowing with vintage elegance at a White House gala.

She also won praise from the US president himself - Barack Obama told her she looked "very pretty".  

Having turned down the opportunity to accompany her husband on previous trips to Berlin, Beijing and Brussels because of their young family, she made her mark in the most impressive of settings.

 

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Dressed in a blue Alessandra Rich gown with lace detail, at a glittering dinner for 1,000 guests, the Prime Minister's wife cut an exquisite figure.

She accessorised with a pussy bow around her neck, and further championed British fashion with a pair heels from high street store Next.

Her hostess Michelle was equally stylish in a silk bodice teal dress by US fashion house Marchesa.

The gown was designed by film mogul Harvey Weinstein's wife Gerogina Chapman – who was also present at the dinner.

But guests of honour the Camerons were the focus of everyone's attention.
 
Welcoming their friends before the dinner, the president turned to his wife and quipped: "They look better than us".

The tone of the evening struck a more serious note when the speeches came round, however.

Paying tribute to David in a toast, the US premier said: "I've seen his character, I've seen his commitment to human dignity in Libya."

 

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And he poignantly touched on the death of the Camerons' disabled son Ivan, who died in 2009 when he was just six.

"I will say something else, David: all of us have seen how you as a parent along with Samantha have shown a measure of strength that few of us will ever know".  

"Tonight I thank you for bringing that same strength and solidarity to our partnership."

Mr Cameron responded to his friend's words, praising his "strength, moral authority and wisdom".

After the speech, VIP guests, including George Clooney, Damian Lewis, Hugh Bonneville, the on-screen owner of Downton Abbey, and Richard Branson, were entertained by Mumford & Sons - a band personally chosen by David Cameron, who has their award-winning album Sigh No More on his iPod.

The folk pop quartet have made their mark in the US and lead singer Marcus Mumford is the fiancé of actress Carey Mulligan.

Barack, a man who knows his music and has shown off his vocal skills on several occasions, had added John Legend to the bill.

Apart from music, the two power couples have plenty else in common.

 

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Between their children, a shared interest in trendy clothes, and stellar CVs, Michelle, a Princeton-educated former lawyer, and Samantha, a consultant for a luxury good firm, never run out of topics to talk about.

Meanwhile, their husbands exchange banter easily - making it clear that the special relationship is alive and well.

Not since the Kennedys and the famed 'Camelot' days they presided over has the White House seen such a heady mix of glamour and power.

And those with a coveted invite could hardly hide their excitement.

Beforehand, Damian Lewis, the star of Homeland, apparently a favourite drama with America's commander-in-chief, said: "I'm going to fly to Washington, have dinner and fly back.

"There will probably be a thousand of (the president's) closest friends, but I don't care. I'm going."

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