28 MARCH 2008

As he gently shared a kiss with his new wife Carla Bruni during a quiet moment on a boat trip to Greenwich on Thursday, French president Nicolas Sarkozy's feelings for the former model were crystal clear.

And as the couple's two-day state visit to the UK drew to a close, Mr Sarkozy made his feelings public, too. At a press conference marking the end of the pair's official stay in Britain he revealed he was "deeply moved" by the reception his new bride had received in Britain.

"I am proud that the people have seen her for what she is," declared a visibly emotional Mr Sarkozy. "I think she has been an honour to our country, not simply because of the way she looks... Everyone understands and has seen a woman who has beliefs, sensitivity, who is a humane person."

The couple's high-profile, whirlwind romance - they wed 11 weeks after meeting at a Paris dinner party last year - has lead to some negative press in their French homeland. In the UK, however, Mrs Sarkozy has come in for praise for the way in which she has fulfilled the role of France's First Lady.

Earlier in the day, eschewing the grey outfits of Wednesday, she donned a tailored violet coat for a Downing Street visit to Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah. And she was equally impeccable at Thursday night's banquet at the Guildhall, turning heads in a strapless John Galliano for Christian Dior gown in burgundy silk.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The French president and his new wife share a romantic moment on the Thames on day two of their official state visit to the UK Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
At a banquet thrown in the couple's honour on Thursday evening, the former model once again proved her style credentials in a burgundy Dior gownPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Visiting Downing Street on Thursday, Carla had moved on from the sedate outfits of the previous day - stepping out in a chic violet coatPhoto: © Getty Images
You're on HELLO!'s global site. Click to return to HELLO! India Go back