France's First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has been waxing lyrical about her stay at Windsor Castle. In an interview with Paris Match magazine President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife described the Queen as the perfect hostess, who even showed the former model personally to the suite of rooms allocated to the couple and pointed out the location of their bathroom.
Looking back on her first few months in her new role, Carla said the only prospect she had found truly daunting was being in the royal presence.
The elegant brunette was "terribly afraid" of the UK state visit on which she accompanied her husband, even taking advice beforehand from the protocol section of the Elysee Palace and the British ambassador's wife. "I also tried to envisage curtsying," revealed Italian-born Carla.
The First Lady had warm words, too, for Prince Philip's easy manner and the "impeccable French" in which he addressed her as their spouses chatted nearby. "The Duke of Edingburgh explained everything that was going on," she said. "(Protocol) which must be respected to the letter became, at his side, simple and flexible."