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Talk about a contrast.
As Carla Bruni-Sarkozy went through her official duties as French first lady here Wednesday, even the most ardent Brit must have been wondering what happened in the chic stakes. Bruni-Sarkozy may have landed at Heathrow wearing a gray Christian Dior calf-length dress and Dior's new Babe handbag, which made the former model look more Ma'am than Madame, but the second she stood beside Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall — and later, Queen Elizabeth II — it became clear that, even when they're trying to be sedate, French chic is au naturel.
And that was what she was all over the British tabloids and in British GQ, as the Brits greeted her in their inimitable way. But all that seemed to fade away the second Bruni-Sarkozy and her husband, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, stepped off the plane, where they were greeted by Prince Charles and Camilla (in some strange feathered hat) and then whisked off to Windsor.
The day was a blur of official appointments — including lunch with the Queen, a visit to Westminster Abbey, and an address by Sarkozy to both houses of Parliament.
For lunch, Bruni-Sarkozy wore a ribbed wool Ottoman gray suit, and for her visit to the houses of Parliament, she wore a light gray wool jersey dress with a navy wool coat.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Queen gave Sarkozy the title of Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, an honor previously given to other world leaders.