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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008, 15:29 GMT
Sarkozy 'moved' by Carla welcome
Nicolas and Carla Sarkozy
Ms Bruni has attracted much attention during the state visit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he has been "deeply moved" by the reception his wife Carla has received on their state visit to the UK.

The couple's relationship has been the subject of negative headlines in France - in contrast to the British media.

At a news conference in London, Mr Sarkozy was asked if he was worried his wife was "stealing his thunder".

He praised her "elegance" and said: "I'm proud the people have seen her for what she really is."

The Sarkozys' state visit to the UK has received blanket coverage in the media - with much of it focusing on Ms Bruni, a glamorous former supermodel turned singer.

Ms Bruni appeared on the front page of several newspapers on Thursday, with much praise for her fashion sense and "demure" style.

At a press conference in north London earlier, Mr Sarkozy was asked by the French newspaper Le Figaro about "very flattering positive comments" in the British media on the way Ms Bruni had behaved and was asked if it wasn't "a bit too much".

'Proud'

The French President said the question implied the journalist had "a very infelicitous experience" of what being married meant.

He criticised some "wretched articles we have seen in the past few weeks" - but said he had been "deeply moved" by what had been written in the UK.

Earlier this month he abandoned a lawsuit against The Nouvel Observateur over a story that he sent a text message to his ex-wife Cecilia Ciganer-Albeniz - a week before marrying Mrs Bruni-Sarkozy - offering to take her back.

The magazine apologised to Ms Bruni, but the reporter involved refused to retract the story entirely.

The couple also attracted negative headlines during their high profile courtship and marriage.

But Mr Sarkozy told the press conference at Arsenal football club he was "very proud" of his wife.

He added: "I think she has been an honour to our country, not simply because of the way she looks, but beyond that everyone understands that this is a woman who has beliefs, sensitivity, a humane person, and this sensitivity, these beliefs, this humanity, are what contribute to Carla's elegance."






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