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Paper Monitor

10:55 UK time, Thursday, 27 March 2008

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Rarely has the world of diplomacy made such a splash on Her Majesty's Press, even less so a state visit which does not include a US president. But that's Mr Sarkozy's genius in marrying Carla Bruni, a former supermodel no less. Glowing coverage guaranteed.

So glowing is the Daily Telegraph that one wonders how Private Eye will manage to satirise it - it already reads like it's a joke, including the front page teaser: "Is Carla the new Diana? p25".

The paper might have a point, actually, since the litmus test for Dianahood - a Daily Express splash - proves positive, with a full elegant front page picture. Pages 28 and 29 of the Express go on to answer the question, should one be asking, of what the French First Lady would look like in a bikini.

Mr Sarkozy also gets a look in, but not always in the way he might have wanted. Everyone, even the Indie and the Guardian, point out that while Mrs wore flat shoes, her shorter husband wore generous heels. Or as the Sun had it, "Heel-o and welcome to the UK, Carla...who's the little fella?"

The Sun says that while M Sarkozy is 5ft 5in, Mme is 5ft 9in. The Daily Mirror thinks she's 5ft 11in (and other reports put Mr Sarkozy at 5ft 6in), but what's a few inches between such good pals as les grenouilles and les rosbifs?

The Telegraph does its appointed job for the nation in warming the hearts of royalists everywhere. Her Majesty rose above the whole heel issue. Just relish these three paragraphs from pensman Andrew Gimson.

"Despite his best attempts including the stacked heels he was wearing, it was impossible for the President to avoid looking somewhat diminutive.

"The guardsmen naturally towered over him in the bearskins but so did almost everyone else, including Miss Bruni, despite her tactful decision to wear pumps rather than high heels.

"Only the Queen, with her gift for putting her guests at their ease, managed to look slightly shorter than Mr Sarkozy. Not that it matters one jot to us that he is only 5ft 5ins tall. Many great men have been short and for all we know he could be taller than Napoleon."

Ahhh, feel that, middle England. All is well with the world.

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