French President Nicolas Sarkozy has arrived for his first state visit to Britain, during which he will meet the Queen, and discuss nuclear energy, Afghanistan and bilateral ties with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
But, almost equal attention is being paid to a nude picture of the French leader's wife and the image the couple portray in England as to those other, more worldly matters.
The official trip comes at a time when both Sarkozy and his British counterpart have everything to gain from some positive news coverage.
Brown's popularity among the British public is dismally low, and Sarkozy's own constituents have grown frustrated and weary of their playboy president and his former-supermodel second wife, Carla Bruni.
Soon after landing at Heathrow airport the Sarkozys were whisked off to Windsor, just west of London, to meet the head of state, Queen Elizabeth II.
CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports, for a president often chided at home for lacking a level of sophistication deemed appropriate, the royal encounter was an opportunity to boost his stately image. If he gets it right.
The Queen was putting on a banquet Wednesday evening at Windsor Castle, where guests are expected to be well-versed in high society etiquette.
Roth reports that Sarkozy was once spotted sending a text message during an audience with the pope. "We want to see what it's like when this character meets the Queen, who is just about as stiff and as dignified and dour as anyone you're likely to meet in a month of Sundays," Simon Hoggart, of Britain's Guardian newspaper told CBS News.
The French president may be granted a touch of grace by Bruni, the Italian former centerfold-turned singer whom he married in February after a brief courtship.
Now Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy, she is highly educated and accustomed to moving in elite circles. And, in addition to French and Italian, she speaks English fluently, unlike her husband who has not mastered the language.
First reactions at Windsor Castle seemed to be good. A royal reporter from Britain's The Mail On Sunday newspaper told CBS Early Show co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez that "Mrs. Bruni looked the absolute picture of decorum."
"She was elegant, sophisticated, she really got it absolutely spot on this morning. She did a great job," Katie Nicholl said.
However, the first lady has done some things to raise royal eyebrows. A 1993 nude art-photo of taken during the height of her modeling career is to be auctioned off at a sale next month in New York City. In the black-and-white photo, she strikes a pigeon-toed pose, her hands strategically positioned below her waist.
According to Christie's auction house, the photo is expected to fetch up to $4,000 on April 10 at New York's Rockefeller Plaza.
Roth reports that the French first lady was apparently angered by the timing of the photo's emergence for sale, but the first couple has made no official comment on the matter.
As one analyst told Roth, the first lady only has to appear glamorous to reflect well on the French, which she won't find difficult. Her husband, however, has to look and act presidential, which his critics say may be more of a challenge.
Image aside, the substance of Sarkozy's state visit to Britain is highly important for the leaders of both countries, which saw their cross-channel relations deteriorate slightly under the previous leaders and their differences, primarily on the war in Iraq.
Ahead of the trip, Sarkozy stressed his admiration for what he calls British strength and dynamism. He suggested in a BBC radio interview that the two countries are ready to upgrade their relationship from "cordial" to "friendly."
The French president says he wants Britain and France to trust each other more and work together on immigration, defense and the economy.
Sarkozy and his wife were to stay just one night in England. He was to address both houses of Parliament during the visit.
He says France is committed to winning the war in Afghanistan and is willing to send more troops there, if its allies are also ready to stay, give Afghans more responsibility and coordinate nonmilitary efforts.
A commitment from France to increase its troop numbers in Afghanistan would be a much-needed boon to Prime Minister Brown, who has come under fire recently from opposition lawmakers for a series of government blunders and is still suffering domestically from the close ties his predecessor forged with President Bush.