In her most informal interview since becoming France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has revealed that her wedding to President Nicolas Sarkozy was decided just two days in advance.
In a one-hour show for French TV, Bruni-Sarkozy also recalled that she practiced her curtsy for Britain's Queen Elizabeth with British rock singer Marianne Faithfull.
"Carla Bruni in complete freedom," broadcast late Thursday, reunited the president's wife with friends from her former careers as a model and singer-songwriter.
Guests included French fashion designers Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier, who created the Hermes dress she wore for her wedding in a small private ceremony in February.
Bruni-Sarkozy said the wedding was decided just two days in advance, leaving her barely enough time to find a dress. She said she chose the cream Hermes knee-length dress off the rack in one of the brand's Paris stores.
She revealed she was nervous about meeting the queen and was given specific instructions by diplomats on what to wear and say. She decided to curtsy to the British monarch, even though it is not obligatory for the wives of heads of state.
"I really wanted to curtsy to the queen, and we had a lot of fun with my friend Marianne Faithfull, who had already met the queen," Bruni-Sarkozy said.
"She (Faithfull) is a British citizen, and she showed me 50 different kinds of curtsies, including some that involved practically throwing yourself on the floor, and it was very funny. I did not imagine that people would talk about the curtsy that much afterwards," she added.
Bruni-Sarkozy acknowledged she had toned down her naturally playful personality because of the negative criticism she drew when she first started seeing Sarkozy.
"There was a brief period when I was trying to be serious so that people would trust me and so they wouldn't worry, so they wouldn't say: 'My God, what is the world coming to?'," she confided.
Lacroix said the television show was the first glimpse of her real personality. "It's the first time that you see her as we know her," he said, referring to the years when she modeled in his catwalk shows.
The president's wife raised eyebrows in July by releasing an album with lyrics mocking her reputation as a man-eater and comparing her lover to a class A drug. She is donating her royalties from sales of the record to charity.
This week, she won $56,200 in damages from a clothing firm who had distributed bags bearing a nude image of her from her modeling days.
Bruni-Sarkozy said she stood "6,000 percent" behind the nude photographs she posed for in the past, saying they were "works of art" shot by leading photographers such as Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton.
She also revealed that she enjoys reading celebrity magazines "when I'm not in them."
She said she did not mind interviewers asking her about her desire to have another child (she has a seven-year-old son from a previous relationship), but resented suggestions her stomach already looked pregnant. "Isn't that rude? Now, I've completely cut out the beer," she said with a laugh.