I had known that Sheikh Hamad of Qatar, an amiably portly monarch with a distinct resemblance to a shoe polish-dyed S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall (or is he more John Candy?), had paid a state visit to Paris while we were there...
But I didn't know that he wasn't, as Gulf royals often do, traveling stag! No indeed - he brought along his (principal) wife, the rather divine Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, the woman who keeps Queen Rania of Jordan awake nights as they vie for recognition as most stunning Arab consort. She's seen here shielding something more than thirty percent of her husband from photographers.
Had I been even halfway paying attention, I would have realized that it made perfect sense for her to come along, if only so she could size up the European competition, in the form of the lovely and multi-talented Mme. Sarkozy.
As indeed she did, while Monsieur cools his (elevator) heels in the background. It rather looks as if they've hit it off.
And, during dinner, while Carla studiously reviews the text of the Sheikh's speech (or her latest lyric), someone does a little sizing up of his own. Doesn't he look just exactly like Pepe LePew here, about to pounce?
All the more reason for the ladies, as dinner ended, to head out of the dining room à deux. "Oh, darling," sighs the Sheikha, "let's dump Shorty and Fatty and grab some of your husband's Champagne, go upstairs, get out of these rags, and try on jewelry. I just know you have Eugenie's and Marie Antoinette's stuff up there..."
Another surprise was that the Qatari couple didn't travel alone; they brought along at least one of the children.
Sadly, it would appear that her father's genes rather outweigh her mother's. Fab Chanel, though, I'll hand her that.
And to think we were just across town while all this was going on. Such a tiny planet, no?