President Nicolas Sarkozy has recounted how he asked Queen Elizabeth during a state banquet at Windsor Castle if she ever got bored, to which she replied: "Yes but I don't say so."
The French president, who is teetotal, said that he plucked up the courage to ask the question after mistaking a gin and tonic for a glass of water during his state visit to Britain in March, 2008.
Mr Sarkozy confided to being overawed by the lavish royal welcome laid on for him and his then new wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, on their first state visit.
At the state banquet, attended by 160 guests, in Windsor's St George's Hall, Sarkozy was seated at the middle of the mahogany table next to the queen.
Mr Sarkozy said: "I was very thirsty, I took a glass. I thought it was water, but it was gin. "You know I haven't drunk (a drop of alcohol) in 40 years."
The effect was immediate. "It was when I asked the queen whether she ever got bored and she replied, 'Yes but I don't say so' that I understood I'd been drinking," he said.
During his dinner speech he waved his arms about so wildly that his wife later confessed to being terrified he would knock over a priceless vase.
The president recounted his gin-fuelled royal chat while swearing in Claire Bazy-Malaurie, a state audit official, to France's highest constitutional body.
The Sarkozys' state visit to Britain was considered a success. (© Daily Telegraph, London)