The Vatican ordered Carla Bruni not to accompany her husband, French President Nicolas Sarkozi, on a state visit to the Roman Catholic HQ.
Officially, the reason given was that nude and scantily-clad pictures of the former model and singer would be published throughout the Italian press during the visit.
But an observer told us: "Well that's a load of old crap. Italian tabloids publish pictures of people like Carla wherever she happens to be.
"No, I have it on good authority that they hate eachother's guts.
"Pope Benedict thinks Carla's a cheap tart who shouldn't be anywhere near the top of the church's 'First Daughter' as France is known.
"And Carla just thinks he's a stupid old German stiff. She can't come out in public though, because she's a good Catholic girl."