The French seem to be mislaying the art n’stuff they’ve got lying around the Presidential palaces. At which point, three points. About why it might be worthwhile having that Royal family rather than electing a President every few years.
French detectives are investigating the mysterious disappearance of hundreds of valuable works of art and pieces of antique furniture from the Elysée Palace and other presidential residences. The 700 missing items include bronze sculptures and statuettes, Empire chairs and a Restoration dining table from the 19th century, an 18th-century Régence chair and 17th-century Savonnerie carpets. Investigators are unsure if they have been misplaced, forgotten and left to gather dust in a storeroom, or stolen.
That’s just the standard public problem. If ownership is “public” then it’s not like anyone keeps as close an eye upon it as their own property. Having Royals does mean that there are peeps around who really do regard it as their own.
If crockery is included, the list of missing objects totals a staggering 57,165 items, with each saucer and cup counted individually. A porcelain serving dish spotted on eBay in 2014 was identified as part of a set ordered by the President René Coty in the 1950s.
Doubt many of Brenda’s teacups have ended up on e-Bay.
Then there’s the second – having that republican thing doesn’t seem to be any cheaper. If we didn’t have Queenie we’d still have Bucks House, Slough Castle and all the rest, still maintain them and so on.
Officials scrutinised presidential inventories of artworks and furnishings since the 19th century and checked them against what was found in the residences. Items have vanished from the Pavillon de la Lanterne, the president’s weekend retreat in Versailles, Fort Brégançon on the Mediterranean, where Emmanuel Macron received Theresa May last summer, and several other state-owned châteaux and mansions used by the president, in addition to his main residence, the Elysée Palace.
The advantage of having someone already rich inheriting the post along with the other lands is that the holiday places – Sandringham, Balmoral – she pays for herself. No need to be splashing out on the des res of the hols for some provincial oik – one takes care of that oneself.
Our third benefit:
Brigitte Macron, the first lady, is keen to refresh the decor of the Elysée and her efforts to spruce up the palace have led to the replacement of a number of older furnishings and traditional artworks with contemporary oeuvres.
Things get replaced, spruced up, when they need doing. Not when the latest four or seven year bint thinks she should “leave her mark” or has an interior designer among her gaggle of tea-friends.
Of course, the argument in favour of the royal family still remains President John Prescott. But there are still these useful subsidiary ones.