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"Let Them Eat Warm Biscuits ..."

Nov 02 2011

Prince Charles:Investiture Ceremony

A household staff of one-hundred-thirty-three, sixty bespoke suits at three thousand pounds each, more than two hundred handmade shirts at three-hundred-fifty pounds each, fifty pairs of handmade shoes costing over eight hundred pounds each, solid gold and silver collar stiffeners, a predilection for shoelaces ironed by hand and biscuits heated just so … all courtesy of the taxpayer ...

The latter is a partial inventory of Prince Charles' wardrobe although you would be forgiven for thinking I'm quoting from a pre-revolutionary French royal household inventory list. It is excerpted from a newly published tell-all book, Not in Front of the Corgis: Secrets of Life Behind the Royal Curtains, by royal watcher Brian Hoey which describes the lifestyle habits of the royal family.

Now let me quote from a different list: £40 billion of emergency tax increases including a VAT rise from 17.5% to 20%, higher capital gains tax, a two-year public sector pay freeze, welfare cuts, child benefit freeze and deep cuts in welfare and education. These numbers come from the austerity package unveiled by U.K. Chancellor George Osborne last June. In short, the British people are facing a bleak future with record high unemployment, inflation and a sharp rise in homelessness. And what if this were indeed Prince Charles' Marie-Antoinette moment?

Reading about the Prince of Wales' lavish sartorial habits, part of a lifestyle which includes five homes, an expensive polo habit and private air travel, leaves a very sour taste in one's mouth. There is a deep malaise amongst Britain's middle and working classes as evidenced by the riots across England last August. Many of the groups most directly affected by the current austerity measures already feel little or no connection to the British establishment including the monarchy. Already one of the least popular royals, the Prince of Wales would do well to brush up on the events which lead up to the French Revolution.


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The Luxe Chronicles is a collection of interviews, profiles and musings on various aspects of the luxury industry and occasionally, a rant on our celebrity obsessed culture and the dumbing down of our collective sense of style and esthetic.

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