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  #1  
Old 06-09-2007, 12:59 PM
Henri M.'s Avatar
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Antwerp wants Philippe's furniture back

In the Nineties the Prince borrowed antique furniture from the Royal Palace in Antwerp. A building that was long very neglected and in detoriation: it has not been used for decades.


But the Flemish Government, owner of the building, is restoring it to old splendour and wants the missing furniture to be returned to the Palace. Despite numerous requests, the Court has not reacted.

The Flemish Minister of Housing has now threathened to summon the Prince before Court if he has not handed over the 'illegal' furniture to the rightful owner (= the Flemish Government). See article.

The Prince has 'borrowed', amongst other items, a bed made for Joséphine de Beauharnais, the spouse of Napoleon, an antique marble fireplace, an exclusive wooden cabinet, etc.
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Old 06-09-2007, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henri M.
In the Nineties the Prince borrowed antique furniture from the Royal Palace in Antwerp. A building that was long very neglected and in detoriation: it has not been used for decades.

But the Flemish Government, owner of the building, is restoring it to old splendour and wants the missing furniture to be returned to the Palace. Despite numerous requests, the Court has not reacted.

The Flemish Minister of Housing has now threathened to summon the Prince before Court if he has not handed over the 'illegal' furniture to the rightful owner (= the Flemish Government). See article.

The Prince has 'borrowed', amongst other items, a bed made for Joséphine de Beauharnais, the spouse of Napoleon, an antique marble fireplace, an exclusive wooden cabinet, etc.
I hope they can find a solution to this. Art pieces should be where they can be restored and admired by people who really care for art.
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Old 06-10-2007, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Aquarela
I hope they can find a solution to this. Art pieces should be where they can be restored and admired by people who really care for art.
Art pieces fill most of the Royal palaces here there and everywhere,most purchased/commisioned by the ancestors of the present Royals,so no,they should stay right were they are.

As to the Antwerp Royal Palace,it was derilict for decades,no one gave a hoot,and now,all of a sudden this brouhaha over a coffee-table,as Lucas rightfully remarked on the BRMB,it's just another,convenient,case of bickering the members of the RF.

To us foreigners,the media gives the impression the Belgian Monarchy itself is under strong flack,but in reality it is less than a quarter of the Flamish population that don't care either way.The media outlets sell better with another supposed Royal scandal.

As to the items now at Laeken Castle,they would have rotted away if it wasn't for the Duke of Brabant to use,safeguard and upkeep them,no one else cared.

The belgians love to make una bella figura parading around their beautifull cities,towns and scenery,but underneath the surface.......
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Old 06-10-2007, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucien
Art pieces fill most of the Royal palaces here there and everywhere,most purchased/commisioned by the ancestors of the present Royals,so no,they should stay right were they are.

As to the Antwerp Royal Palace,it was derilict for decades,no one gave a hoot,and now,all of a sudden this brouhaha over a coffee-table,as Lucas rightfully remarked on the BRMB,it's just another,convenient,case of bickering the members of the RF.

To us foreigners,the media gives the impression the Belgian Monarchy itself is under strong flack,but in reality it is less than a quarter of the Flamish population that don't care either way.The media outlets sell better with another supposed Royal scandal.

As to the items now at Laeken Castle,they would have rotted away if it wasn't for the Duke of Brabant to use,safeguard and upkeep them,no one else cared.

The belgians love to make una bella figura parading around their beautifull cities,towns and scenery,but underneath the surface.......
I agree with your observation, but is it not telling this constant bashing on royals does not appear in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark, etc.?

And for the furniture: you are right about the (waterdripping beautiful) 'hidden' Royal Palace at the Meir in Antwerp. But this does not mean the Prince has the right to keep furniture (really not only a 'coffee table' but also a bed, a historic cabinet, a fireplace, etc.) under his roof when these are not his property.

The strange thing in all this: where is the Dotation Royale? The Belgians are lucky to have a Trust which provides fabulous residences for the royal family. Part of the properties are at the disposal of the King, such as the park of Laeken, the chateaux of Belvédère, Stuyvenberg, Ciergnon and Fenffe, and other properties like offices in Brussels or agricultural land are rented out in order to generate income for the Trust.

What is it that Prince Laurent has to use fraud money to furbish his villa and that Prince Philippe needs to 'borrow' other's property for his appartments in the Château de Laeken? You would say that the Dotation Royale has plenty of possibilities for them?
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Old 06-10-2007, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henri M.
And for the furniture: you are right about the (waterdripping beautiful) 'hidden' Royal Palace at the Meir in Antwerp. But this does not mean the Prince has the right to keep furniture (really not only a 'coffee table' but also a bed, a historic cabinet, a fireplace, etc.) under his roof when these are not his property.

The strange thing in all this: where is the Dotation Royale? The Belgians are lucky to have a Trust which provides fabulous residences for the royal family. Part of the properties are at the disposal of the King, such as the park of Laeken, the chateaux of Belvédère, Stuyvenberg, Ciergnon and Fenffe, and other properties like offices in Brussels or agricultural land are rented out in order to generate income for the Trust.

What is it that Prince Laurent has to use fraud money to furbish his villa and that Prince Philippe needs to 'borrow' other's property for his appartments in the Château de Laeken? You would say that the Dotation Royale has plenty of possibilities for them?
Obviously the HBvL online article cited by HenriM. contains many inaccuracies and offers an abridged description of this dispute. IMO it is helpful to look for more detailed and accurate sources before operating with harsh judgements like “illegal” furniture etc.
The Royal Palace in Antwerp was handed over to the Flemish government in 1969 by King Baudouin, providing that the royal character should be conserved. And for a long time the Flemish government did not give a hoot about it – as Lucien put it. In the 80ties some of the furniture was brought to Brussels and stored in museums and probably in Laeken castle to prevent damages. Philippe just took some of the pieces to furnish his apartment and it is fairly vague if the fireplace or the bed are amongst those pieces.
And the person in charge for a possible lawsuit is NOT Philippe but the Federal finance minister (whoever that may be in the future). De facto the property situation of the furniture is controversial. While the Flemish government declares the Palace was handed over with the furniture, the Federal government says the furniture is part of the Royal Trust/Collection (=Donation Royale BTW) and therefore possession of the federal state represented by the finance minister. This should also apply for the furniture which is still inside Antwerps´s Royal Palace. So possible litigants are the Flemish government re the Federal finance minister.
And one should also take the timing of this “request” into account: three days before the federal elections took place by a minister who is the founder of the Flemish separatist party N-VA. It is an election campaign stunt with the N-VA party leader Bart de Wever joyfully joining in and hypocritically commenting on the “furniture affaire” in the local newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen.

It would be helpful if all involved parties would discuss this subject in an objective manner and find a solution without heading into a lawsuit. Prominent pieces should be returned to Antwerp IF the Flemish government sticks to the royal museum concept. And if the furniture is indeed property of the Royal Collection a contract of loan for use could be the solution, because I seriously doubt it that the Flemish government is willing to pay the nominal value. And coming up with an rather silly ultimatum while it takes more than a year till the renovation will be finished is not helpful IMHO.


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Old 06-11-2007, 02:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johann
Obviously the HBvL online article cited by HenriM. contains many inaccuracies and offers an abridged description of this dispute. IMO it is helpful to look for more detailed and accurate sources before operating with harsh judgements like “illegal” furniture etc.
The Royal Palace in Antwerp was handed over to the Flemish government in 1969 by King Baudouin, providing that the royal character should be conserved. And for a long time the Flemish government did not give a hoot about it – as Lucien put it. In the 80ties some of the furniture was brought to Brussels and stored in museums and probably in Laeken castle to prevent damages. Philippe just took some of the pieces to furnish his apartment and it is fairly vague if the fireplace or the bed are amongst those pieces.
And the person in charge for a possible lawsuit is NOT Philippe but the Federal finance minister (whoever that may be in the future). De facto the property situation of the furniture is controversial. While the Flemish government declares the Palace was handed over with the furniture, the Federal government says the furniture is part of the Royal Trust/Collection (=Donation Royale BTW) and therefore possession of the federal state represented by the finance minister. This should also apply for the furniture which is still inside Antwerps´s Royal Palace. So possible litigants are the Flemish government re the Federal finance minister.
And one should also take the timing of this “request” into account: three days before the federal elections took place by a minister who is the founder of the Flemish separatist party N-VA. It is an election campaign stunt with the N-VA party leader Bart de Wever joyfully joining in and hypocritically commenting on the “furniture affaire” in the local newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen.

It would be helpful if all involved parties would discuss this subject in an objective manner and find a solution without heading into a lawsuit. Prominent pieces should be returned to Antwerp IF the Flemish government sticks to the royal museum concept. And if the furniture is indeed property of the Royal Collection a contract of loan for use could be the solution, because I seriously doubt it that the Flemish government is willing to pay the nominal value. And coming up with an rather silly ultimatum while it takes more than a year till the renovation will be finished is not helpful IMHO.


If such a detailed explanation can be given by you (much appreciated), do you think it is wise that neither the Prince nor the Court did react on formal requests by the Flemish Government concerning the missing furniture? Why all this silence as a grave? Isn't that provoking and asking for avoidable problems?

I'm a little bit surprised if this action by N-VA was initiated to bash the royal family. N-VA's partners the CD&V and CDH are probably the most pro-monarchy parties in Belgium.... I think future Premier Leterme is the best what could happen to the royal family.

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Old 06-11-2007, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henri M.
If such a detailed explanation can be given by you (much appreciated), do you think it is wise that neither the Prince nor the Court did react on formal requests by the Flemish Government concerning the missing furniture? Why all this silence as a grave? Isn't that provoking and asking for avoidable problems?
Well we only know the “Flemish version” of this story. The newspaper De Morgen reports the court did react in a constructive manner but at a certain point the contacts stopped and the court referred to the federal finance minister, who also remained silent. And as this could have several reasons, I don´t feel entitled to judge the situation. The phrase “several requests remained unanswered” is quite vague and one could also wonder about the tone of this requests. And to speculate if the furniture is sold (heaven forbid), lost or damaged (people in glass houses…) is also quite aggressive. I agree, the “No comment” policy of the court appears clumsy again, while the Flemish minister presses his claims in an aggressive and undiplomatic manner again. Talking about entrenched habits which make the coexistence/political life so difficult in Belgium (and somehow nerv-splitting to watch as onlooker).

And IMHO it´s indeed high time to re-organise the court (e.g. pension Jacques van Ypersele de Strihou off or replace Ghislain D´Hoop) and implement another PR policy. But lamenting about this unfortunately does not change anything.
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:36 AM
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The news is from 3 weeks ago, but I didn't see it mentioned here before. Apparently the furniture that Phillipe took from the former palace in Antwerp wasn't his to take at all. The furniture was donated by the late King Boudewijn to the city of Antwerp. This was claimed by newspaper 'De Morgen' who found a letter in which this became clear.

Article in Dutch here.
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
The news is from 3 weeks ago, but I didn't see it mentioned here before. Apparently the furniture that Phillipe took from the former palace in Antwerp wasn't his to take at all. The furniture was donated by the late King Boudewijn to the city of Antwerp. This was claimed by newspaper 'De Morgen' who found a letter in which this became clear.

Article in Dutch here.
Claimed by the "Morgen",you said it.....
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Old 08-17-2008, 12:58 PM
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As posted by Catherine on the Benelux Royals MB:

Quote:
A statement at the website of Belgian court:

"The past months and days several articles have appeared in the press concerning prince Philippe's responsability concerning the furniture of the former royal palace in Antwerpen. Court's spokesperson wishes to clarify the following:

- The furniture from the former royal palace in Antwerp forms and has always formed part of the royal collection. Therefor the state gives the king the opportunity to use it to furnish the royal palace and the castle of Laken.

- Only 25 pieces (23 chairs and 2 consoles) belonging to this furniture are being used by prince Philippe in rooms of the official residences in Brussels or Laken.

- Prince Philippe has never gone to the former royal palace in Antwerpen to take the furniture away. Thus he isn't directly implicated in this matter. The suspicions of damaging or selling the furniture are false.

- The cabinet of the minister of finances has given the press extensive information about this case in June 2007."
Article inDutch from HLN here.
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Old 09-03-2008, 08:16 AM
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Ministers Bourgeois and Reynders will meet in two weeks and they will discuss how to end the discussion about the 23 chairs and 2 consoles that Antwerp wants from Prince Phillipe.

HLN has the headline 'Prince Phillipe looses fight about furniture', but they don't say how he loses it though (they just say that the 2 ministers will meet)

Article in Dutch here.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:51 AM
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I have read the whole thread related to the furniture, I can not figure out what the fuss is about. Crown Prince Phillipe is not going to sell or damage this furniture. Why to create a storm in a teacup? I thought Europeans from democracies have got more common sense.
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:58 AM
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Well, the problem is that the Palace on the Meir in Antwerp has been restaured and now belongs to the Flemish community. Now the rooms are restaured they end up with empty places, since Phillipe took the furniture to Laeken.

Anyway, prince Phillipe apparently gave the chairs back to Antwerp, to prevent this thing from dragging on any longer.
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Old 09-13-2008, 05:34 AM
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I hope I don't cause trouble with the bandwith, but here I found another youtube video about the furniture. (I think I hasn't been mentioned before, otherwise, this post can be deleted)

This is a video in French.

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Old 10-09-2008, 05:54 AM
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The court and Antwerp reached an agreement, read an article in Dutch here. The chairs will return to Antwerp gradually.
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Old 10-09-2008, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Marengo View Post
The court and Antwerp reached an agreement, read an article in Dutch here. The chairs will return to Antwerp gradually.
And they did it the Belgian way. The federal government (responsible for the royal trust, the court is no contracting partner) and Flanders didn´t reach an agreement on the ownership. This question remains unsolved and the furniture returns to Antwerp in leasehold for 33 years. And since the furniture is pretty precious both parties sure will continue to defend their claims.
The newspaper De Morgen had an extended article on the topic not long ago and the furniture that went to Philippe´s apartment is just a fraction of the collection. The rest is spread all over other castles and offices and even dear Lilian had some of the good old Napoleon stuff in Argenteuil.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:46 AM
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Given the controversy related to these chairs, I think that Crown Prince Phillipe should give them back as soon as possible.I see no valid reasons for keeping them.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:44 PM
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I agree with Albina, he should have done so immediately in order to avoid the controverse. Sometimes it isn't important who is right or wrong, but whose face is lost or saved.
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Old 10-10-2008, 05:19 PM
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Well, he probably thought the chairs were his property and didn't want to end up with an empty office. If the prince would have known beforehand how long this would drag on he would probably have rented a mini-van and brought the chairs to Antwerp himself .
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Old 02-11-2009, 02:39 PM
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Amazing how often the royal families are the targets of governments and the press, isn't it?
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