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‘Unofficial’ Gallic gifts shunned by royals

A French entrepreneur who travelled to London to present his unique ‘Made in France’ presents to the royal baby this week ended up disappointed. The Frenchman told The Local that he was shunned because his Gallic gifts were not "official". He has not given up, however.

'Unofficial' Gallic gifts shunned by royals
Bertrand Dilasser and one of the 'Made in France' gifts. Photo: Bertrand Dilasser

The birth of Prince George was a bitter-sweet experience for French entrepreneur and fan of the British royal family Bertrand Dilasser.

Last week, the 30-year-old Frenchman went to both Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace to try to present his "Made in France" gifts for the newborn to the happy parents William and Kate.

But the gifts, which had been chosen in a ballot in which thousands of French people took part, were sadly not acceptable.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW A GALLERY OF SNAPSHOTS FROM HIS VISIT

“Unfortunately, they didn't accept unofficial presents,”  Dilasser told The Local. “I was told to send them in the post, but I don’t think that’s a good idea."

Undaunted, Dilasser is planning to return to London next week to hand the toys over to the French Embassy or the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce.

“I’ve also thought about leaving them in one of the shops where Kate goes to do her shopping, and asking if they can take a photo of her with them," he said.

Dilasser's quest to present a Gallic gift to the royal couple on the birth of their first child began months ago.  

However, the French founder of Coocoonoo, a website that specializes in presents for newborn babies, didn’t think he should choose it himself.

“We wanted it to be a present from the French people rather than from an individual person or company," he explained.

To this end, in collaboration with famili.fr, a website offering advice to mothers-to-be, Dilasser set up an online competition on the website ‘Ensemble pour la couronne’ (‘Altogether for the crown’) inviting French people to vote on their favourite twelve toys.

They were asked to choose from a list of 30 items, all of which had been made in France.

Between June 20th and July 14th (Kate’s supposed due-date) more than 10,246 votes were cast and 1,235 congratulatory messages left.

The top three of the 12 winning gifts were: a guitar-shaped music box from a Toulouse-based business called ‘Barnabé Aime le Café’, a rubber giraffe called Sophie from a company called ‘Vulli’ in Rumily, and a toy car from ‘Vilac’ in Moirans-en-Montagne.

Sadly they remain in his hands.

Dilasser dismissed any suggestion that the French – who have lived in a Republic since 1789 – are not all that interested in the arrival of yet another British royal.

“People may say that it’s just a baby and that we’re making an unwarranted fuss, but the fact that over 10,000 people voted on our site is testament to the fact that the French really are interested,” he said.

And he gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the name George – which he described as a ‘Franco-British’ name that works equally well in both languages.

Already, the latest addition to the royal family looks set to have one of the best-equipped playrooms in history as gifts fly in from all corners of the globe.

With presents ranging from knitted kangaroos to cradles and condoms, country leaders wasted no time before shipping over their offerings even before Prince George was born.

What Prince George will make of Dilasser's 'Made in France' gifts – if he gets them at all – remains to be seen.

 

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ROYAL FAMILY

French-born Prince Henrik given private funeral in Denmark

Danish royalty and politicians gathered in a Copenhagen chapel on Tuesday for the private funeral service of Prince Henrik, the French-born husband of Queen Margrethe who died this month aged 83.

French-born Prince Henrik given private funeral in Denmark
Soldiers carry the bier of Prince Henrik after the funeral at Christiansborg Palace Chapel in Copenhagen. Photo: AFP
The queen, accompanied by her sons Crown Prince Frederik, 49, and Prince Joachim, 48, and their families paid their last respects to Henrik at the Christiansborg Palace chapel.
   
The funeral was a private affair, with only the royal family, close friend and some government members invited to attend.
   
However hundreds of Danes gathered outside the chapel to catch a glimpse of the event.
   
At the end of the ceremony, the priest tossed soil on the coffin, taken from both the royal couple's chateau in Caix, northern France, and from the Marselisborg palace grounds in Aarhus, Denmark.
   
Afterwards, the coffin was carried outside to a hearse as the royal family watched, bowing as the hearse pulled away and wiping away tears.
 
Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark. Photo: AFP
 
Diagnosed in September 2017 with dementia, Henrik had been hospitalised since January 28 for a pulmonary infection.
   
He died on February 13.
   
In line with his wishes, he will be cremated. Half of his ashes will be spread in Danish waters and half buried on the grounds of Fredensborg Castle north of Copenhagen.
   
Born Henri Marie Jean Andre de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 near Bordeaux, he married Margrethe, then crown princess, in 1967.
   
Henrik, who retired from public service in January 2016, spoke out often about his frustration that his royal title of prince was never changed to king after his wife became queen in 1972.
   
Last year, he announced that he did not want to be buried next to his wife because he was not made her equal in life, thereby breaking with the tradition of burying royal spouses together in Roskilde Cathedral, west of Copenhagen.