The Queen Of Versailles

When it comes to taxidermy, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone more enthusiastic about it than us. Or so we thought – until we saw The Queen Of Versailles (released 7th September). That was Jackie Siegel, the titular queen. Jackie is married to David Siegel (a self-made billionaire whose fortune came from the timeshare […]

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When it comes to taxidermy, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone more enthusiastic about it than us. Or so we thought – until we saw The Queen Of Versailles (released 7th September).

That was Jackie Siegel, the titular queen. Jackie is married to David Siegel (a self-made billionaire whose fortune came from the timeshare industry) and, together, the pair of them decided to build the largest single-family residence in America, drawn along the lines of the palace of Versailles.

The mansion plans boasted 30 bedrooms, 10 kitchens, 3 swimming pools, a full-sized baseball pitch and master wardrobes the size of tennis courts. Construction began in 2007 and Lauren Greenfield (the film’s director) came in to document it.

All was going well until, a year into the build, the worst economic crisis for 100 years hit (perhaps you remember it?).

Let’s just say that a global financial meltdown can put quite a cramp on the construction of a 90,000 sq ft palace with a bowling alley, an ice-rink and a two-storey wine cellar. It also makes paying your 19 housekeepers pretty tricky too – so things chez Siegel very quickly fell into free-fall.

What unfolds in the film is a staggeringly candid and surprisingly moving portrait of a billionaire family in total turmoil – and we can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can see the full trailer and read more at http://www.queenofversailles.co.uk

(As was perhaps inevitable, David Siegel has launched a defamation lawsuit against Lauren Greenfield, so we suggest you go and see it as soon as you can, just in case the worst comes to the worst…)

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