Prince Charles wins French hearts with cheese appreciation
Agence France Presse English Wire, 3/2/92


Prince Charles met French President François Mitterrand and later discussed cheese during a brief visit Monday to attend festivities marking the 75th anniversary of the Association France-Grande Bretagne. The heir to the British throne and the French head of state discussed Europe following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, an official said.

During his address to the Association, the Prince won over an appreciative audience when he gave a spirited defense of cheese, a subject of some concern in France following recent broadsides from the European Community over hygiene standards for "fromage cru" (raw cheese) such as gruyere. "The very phrase 'minimum hygiene standards' should strike terror in the hearts of any true-born Frenchman," the Prince said.

"It certainly frightens me and all the other people in my country who find that life is not worth living unless you can have a choice of all the gloriously unhygienic things which mankind -- especially the French portion of it -- has lovingly created out of the fruits of God's earth," the Prince said. "'Minimum hygiene standards' will mean that, unless we are careful, nothing will ever be safe from the bacteriological police," he said.

The Prince of Wales visited an exhibition, entitled "In the Court of the Stuarts at Saint German en Laye at the Time of Louis XIV", in a chateau in that Paris suburb, focusing on the exile in France of King James I. A visit followed to the Mona Bismarck Foundation which houses a temporary exhibition of paintings, furniture and china of the dukes of Richmond and Aubigny was also on his agenda. The artistic treasures are for the first time on display outside Goodwood Castle, where they are normally shown.

Of particular interest to the Prince was a portrait of Charles I and his family by Van Dyck is one of the masterpieces being shown. Buckingham Palace owns a second version of the painting. Four paintings by Venetian artist Canaletto, two of which represent views of London, are also part of the Paris show.

The dukes of Richmond and Aubigny date back to a liaison between Charles II, king of England, Scotland and Ireland, and Louise de Penancoet de Keroualle, daughter of a nobleman from Britanny and lady in waiting of Queen Henriette of England, who became Charles's mistress.

©1992 by Agence France Presse. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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