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Macron and wife embroiled in new dinner service row for Élysée Palace

According to officials, the 1,200-piece set chosen by First Lady Brigitte Macron cost R800,000, but critics say the real cost is almost ten times that figure.

FILE: French President Emmanuel Macron. Picture: @EmmanuelMacron/Twitter.

LONDON – French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife are embroiled in a row over a new dinner service for the Élysée Palace.

According to officials, the 1,200-piece set chosen by First Lady Brigitte Macron cost R800,000, but critics say the real cost is almost ten times that figure.

At a time when the French president is complaining about the welfare budget, this is a row he could well do without.

Palace officials say some of the current crockeries dates back to the 1950s so it needs replacing and is no longer complete.

The Élysée said the bill for producing the 900 plates and 300 side plates came out of the state-sponsored crockery factory's annual budget.

So, officials argue the cost is just to pay for the artists involved in creating the new design. But critics calculate the real cost of hand-painting the plates was far higher, at least R6,300 a plate.