- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Prince Charles, whose lifestyle includes large estates, ocean cruises and a multi-million-dollar income, got into a little hot water recently when he suggested that British families should go green by taking showers, not baths. This week, we take a look at some of the silly things rich folk say that make us paupers squirm.

  • Imelda Marcos — “I have to look beautiful so that the poor Filipinos will have a star to look at from their slums,” said the wife of former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Mrs. Marcos owned 15 mink coats, 65 parasols, 71 pairs of sunglasses, 508 gowns, 888 handbags and more than 1,000 pairs of shoes.
  • “I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty,” clarified the former beauty queen.
  • Marie Antoinette — While there’s no evidence that she ever uttered the phrase, the 18th century queen of France has gone down in history as saying, “Let them eat cake” when told that the poor masses had no bread. However, Marie Antoinette did like to mimic the poor. She would often dress as a lowly milkmaid and drape her cows with fine scarves.
  • Elton John — In a multimillion-dollar negligence claim against his former accountants, it was revealed that over a 20-month period between 1996 and 1997, the pop star spent $41 million on personal expenses — including a whopping $410,000 on fresh flowers. “Well, I like flowers,” Mr. John said. “I don’t have anyone to leave it to. I’m a single man. I like spending money.”
  • George Best — The famed Manchester United soccer star was the envy of many in the 1960s and 1970s for his talent and lavish lifestyle. He went bankrupt in 1982. How did he lose his money? “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cars,” he said. “The rest I just squandered.”
  • Michelle Duvalier — While her people wallowed in poverty, $3 million was spent on her wedding to Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. The first lady of Haiti was known for her famous Paris shopping sprees. In one week, she spent $168,780 on clothes and $270,200 on jewelry. She had the nerve to tell Barbara Walters, “I don’t believe the money was badly spent.”
  • Jim Bakker — The televangelist was sent to prison for fraud. He sold tens of thousands of lifetime memberships to stay three nights at a Christian theme park, but only one 500-room hotel was ever completed. “I think something so wonderful and beautiful was being built that the devil was mad,” he said. “And then, when we broke ground for the largest church ever built in the history of the world, I think the devil said this is it. I think I’ve got to smash Jim and Tammy Bakker.”
  • Sheryl Crow — In her efforts to end global warming, the pop star wrote on her website: “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting … but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required.”
  • James Carville — “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” said the political operative in 1996 in reference to Paula Jones and her charge that President Clinton had sexually assaulted her.
  • Leona Helmsley — Dubbed the “Queen of Mean,” the billionaire New York City hotel operator was convicted on tax evasion. He fate was sealed when a former housekeeper testified during the trial that she had heard Mrs. Helmsley say: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.”
  • Carl-Henric Svanberg — “I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies or don’t care,” said the chairman of the board of BP at the height of the recent oil spill in the Gulf. “But that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people.” The Swede apologized, saying it was a “slip in translation.”
  • Fred Heineman — “When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that’s middle class,” said the late Republican representative from North Carolina. Not the smartest thing to say in rural North Carolina. Heineman’s Congressional salary was $133,000, and his police pension $50,000.
  • Brooke Shields — “I’m so naive about finances,” the actress and model noted. “Once when my mother mentioned an amount and I realized that I didn’t understand, she had to explain: ‘That’s like three Mercedes.’ Then I understood.”
  • Nicholas Cage — When a bartender at the Four Seasons hotel on Maui refused to serve alcohol to Mr. Cage’s 19-year-old girlfriend, Alice Kim (now his wife) the actor yelled, “I’m paying $8,000 a night. If she wants to drink, she can drink.”
  • Paris Hilton — Obviously the famed socialite doesn’t visit too many low-cost chain stores. “Wal-Mart … do they, like, make walls there?” she once asked. The Hilton Hotels heiress also noted: “I have worked very hard to get to where I am.”

Compiled by John Haydon, the dirt-poor illegitimate great-grandson of a wealthy English lord.

Source: UPI, Daily Mail, getrichslowly.org, National Post (Canada), ABC’s “Stossel,” www.amusingfacts.com, nndb.com.