Rabat – In the French village of Betz, King Mohammed VI’s vacation castle home has become a lynchpin of the local economy, reports television news outlet France 3.
In its recent report, “The King of Morocco and Betz, a Story of Generosity,” the channel discusses the positive effects of King Mohammed VI’s regular visits to the small village, 40 kilometers from Paris with a little more than 1,100 inhabitants.
While there are no available images of the castle, “the King’s arrival cannot go unnoticed during his visits to the area because of the important security measures put in place during his stay in the small village,” explains France 3.
When the King stays in Betz, he brings with him employment.
Angelique Vetu, the manager of a small grocery shop in Betz, told France 3 that “[the King’s] priority is to make people work here in all sectors.” She added that many people see the King’s stay in the castle of Betz as a sign of generosity.
“I think that after 17 years I would not be there if he had not been there to support us,” she says.
Many people from Betz work temporarily in the castle during his stays, including cooks, gardeners, and electricity technicians, who work temporary during the king’s stay.
King Mohammed VI was seen for the first time in Betz in 1976 with late King Hassan II, when he traveled to Betzin order to buy the castle.
School children in the commune also benefit from the king’s generosity, added France 3. Every year, fifteen of them are chosen in a lottery to win a free holiday in Morocco.
Late King Hassan 2 showed the same generosity, said the former mayor of the village, Philippe Boulland.
“In Hassan II’s time there were so many people and disturbances in the commune. And because he also wanted to do something, he donated money to the municipality,” said Boulland.
“With his majesty Mohammed VI it is a little different, it should instead be solicited,” he added.
Betz’s Castle Love Story
King Mohammed VI’s castle in Betz forms part of the listed heritage sites in France. The castle took its current from in 1780, after embellishments by Marie-Catherine de Bringole, Princess of Monaco.
While Brignole was married to Prince Honore III of the Principality of Monaco, the princess also had an intimate relationship with a Prince de Condé, who was living in Chantilly, a small village in Oise.
To get closer to her lover, the princess bought the castle and decided to rebuild it in the contemporary style on the sides of the Grivette, the river that crosses the castle.
After the French revolution in 1789, the castle of Betz was abandoned, until 1810, when itwas bought by groups of sellers known for renovating old estates. The castle owners, however, did not change the building style.
The castle saw its most recent alternation at the eve of the First World War, after a wealthy bourgeois woman, Madame Vincent, invested to rebuild the castle walls between 1912 and 1914.