The Queen of Versailles Storyville BBC 4 written and directed by Lauren Greenfield

The stories we tell ourselves tell us who we are.

‘I got George Bush elected…it wasn’t strictly legal, so I don’t want to talk about it.’

‘I don’t want to kiss some old hag.’ David Seigal aged around 74, says of his wife Jackie 43.

‘She’s like another child.’

‘Seven [kids] by birth and one inherited.’
‘My husband told me he was going to trade me in for two twenty year olds when I got to 40.’
‘When I grew up I never knew you could have a nanny.’

‘Everybody wants to feel rich. If they don’t want to feel rich they’re probably dead.’

Jonquil (inherited child, from Jackie’s sister, who died in poverty)
‘Who wouldn’t, like, to be dirty rich? I mean who wouldn’t like it?’

‘You want more and more.’

Why build the biggest house in America, bigger than the Whitehouse, with a wing for each child and…a stained glass window that costs half a million dollars, with five million dollars’ worth of marble…?

‘Because I can.’

‘We need a bigger house.’

Virginia Nebees, Fillipino Nanny, one of a staff of 29, cut to a staff of six after the Sept 2008 stock market crash.
‘Nothings way normal. It’s like you don’t have to worry about money, but in a way you do.’
‘I’m supporting my brothers and sisters.’
‘I need to send some money.’
‘My youngest child was 7[when I came here] now he’s 26.

Jackie allows Virginia to move into a Wendy house, for privacy, originally built in the grounds for her children to play in.

Jackie: ‘I used to work for $3.50 an hour.

Jackie on Christmas’ gift: ‘I’ve got to make sure the python doesn’t eat the puppies.’

Jackie: ‘I miss [my business manager] ‘hey, a manager did all that stuff for me’ [ordering Christmas’ gifts, arranging parties.]

‘We need to live within our means.’
‘I didn’t know we were in foreclosure. When you don’t have the information you look stupid.’

‘We’ll need to move into a normal house $300 000, with four bedrooms.’

David: ‘Our live is more challenged than when we first got married.’

‘It’s a reverse of the rag to riches.’

‘Work is my life. I’m 24/7.’

‘If I’ve got to I’ll live to 150 to get back to where I’ve been.’

Victoria, the oldest child: ‘Oh, my God, I hate him…Sometimes my dad needs to be told, he’s not the only one that matters in the house.’

David: ‘They got us addicted to easy money. Now we’re addicts.’

Jackie: [banks] ‘They got all that money from the government. It was supposed to go to the common people like us.’

Jackie: ‘I have evolved from someone who went to charity lunches to actually doing something…’


I can't believe they were allowed to continue filming. Obviously, at first, it was a triumphalist piece. We're going to build the biggest house in America. Then wham. They were just ordinary run of the mill multimillionaires and no longer billionaires. So sad. But hey, your right. They would have poked out your eye. She did seem genuinely upset that the five thousand dollars (or some other small sum) she sent to her friend to save her house didn't help...How we see ourselves is the scary bit.