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Madonna’s farewell from Portugal turns sour over row involving a horse

The pop icon could not get permission to allow the animal inside a 19th-century palace for a music video shoot, and has since accused the Portuguese of being ungrateful

Madonna
Madonna on a horse in a photo posted on her Instagram account.

Madonna is at the center of a fresh controversy in Portugal, just as she is set to leave the country. The singer has accused the Portuguese of being ungrateful, an accusation that they have thrown right back at her. And the culprit behind this latest row? A horse, which was not allowed inside a palace for a music video.

Madonna, who has been living in Portugal since 2017, was set to film a video for the song “Indian Summer” in the Quinta Nova de Assunção palace in Sintra, a resort city near Lisbon.

The pop star’s attitude has incensed Portuguese authorities, who have reminded her of all the things they’ve done for her during her stay

Last week however, Sintra City Hall said the pop star could use the palace from March 15 to 20 but could not let a horse inside. The decision reportedly left her outraged.

In the script for the music video, Madonna was meant to pose next to the animal on the ground. But local authorities said a horse would threaten the safety of the building, given its wooden floor sits upon wooden beams and is “unstable, which prevents it from being used for activities that cause vibrations.”

Madonna called her agent to complain about what was happening. “My Queen, I am doing everything I can. I have called many people and sent various messages. Unfortunately the man who makes the decision is not available, but he will be,” he replied, according to messages revealed by the Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã.

Annoyed, Madonna responded that she didn’t have to wait and would film somewhere else. “I’ve already given a lot to this country and when I ask for a simple favor, one which will present Portugal to the world, the answer I get is negative,” she told her agent, adding: “This is your fault. You convinced me to come live here.”

It emerged in February that Madonna would be leaving Portugal in the next few months, to move to New York. A fleet of cars carrying suitcases was recently seen leaving the four-star Palacio Ramalhete hotel in Lisbon, where the singer has been staying for the last year.

The pop star’s attitude has incensed Portuguese authorities, who have reminded her of all the things they have done for her during her stay in the country. For example, Lisbon City Hall gave Madonna a reduced price on a parking spot; the soccer club S.L. Benfica welcomed her son so that he could practice regardless of his level; the international school Lycée Français Charles Lepierre accepted the singer’s twin girls even though there was a waiting list; and the Portuguese government fast-tracked her residency.

English version by Asia London Palomba.

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