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Maltese man offers regal hearse for Prince’s funeral

Maltese-Australian man, Gaetano Mifsud, offers one of his his stately hearses for funeral of American musician who died suddenly on Thursday

jurgen
Jurgen Balzan
24 April 2016, 9:16am
Prince's fans around the world remembered and celebrated his life and career following his sudden death
Prince's fans around the world remembered and celebrated his life and career following his sudden death
A Maltese-Australian man, Gaetano Mifsud, has offered one of his unique Maltese-horse drawn hearses for the funeral of American pop star Prince who died on Thursday.

Speaking to MaltaToday from his home in Sydney, Mifsud said that the “elegant and beautiful” hearses are at least 85 years old and he is prepared to have them flown in to Minnesota, US at his own expense.

“The distances are long but it can be done. The hearses are intended for State funerals and certainly fitting for Prince,” Mifsud said.

The hearse which Gaetano Mifsud is offering for Prince's funeral
The hearse which Gaetano Mifsud is offering for Prince's funeral
In a letter to Malta’s consul in Prince’s hometown, Minnesota, Joseph Mifsud, the 74-year-old Gaetano Mifsud said “I am pleased to offer any one of these hearses for the funeral of Prince at no cost.”

Asking the Consul to inform Prince’s family and management of his offer, Mifsud said that the hearse can be used as part of the funeral ceremony.

As fans worldwide mourned the sudden loss of the 57-year-old superstar, questions surrounding the circumstances of his death zeroed in on the fact that he may have become gravely ill days earlier but declined a lengthy stay in hospital.

On Thursday, Prince was found collapsed in an elevator at his estate at Paisley Park. An autopsy was carried out on Friday. Foul play has been excluded and although no immediate details were given for his death, the coroner said could take days to determine.

Mifsud who moved to New South Wales in 1961 where his late father had set up a transport business owns several Maltese-horse drawn hearses and coaches, which he says are of “unmatched beauty and craftsmanship.”

He is also hopeful of retrieving five other hearses which he had donated to the Museums Department in Malta over 30 years ago.

In September 1992, he had asked for permission to export six gold horse-drawn hearses, two white baby horse-drawn hearses and three carriages known as coaches.

However he was only allowed to export two hearses and two coaches.

Some nine years ago he had  filed a judicial protest in court calling on the local authorities to grant him permission to retrieve the remaining carriages, built between 1947 and 1952.

Mifsud said that the horse-drawn carriages have been abandoned and are not even exposed to the public. “I hope that I will soon be allowed to take back all the carriages and put them to good use,” Mifsud said.

 

jurgen
Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
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