Christmas tree comes down with a bang

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The Independent Online
The self-proclaimed "largest Christmas tree in Europe" exploded and burned to the ground outside the casino in Monte Carlo on Saturday night.

The demise of the pounds 100,000 tree - actually 450 trees draped on a 100ft

conical frame - is the latest misfortune to strike the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Grimaldi family rule in Monaco.

A short-circuit in one of the 2,200 strings of fairy lights needed to decorate the monster tree is blamed for the disaster. Several cars had to be moved out of the reach of the flames but none was damaged.

The official Christmas tree of the principality was larger than usual this year to mark the royal anniversary.

The celebrations have already been somewhat scarred by political bickering on the future of the principality and the failure of most other European royal families to attend a gala event in the summer.

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