He has outsold Beyoncé and played to bigger crowds than Take That. He also lives in D’Artagnan’s castle and has his very own orchestra.
An audience with André Rieu – the violin superstar nicknamed King of the Waltz.
It seems only natural that the man at the heart of this elaborate fairytale should live in a castle: Rieu inhabits a 17th-century chateau with its own butterfly house and a coat of arms belonging to a previous occupant Charles de Batz-Castelmore d’Artagnan – the inspiration for Alexandre Dumas’s fictional musketeer – who died at the siege of Maastricht in 1673.
Rieu strides into his drawing room at precisely the appointed time.
He is tall – remarkably well-preserved for his 66 years and dressed in a navy bespoke suit – red silk tie and shiny silver boots that look as if they might have been purchased in anticipation of his oft-stated ambition to become the first musician to perform on the moon.
I compliment him on his home.
‘Thank you’ he says. ‘It is beautiful. It didn’t use to be. I first came here for piano lessons when I was six years old – the teacher was a total bitch and I hated her. It was dark and damp and practically falling down.
But later I told my wife Marjorie that I should like to own it.
She said ‘In that case you had better sell some records’
He did – over 40 million at the last count – firmly establishing him as the biggest-selling classical musician in the world.