Sunday, July 13, 2014

Casiraghis in the News

The little Principality of Monaco made a number of headlines last week when New York businessman Adam Hock sailed into the Port of Hercules on the yacht of a billionaire Canadian friend of his, all set to attend the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix in late May as well as the celebrity birthday bash of Naomi Campbell at the Billionaire Club in Monte Carlo. However, the night after his arrival, the captain of the yacht informed him that he was ordered out of the country by Prince Albert II himself. Why? It probably has something to do with the fact that Hock assaulted princely nephew Pierre Casiraghi in New York in 2012, sending him to the hospital. Hock’s friends tried to intercede for him but the Sovereign Prince would have none of it, Hock had to go and was threatened with immediate arrest if he set foot in Monaco again. His lawyer complained of course but, thankfully, it did the sucker-punching rat no good as the Prince still has final say on what goes on in Monaco and he can expel anyone from the country as he pleases. In this case, well deserved I would say. In Paris last week, niece and new mom Charlotte Casiraghi fell from her horse in a jumping competition, still managing to look glamorous doing it (not many can pull that off). Save perhaps for a bruised bottom, no harm was done and Charlotte later appeared at Paris Fashion Week on Wednesday.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Grimaldi Working for American Independence

Today the United States celebrates its Independence Day, and, as most know, that independence would not have been won without the support and assistance of the Kingdom of France under King Louis XVI. At the time, the Principality of Monaco had nothing to do with these matters, though as HSH Prince Honore III was under the protection of France and part of the French nobility under King Louis, Monaco and the fledgling United States were technically on the same side. However, there was a member of the wider Grimaldi clan, a distant relation of the Princely Family, who was somewhat involved in the historic events of the American Revolution. That was the Italian-Spanish statesman Pablo Jerónimo Grimaldi y Pallavicini, marqués y duque de Grimaldi. A native of Genoa, he served in the courts of King Fernando VI and King Carlos III of Spain, helping to rebuild Spanish power and prestige after the traumatic events of the Seven Years' War. He had a long and eventful career but of particular concern here was his time as Spanish ambassador to the court of King Louis XVI of France.

He was appointed to the post by His Catholic Majesty King Carlos III and he forged a new alliance between the kingdoms of Spain and France in cooperation with the French Secretary of State Étienne François, duc de Choiseul. This was the "Third Family Compact" so named because of the Bourbon Royal Family that reigned over both France and Spain. He was in close contact also with the American Arthur Lee in Madrid, the envoy of the rebel American government for Spain and Prussia. Lee later helped draw up the alliance with France but is seldom noted because of a falling out with the more famous and popular Benjamin Franklin. Of course, he was insistent that Spain recognize the United States and join in the war against Britain immediately but the Duke of Grimaldi held back and delayed until Spain was in a stronger position, writing to Lee, "You have considered your own situation, and not ours. The moment is not yet come for us. The war with Portugal — France being unprepared, and our treasure ships from South America not being arrived — makes it improper for us to declare immediately." He was referring, of course, to the long-standing alliance between Portugal and Great Britain. However, the Duke of Grimaldi reassured Lee of Spanish sympathy and informed him of the large stores of clothing and gunpowder delivered to New Orleans and Havana that were to be smuggled in to help the American patriots with more on the way.

Eventually, of course, the Kingdom of Spain did recognize the United States and join in declaring war on Great Britain with the Treaty of Aranjuez in 1779. Spanish troops actually played an important part both by their numerous victories over the British on the gulf coast and by diverting British focus and forces with the siege of Gibraltar. In the end, Spain was able to win back almost everything that they had lost previously to Britain in the Seven Years' War, though not Gibraltar which, of course, remains under the British Crown to this day. So, there was a member of the Grimaldi family that played an often overlooked but critical part in the winning of American independence and the birth of the United States. It was during the war, in 1777, that His Catholic Majesty King Carlos III granted him the title first Duke of Grimaldi. He was awarded the Order of the Golden Fleece for his service, made a Grandee of Spain and died in 1789.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More Baby News

Making the news last week, in the Principality of Monaco the mother-to-be Princess Charlene has started to show some visible signs of her maternity at recent public engagements. The Sovereign Prince said that they were “thrilled” and “overjoyed” to learn that a baby was on the way for the Grimaldi dynasty. In other baby-related news, the Princely Family was gathered in full force at the royal chapel in the Princely Palace for the baptism of Raphael, son of Charlotte Casiraghi and Gad Elmaleh. What I have not seen in any of the coverage is exactly what the name of the little bundle is. Raphael…what? The couple are not married and have not given many clues that they intend to change that so is he Raphael Casiraghi or Raphael Elmaleh or what? Perhaps some reader in the know will enlighten me on that score. Anyway, all the best to the new little Christian (with the background of the father I wasn’t entirely sure there would be a christening) and pretty much the whole family was there, the Sovereign Prince and Princess, grandmother Princess Caroline, Andrea, Pierre and their significant others, little Princess Alexandra of Hanover (though she is looking quite grown up these days) and Princess Stephanie and her three children. There were, of course, also members of Gad’s family present but I prefer not to think about him more than is absolutely necessary. Charlotte could have done so much better...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Double the Fun?

Okay, so the word on the street is that the Princely couple may be expecting twins. Is it true? I would like to think so, but I'm biased as twins have tended to run in my family. This rumor came to light from a media figure in South Africa who says he is a friend of Princess Charlene's father who told him the news and he passed it on via Twitter. Yeah. No word from the Palace to confirm this and I would hold off getting too excited until that happens. If and when that confirmation happens, however, I will be properly thrilled. Having twin Grimaldis running around Monaco might just break the adorable meter. So, here's hoping it is true but, again, no point getting too excited until someone in authority says it is so.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monaco and Spain in Photos

As all probably know by now, His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain will be abdicating his throne in favor of his son and heir Prince Felipe of the Asturias. The Spanish Royal Family and the Princely Family of Monaco have been good friends for a long time and this may be an appropriate time to take a look back on the close relationship between Spain and Monaco:
TSH Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace at the Royal Bullring of Seville

HSH Princess Grace with HM Queen Victoria Eugenia
(the Queen was Prince Albert's godmother)

HM King Juan Carlos and HSH Princess Grace

HM Queen Sofia & HSH Princess Grace at Zarzuela Palace

TSH Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III at the
Royal Bullring of Seville

HM King Juan Carlos I & HSH Prince Albert II

HSH Prince Albert II & HRH Prince Felipe of Asturias

Friday, May 30, 2014

Baby on the Way - At Last!

It has just been announced that Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene are expecting their first child! The newest member of the Grimaldi dynasty is scheduled to be born at the end of the year. A boy or girl? What will the name be? Time for all sorts of speculation I'm sure. In any event, congratulations to the happy couple, congratulations to the Princely Family and congratulations to Monaco on this happy occasion.

Long live the Prince!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Prince Honors the Legion



Recently, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was in Aubagne as guest of honor for the commemoration of the battle of Camerone, the official holiday of the French Foreign Legion. This marks a battle fought in Mexico in which a small band of less than a hundred legionnaires fought to the death against a Mexican republican army that numbered in the thousands. This was during the intervention of Emperor Napoleon III, just prior to the establishment of the Second Mexican Empire. The Sovereign Prince was very honored to participate and recalled the proud stories of his great-grandfather, HSH Prince Louis II, who served in the Foreign Legion in North Africa. Members of the Prince's carabinieri still train with the Legion from time to time as part of the military cooperation between France and Monaco. Andrea and Pierre Casiraghi have both participated in such exercises in the past.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Stylish Ladies

HSH Princess Charlene wearing the famous
"Ocean Tiara"

Jazmin Grace Grimaldi at the premier of the
Nicholas Cage film "Joe" in New York

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rose Ball 2014

The Princely Family was out in force for this year's Rose Ball, though Andrea and Tatiana were absent, with HSH Prince Albert II, HSH Princess Charlene, HRH Princess Caroline and the other 2/3 of the Casiraghi trio showing up. Karl Lagerfeld, long-time family friend, was prominently featured as his ideas were behind the decoration and "theme" for the Rose Ball this year.



Saturday, March 22, 2014

Casanova and the Prince of Monaco

HSH Prince Honore III of Monaco had quite a colorful life being an accomplished soldier, a foresighted leader and even something of a political reformer. However, things at the royal court in France never seemed to be dull and the Prince of Monaco had quite a time when his paths crossed with the famous Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova. One thing the court was never short on was gossip of a romantic nature and it is not surprising that Casanova generated his share. Apparently there came to be problems when both the Venetian author and the Prince of Monaco became fascinated by the same woman; an actress. Even today the very name of Casanova brings to mind someone who is ultimately charming and a master of romance and seduction and, while not as pronounced, he had a bit of that reputation in his own time as well. However, he had encountered a more clever romantic rival with Prince Honore III. Casanova was observed by the Prince to be something of a 'social climber', rather on the snobby side we might say today and always looking to advance himself by conquests amongst high society. The Prince of Monaco determined to use this to his advantage and so, to distract the charming Italian from the actress he had his own eye on, he promised to introduce Casanova to an eligible duchess.

Casanova jumped at the opportunity and, to be fair, the Prince of Monaco was as good as his word. He did indeed introduce Casanova to a duchess who was looking for love and who was instantly smitten with the dashing Venetian, however, he rather neglected to mention that she was considerably older than the Italian heartthrob and not terribly attractive at all. Casanova had been beaten and far from being able to compete with Honore III for the affections of the actress, it was all he could do to stay one step ahead of the man-hungry duchess who pursued him relentlessly. The story goes that Casanova eventually had to lie and tell the duchess he suffered from some terrible venereal disease before she was put off of him, which, true or not, probably did his reputation no good. Supposedly, he never forgave Prince Honore III for having lured him in to such a position but, as the English say, 'all is fair in love and war'.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St Patrick's Day!

There is no better way to mark St Patrick's Day than with a stunning picture of everyone's favorite Irish-American Princess of Monaco, taken on St Patrick's Day in 1954, here via The Royal Digest. Princess Grace was very proud of her Irish heritage, visited the country on several occasions and established, as part of her legacy, the Princess Grace Irish Library. Check up on past posts about the Irish-Monegasque connections here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Charlotte, Out with Baby

Who just had a baby? It certainly doesn't show...
out for a family stroll

mom pushes for a while

a peek at baby Raphael

perhaps Gad is running a new joke by Charlie?

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