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.
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'.
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.
Recently it was St David's day again, the feast day of the patron saint of Wales. TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene marked the occasion by attending the St David's Day Charity Dinner at the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo.
The Royal Digest recently featured a post on the Van Cleef & Arpel's tiara of HSH Princess Grace of Monaco. Made in 1976 the Princess wore it only once for the pre-wedding festivities of Princess Caroline and Philippe Junot. Check it out.
This past weekend it was all glitz and glamour for the second wedding of Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana (technically Casiraghi now) Santo Domingo. It was a far cry from their first, low-key, exchange of vows in Monaco. The reception was held at a Swiss resort with a star-studded guest list and such activities as a fondu party and a torch-lit ski down the mountain. Tatiana wore a Valentino wedding dress and both returned to the hotel wrapped in white furs in a horse-drawn carriage. The bride walked down the isle in an 11th Century convent founded by the Order of Cluny on a carpet of rose petals to the serene sound of “Ave Maria”. The day before the ceremony the couple also appeared at the church of St Joseph to have their son Sacha baptized into the Catholic Church. Congratulations to the new little Christian. The wedding sounds (no photos so far) like a great mixing of Old World charm and modern day celebrity. I was rather surprised at how traditional it all seemed for a couple that has mostly been known for doing things in their own way, and it sounded lovely ("traditional" is not a bad word around here). Princely uncle and aunt Albert II and Charlene were there of course as was little brother Pierre, sister and new mother herself Charlotte Casiraghi (along with her baby-daddy Gad) but of course pride of place went to the mother of the groom HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover. Others on the guest list included royals and celebrities from Prince Nicholas of Greece to Hollywood star Uma Thurmon. We wish them the best, especially since Andrea is next in line to the throne of Monaco until Prince Albert and Princess Charlene get busy and do their duty. And, yes, that was a not-at-all subtle hint!
Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, both former Olympians themselves, attended a special 'send-off' event for the Monegasque Olympic Team that will shortly be heading to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Wish them the best!
Today is the feast day of St Devote, patron saint of Monaco and the House of Grimaldi. The celebrations are already underway and TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene participated in the traditional boat burning which is done in commemoration of the historic tradition that a thief had his boat burned after trying to steal the relics of St Devote.
St Devote, pray for us, pray for Monaco and pray for the House of Grimaldi
It is simply a fact that most do not immediately think of the Principality of Monaco as a very "religious" country. However, if you look past the glitz and glamour, the gaming tables and luxury yachts, it remains an officially Catholic country and one of the last officially Catholic monarchies in the world. Today, in the United States, pro-life advocates are holding their annual pro-life march in Washington DC, marking the day when abortion became legal. Those who believe in the right to life will be happy to know that, despite some unfortunate changes, Monaco remains a strongly pro-life country. For most of Monegasque history, of course, this was taken for granted. However, in became explicit thanks to HSH Prince Rainier III who suspended the constitution in 1959 in order to re-work things. When the new constitution was enacted in 1962 the Prince saw to it that it made abortion absolutely illegal in Monaco for any reason. Obviously, being surrounded by France (rarely more than a short walk away) anyone wanting an abortion could easily obtain one, but this was a matter of principle for the staunchly Catholic Prince who believed in the right to life. The "unfortunate" part came in 2009 when this law was amended to allow for abortion in extreme cases such rape, fetal illness/deformity or if the life of the mother is imperiled. I would not be surprised if that was not done with some EU pressure, but that is just my opinion. In any event, even with that amendment, Monaco still remains one of the most pro-life countries in Europe (or the world for that matter) and HSH Prince Albert II has also given his support to the study of adult stem cells for medical research, encouraging this in a way that does not require the destruction of human embryos. A very noble activity.