Friday, October 30, 2009

H.S.H. Princess Charlotte Therese Nathalie Grimaldi

One of my favorite paintings of one of the Princesses of Monaco, this work was done by Pierre Gobert in 1733 of Princess Charlotte of Monaco, daughter of Prince Jacques I who was a nun of the Order of the Visitation. Princess Charlotte, known as Mademoiselle de Valentinois and then as Mademoiselle de Monaco, was born on May 19, 1719 in Paris and her parents decided she would devote her life to the Church when she was only a few months old. However, Jacques and Louise-Hippolyte later changed their mind when they thought a good match could be made for her and in 1724, when the Princess was only 5, she was engaged to the Prince d'Auvergne. Yet, this proposed marriage did not come to be and before she was much older the engagement was broken off and Charlotte went to a convent to begin her education. She considered becoming a nun while there, wrestled with the decision but did finally take her vows as a sister of the Order of the Visitation. She did leave the convent a number of times to visit her family and, as an interesting historical point, the convent in which she took her vows was the same one where the convert Louise de la Valliere went to do penance.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Prince Albert Sued - Again

Look, someone's suing you!
HSH Prince Albert II is being sued in a case filed in a Santa Barbara, California court by a man claiming to be a former spy hired by the Sovereign Prince who, he claims, shorted him on his bill. He has also claimed to have a multitude of very scandalous "secrets" that will come out, everything from a sex tape and "shady oil deals" to a claim that the Prince hinted about the man seeing to it that his natural daughter Jazmin had an "accident" -obviously the most shocking and serious of the accusations. The Prince's lawyers have said that the charges are all absolutely false and that this is simply the effort of an imaginitive novelist to extort money from the Princely Family. Much of what has been alleged is so absurd as to be easily dismissed. However, there is so much content and detail that even the Prince's most ardent fans will likely be troubled by this, whether they admit it or not. What I find the most likely explanation is that Prince Albert, who has long been known for being such a "nice guy" has been duped by this man (if any of his story is true in the least) just as he has been duped by a number of women in the past. In the old days, taking a head of state to court would be a huge waste of time, however, with the many changes in modern Europe it is nothing to take likely. It is also why most heads of state employ only their own people as intelligence agents. Were this man (who I will not name) a Monegasque subject he would surely be hauled to jail for treason. We shall see what comes of it, but, in any event and with all due respect to His Serene Highness, the Sovereign Prince really, really needs to be more careful about who he surrounds himself with.

Monday, October 26, 2009

H.S.H. Princess Marie-Catherine de Brignole-Sale

Marie-Catherine de Brignole-Sale was the first wife and consort of HSH Prince Honore III of Monaco, however, their story actually begins with Marie-Catherine’s mother; Marquise Anne de Brignole-Sale. Although some ten years his senior Honore was very much taken with the strong-willed, passionate beauty and was soon carrying on a quite public affair in total disregard of her husband, the skeletal thin but immensely rich Marquis de Brignole-Sale. Anne herself was of the prominent Balhhis of Genoa and Honore carried on an affair with her for several years, even spending a few months living openly with her in Genoa at the Palazzo Rosso. However, her daughter, Marie-Catherine also began to turn heads. She was 15-years-old with dark hair, captivating features and a perfect figure. Soon Honore had cooled toward the mother and began to court the daughter.

The Marquise did not appreciate this very much and ordered Honore to leave. With he did, but only after pledging to marry Marie-Catherine one day. For her part, Marie-Catherine sent a note saying that she would marry no one other than the Prince of Monaco. The problem with the marriage plans was that they required the consent of the Marquis de Brignole-Sale and it should go without saying that he no kind feelings for the man who had cuckolded him for so long. He refused his permission and to the surprise of Marie-Catherine, Prince Honore seemed to give up and go looking elsewhere. In truth, Honore still loved Marie-Catherine but he was determined to marry and start a family with someone, even if not his first choice. Honore set his cap for the daughter of the Duc de La Valliere, whom he had never bet, but who would make a very beneficial match.

Because of his past actions the French court protested loudly at the match in a show of very hypocrisy given how many of them had or were carrying on similar affairs. The King withdrew his support and Honore III threatened to withhold Monegasque support for France such as the military service his family had long provided. Louis XV was unmoved by the threat. The Marquise was also denouncing her former lover but Honore’s strong reply seemed to win her over to the idea. She then began to work on her husband to agree to Honore marrying their daughter and finally the Marquis agreed and Honore sent Marie-Catherine an engagement present; the same jewels that had once belonged to her mother.

On June 15, 1757 the couple were married by proxy in Genoa. An impressive flotilla of ships then set out from the city to deliver Marie-Catherine to Monaco where Honore III was waiting to receive her with plenty of flags and soldiers all dressed in their best. The Genoese ships arrived, dropped anchor and then did nothing for about 15 minutes. Finally a messenger came to politely inform Honore III that he should board the ship to claim his bride. Honore III was outraged at the suggestion. He was the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, a monarch in his own right, and monarchs did not go to meet others; others came to meet him and he said as much. This was too much for the proud Genoese republicans. The bride was descended from French nobility and several Doges of Genoa and they demanded Honore bow to their wishes. A stand-off ensued and finally the Genoese ships pulled up anchor and sailed away along the coast leaving everyone tired, disgruntled and frustrated.

For nearly a week negotiators haggled back and forth as most of the shipboard wedding party became miserable with seasickness. Finally, an agreement was made and the ships returned to Monaco, canon salutes were fired, the troops filed out to their positions and Honore III reappeared. A bridge was extended from the Monaco side to link up with the gangplank of the ship and Honore III advanced halfway, meeting the bridal party in the middle. At least that is one version of the story, the other being that the impatient Honore finally gave up waiting, commandeered a boat and rowed out to the Genoese ship to find his bride, cheered wildly by the galley slaves and to the accompanying thunder of canon salutes. In any event, after a very inauspicious start the two were finally together as husband and wife.

The two honeymooned at the Palais Carnoles, built by Honore II. At first both seemed exceedingly happy. Princess Marie-Catherine had a very emotional, romantic, adventurous nature and she seemed totally caught up in this new turn her life had taken as consort of a small Riviera principality, mistress of the palace known as the Mediterranean Versailles. After eleven months of marriage she gave birth to an heir to the Monegasque throne; the future Prince Honore IV. However, while the Chevalier Grimaldi handled the government and Princess Marie-Catherine focused on raising and spoiling her new son Honore III found he had little to divert himself. Finally, in 1760 he left Monaco for the French court promising to send for Marie-Catherine as soon as he arranged things.

Things were not all peaches and cream at the French court either and soon Honore III was writing sad letters to Marie-Catherine about how much he missed his beloved. In December she left Honore IV with her parents in Monaco and went to France to join her husband. They were troubled from the very outset by a claim for the throne of Monaco by the senior line of the Grimaldi family who protested the heirs of the Mantignon family of Prince Jacques I ruling the principality. The French ignored the claim but Honore III was very unnerved by the threat. After two years Princess Marie-Catherine was pregnant again and very much missing her absent son and so parted with her husband again to return to Monaco. To her great sadness she miscarried and Honore III came back to Monaco to bring his wife back to Paris.

Princess Marie-Catherine began to feel very neglected as she was recuperating while her husband was living the high life at Fontainebleau. Already pregnant again, Honore did not join her but transferred to Normandy while she wrote letter after letter entreating him to come back to Paris where she was staying with her brother-in-law Prince Charles-Maurice Comte de Valentinois. He was nice enough to her but Marie-Catherine and his wife Marie-Christine continuously clashed. Marie-Christine viewed the Princess consort of Monaco as an unsophisticated country girl and Marie-Catherine certainly seemed out of place in the glamorous, glorified pony show that was the French court. She would not wear makeup, she would not wear a train, she followed none of the passing fashion trends and sat out most of the dances. Her only real friend was the widowed Prince de Conde and soon gossip mongers were writing to Honore III that the Prince was trying to woo his wife away from him.

The jealous fury of Honore III might have been at least somewhat more understandable had he not left a mistress of his own in Normandy to race back to Paris to accuse his wife and the Prince de Conde of behaving inappropriately. Princess Marie-Catherine was indignant that she should be accused of such a thing (perhaps thinking her husband had the least right of all to cast stones in that direction) and both parted on bad terms. Honore III left Paris and the Prince de Conde went on cozying up to the Princess of Monaco who seemed much more friendly with him after that.

Honore III did not take Marie-Catherine with him on his grand visit to England and when he returned to Paris his sister-in-law filled him with malicious gossip about his wife and the Prince de Conde. The two separated in all but name and Honore III paraded a succession of mistresses in public before Princess Marie-Catherine finally withdrew from court life and went to a convent at Le Mans where the local bishop was a Grimaldi. The Marquise Anne tried to save the situation and did finally bring about a reconciliation but things were never the same. When the Marquis de Brignole-Sale died he left his vast fortune to his daughter but stipulated that her husband was to have none of it. Honore III was outraged and protested to the Genoese senate but to no avail. The Princess returned to the convent but the still smitten Prince de Conde intervened on her behalf, obtained a legal separation for her from her husband and moved her into his Chateaux de Chantilly. She later bought a chateaux of her own nearby where her children visited her.

When the French Revolution hit, Princess Marie-Catherine went into exile in England, accompanied by the Prince de Conde, whom she married after Honore III died in 1795. Marie-Catherine spent her vast inheritance supporting the French royalists in their struggle against the revolutionaries until she was all but penniless. She died at the age of 74 on March 8, 1813 and was buried in England with the British Royal Family stepping in to cover the cost.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prince of Monaco in California

After being given the "Teddy Roosevelt Medal" by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and handing out the Princess Grace awards the Prince of Monaco was off to sunny California where he was hip-deep in Hollywood celebrities in Los Angeles where he attended a gathering in honor of his late mother and Hollywood icon Princess Grace held by the City of Beverly Hills and the Rodeo Drive Committee for her contributions to fashion and entertainment on the 22nd. On Friday night he was presented with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s Roger Revelle Prize for the environmental work of the Prince Albert II Foundation. He also gave a lecture on the effects of climate change on marine life. It is unknown, but speculated about, whether or not the Sovereign Prince will visit his daughter, Jazmin Grimaldi, who usually resides in the southern California - San Diego area while he is in the neighborhood. If so, such a visit would probably be kept extremely private and out of public view if at all possible. In recent years Jazmin has set up her own charitable fund seeking donations to help children in the remote islands of Fiji.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Albert II Back in the USA

H.S.H. Prince Albert II and girlfriend Charlene Wittstock have wrapped up a visit to the United States. He visited Washington DC to tend to some government business, met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations in New York on the 19th and yesterday attended the Princess Grace Awards, presenting the prizes to the winners and rubbing elbows with numerous celebrities. The Princess Grace Awards Gala was held at Cipriani 42nd Street. At the end of this week the Sovereign Prince will be in San Diego, California to speak at the Bright Green Future Conference where he will also be given the Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s Roger Revelle Prize on Friday. The award, and what the prince will most likely be speaking about, was given for the Prince's work in studying and raising awareness of the danger to marine life from rising levels of co2 in the oceans caused by global warming.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Everyone Has Those Days

Rich or poor, we all put our pants on one leg at a time and we all have car trouble from time to time. Monegasque heir Andrea Casiraghi was out for a drive with his girlfriend Tatiana Santo Domingo when he made the mistake of filling up his tank with diesel instead of gasoline. Did the automotive gene of Rainier III skip over his grandson? Perhaps it was simply a moment of absent-mindedness but it brought things to a screeching halt. Tatiana took the wheel while Andrea pushed the car to the side of the road where they waited for a mechanic to come to the rescue. I'm sure there was plenty of teasing in the meantime. Unfortunately, if they ran a gasoline engine on diesel there will be little a mechanic can do other than call 'time of death'. Everyone has those days, even the most elite amongst us.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Prince of Monaco at the Vatican

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was in the Vatican yesterday for a meeting with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The two discussed the need for moral education for the young, the importance of protecting life in all its stages and good stewardship of the environment. During the customary exchange of gifts the Sovereign Prince gave the Pontiff a sculpture depicting the storm-tossed boat that carried the body of St Devote to Monaco. St Devote is the patron saint of Monaco and the Principality is one of the few remaining officially Catholic monarchies in the world. Earlier, while in Rome, Prince Albert also met with Grand Master of the Knights of Malta Matthew Festing at their office on the 15th. Prince Albert has been a member of the Knights of Malta since 1989. After his meeting with the Pope the Prince was still home in time to preside at the official opening of Oktoberfest in Monaco. Perhaps the Holy Father gave him some tips on doing things the German way.

H.S.H. Princess Françoise-Thérèse of Monaco

(as a young girl with her mother)
Françoise-Thérèse de Choiseul-Stainville, Princesse Joséph de Monaco is one of those historical figures who seems to slip through the cracks. Her father was Jacques Philippe de Choiseul, Comte de Stainville of whom the general consensus could perhaps best be described as oafish and her mother was his very beautiful and popular wife Thérèse de Clermont d’Amboise who were married in Paris in 1761 when the groom was 40 and the bride barely 15. Jacques was the younger brother of the Duc de Choiseul who was one of the right hand men of the French King Louis XV. They had two daughters, Marie-Stephanie in 1763 and Françoise-Thérèse in 1766 despite the fact that it was not a happy marriage and both husband and wife had affairs.

This has led to some speculation as to whether or not Françoise-Thérèse was really the daughter of Jacques Philippe or perhaps his cousin the Duc d’Lauzun. Finally, after a particularly ugly scene Madame le Comtesse was sent to a convent by her husband. It also meant that Françoise-Thérèse was fairly well ignored by the family of her father for fear that she was not really his, the only exception being her aunt, by marriage, the Duchesse de Choiseul who was very fond of her. In convent school both Marie-Stephanie and Françoise-Thérèse had a reputation for being pranksters and troublemakers (putting ink in the holy water and such stuff) and were considered quite the handful. Of the two of them, Françoise-Thérèse was considered the most wild and unruly. The Princesse de Ligne described her as “rather pretty” but “very untamed” and thought to have been badly raised.

Her beauty seemed more than able to overcome her mischievous behavior and questioned parentage as she had no trouble attracting gentlemen callers and on April 6, 1782 she was very happily married to Prince Joseph of Monaco, son of Prince Honore III of Monaco and Marie Catherine Brignole-Sale. The two were, by most accounts, perfect for each other, very happy together and eventually had three daughters; Honorine in 1784, Athenais in 1786 and Delphine in 1788. Now Princess Françoise-Thérèse of Monaco she seemed to have everything anyone could ever want; security, healthy children and an adoring spouse. However, her wedded bliss was to come crashing down in the tidal wave of the French Revolution which was not to leave tiny Monaco untouched.

When the first violence broke out in 1789 Princess Françoise left for Italy with the Duchesse de Fleury while Prince Joseph joined the heroic counterrevolutionary uprising in the Vendée. She met the famous Lady Hamilton in Naples and was in Venice for the ceremonial marriage of the Doge to the sea. Her freedom of movement became much more difficult after February 14, 1794 when the Principality of Monaco was annexed to the French Republic, thus robbing Princess Françoise of her status as a foreign princess and making her subject to the multitudinous restrictions placed on citizens of the republic. She quickly came back to Paris to collect her children who were staying with the Duchesse de Choiseul and to avoid having her property confiscated as an émigré. Nonetheless, the revolutionary authorities arrested her anyway as she was trying to sort things out. She obtained forged papers and secured her release but then, just as freedom was within reach, it was learned that her husband, Prince Joseph of Monaco, had fought with the counterrevolutionaries against the republic in the Vendée.

Now, not only had she lost the protection of being a foreign princess but she was also wanted for being the wife of a royalist enemy of the revolution. Another warrant for her arrest was issued but she was thankfully hidden in a convent by a friend of the family Rollet d’Avaux. However, eventually she was arrested, without being found out, and in the Winter of 1793/4 held in horrible conditions at the prison Petit Force in Paris. She was later able to secure a transfer to somewhat better conditions at the Anglaises but a spy in the prison learned her true identity, informed her captors and she was quickly sentenced to death. However, Princess Françoise was able to buy herself a little more time by telling the authorities she was pregnant and thus her execution was postponed until after the birth of her child.

She was later inspected though and found not to be pregnant after all and she wrote her goodbye letters, signing her name “Choiseul-Stainville-Joseph-Grimaldi-Monaco, foreign princess, and dying from the injustice of French judges”. She took a pane of glass from the window and used it to cut her hair, saving the braid for her daughters so that they would have something to remember her by. The Duchesse de Choiseul was also a prisoner of the revolution but would soon be released and would take charge of the girls until their father returned from exile in England. She was not yet 27 when she was taken to the guillotine, the last to make the ride in a tumbrel. She was glad to have rouge for her face as she did not want to appear pale and frightened. Witnesses said she made the trip with a look of righteous indignation and the shine of youthful beauty. She turned to a condemned lady beside her and said, “Courage, my dear friend! Courage! Only crime can show weakness.” She was the last person to be guillotined that day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

H.S.H. the Princess Charlotte of Monaco

Princess Charlotte was the daughter of Prince Louis II and the mother of Prince Rainier III of Monaco. For twenty years she was the Hereditary Princess of Monaco before abdicating her succession rights to her son Rainier. Her life story begins in Algeria where Hereditary Prince Louis of Monaco was serving with the French Foreign Legion. While there he became enamored with a cabaret singer (and part time laundress and dressmaker) named Marie Juliette Louvet. As a result of their relationship Charlotte Louise Juliette Louvet was born in Constantine, Algeria on September 30, 1898. The status of her birth was a matter of controversy from day one and, in time, would become a matter of international concern.

Prince Louis very much loved Marie Juliette but his father, Prince Albert I, was aghast at such a relationship becoming permanent. Because of this, Prince Louis maintained that he had married his beloved secretly a year before their daughter was born. No evidence was produced and insofar as the laws of Monaco and France were concerned little Charlotte was illegitimate. This became a major concern for both countries as Louis would one day inherit the Monegasque throne and if he died without a legitimate heir the next in the line of succession was his cousin Duke Wilhelm von Urach, the son of Princess Florestine of Monaco. This was actually a major concern for the French who did not want a German, even one largely raised in Monaco, ruling a country on their southern coast.

To avoid this issue before it became a crisis a law was passed by Prince Albert I which recognized Charlotte as Prince Louis’ daughter, making her a member of the Princely Family. However, this still did not please everyone as it was later held to be invalid because of a previous legal code adopted in 1882. Finally, though the worst of the potential threat had passed, on October 30, 1918 another ordinance was passed which allowed for the throne of Monaco to pass to adopted heirs. The following year, on May 16, 1919 Prince Louis formally adopted Charlotte, giving her the surname Grimaldi and granting her the title of Duchess of Valentinois. Because of the laws already passed when her father became Sovereign Prince Louis II of Monaco in 1922 his daughter became Hereditary Princess of Monaco.

Some still questioned the legality of the adoption (which seems all the more absurd when Charlotte was the natural daughter of Louis II and according to the Prince never illegitimate in the first place) because of age requirements for adoption in the Monegasque legal code.
Nonetheless, Louis II was sovereign prince and as far as he was concerned the whole issue was settled and his daughter would be his successor. Moreover, by that time, the family was already growing larger. On March 19, 1920 the Princess Charlotte married Count Pierre de Polignac of Guidel, Morbihan, Brittany, France. Prince Louis had arranged the aristocratic match and by his princely decree the count was given the Grimaldi family name and made a Prince of Monaco as well as becoming Duke of Valentinois by his marriage to Princess Charlotte. In December of that year the couple welcomed their first child into the world, Princess Antoinette. Three years later Princess Charlotte gave birth to their second child, the future Prince Rainier III.

For a time Princess Charlotte and Prince Pierre were one of the most seemingly glamorous couples in the world. However, in private, the marriage was unhappy one and things only grew worse with time. On March 20, 1930 Princess Charlotte left her husband to live with her Italian paramour Del Masso. Her mother died the same year and on February 18, 1933 a frustrated Prince Louis II officially declared the couple divorced. Princess Charlotte continued to appear at social functions and did charity work, for a time serving as a volunteer nurse. She also became more aware that, as a divorced woman whose legitimacy was clouded by controversy it would probably be best for her not to take the throne of an officially Catholic monarchy in her turn. Therefore, on May 30, 1944, a day before her son turned 21, she gave the title of Hereditary Princess, renouncing her rights of succession in favor of her son Prince Rainier. Prince Louis II agreed to the move and placed his hopes for the future of the principality on his handsome young grandson who had already proven to be a young man of considerable ability.

Princess Charlotte had officially left the stage but she remained very busy and involved. She went to college, earned a degree as a social worker and remained close to her children. When her father died and her son became Sovereign Prince Rainier III of Monaco she moved to the family estate at Le Marchais outside of Paris. Very much against the wishes of her concerned children she turned the estate in a rehabilitation center for ex-convicts. Her good deeds were judged too dangerous by many and especially so when she became very close to one of her “patients” a former jewel thief named Rene Girier or “Rene the Cane”. There were even rumors that he practiced his trade on some of the guests at the wedding of Rainier III and Princess Grace. Princess Charlotte did not always see eye-to-eye with Princess Grace but adored her grandchildren and left her famous jewelry collection to Princess Caroline who bears a striking resemblance to her grandmother. The long and tumultuous life of Princess Charlotte of Monaco came to an end on the night of November 15/16 1977 in Paris, France.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

H.S.H. Princess Maria Caroline

H.S.H. Princess Maria Caroline of Monaco was the consort of Sovereign Prince Florestan I. She was born Marie Caroline Gibert de Lametz in Paris on July 18, 1793 to Charles-Thomas Gibert de Lametz and Marie-Francoise Le Gras de Vaubercey. She grew up to be a fairly well known actress on the French stage and it was in the atmosphere of 'show business' that she met the Monegasque Prince Florestan, the second son of HSH Prince Honore IV of Monaco. The two were performing at the Theatre de l'Ambigu-Comique, eventually fell in love and were married on November 27, 1816 at Commercy. In time the couple had two children; HSH Prince Charles III born in 1818 and Princess Florestine born in 1833.

Prince Florestan had never expected to become Sovereign Prince but when his older brother, HSH Prince Honore V, died in 1841 the Monegasque throne was thrust upon him. All in all he was unprepared for the job, and being the artistic type lacked the temperment of a Mediterranean absolute monarch. It is no slight to say so as no one was more aware of this fact that he was. Fortunately Prince Florestan had a strong right arm in Princess Marie Caroline and it soon became clear that while every respect was given to the Sovereign Prince it was really his strong-willed wife who was running the show in the principality.

Princess Maria Caroline was very conscious of her new status and took the administration of Monaco seriously, especially as the economy had been suffering for some time since Monaco had been placed under the protection of the Kingdom of Sardinia rather than France following the Napoleonic Wars. The populace was also influenced by the liberalism sweeping Europe and were growing increasingly loud in their demands for democracy. Princess Maria Caroline and her husband tried to address the issue and came up with two different constitutions which were submitted for public approval but both were rejected, the city of Menton being the most difficult to please. The situation became worse in 1848 when the revolutions that swept Europe inspired the towns of Menton and Roquebrune to revolt and declare their independence. Anxious to be free of his unwanted position Florestan died in 1856 and his son Prince Charles III who, thanks largely to Princess Maria Caroline, had been well prepared to assume power, proved to be one of the most significant and successful Monegasque monarchs. Princess Maria Caroline also worked with her son to lay the foundations for Monaco to become the number one resort destination in Europe, securing the country's financial future. She died in Monaco on November 25, 1879.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Prince Albert's Golden Foot

Yesterday, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco presented the Golden Foot Award of 2009 to Brazilian soccer player Ronaldo de Assís Moreira, better known as Ronaldinho. The Monegasque monarch has long been a fan of soccer and still plays a game himself now and then for good causes. The Golden Foot Award is intended to honor players who are over 29 years old for their accomplishments across their entire soccer career The award honours a soccer player for his entire carreer, the player has to be above 29 years old. Ronaldinho, who plays for AC Milan, won with 43,755 votes. Coming in second was Real Madrid star Rául and third place went to Thierry Henri.

With the award, Ronaldinho follows into the steps of his countryman Roberto Carlos, who won the award last year. Soccer players from the past, Zibi Boniek, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Oleg Blochin and Rene Higuita were also honoured with a golden foot yesterday. The print of the foot of the soccerplayers (in gold) will be placed at the Champions Promenade near Grimaldi Forum of Monte Carlo.

Royals Unite Against Cancer in Monaco

Last Friday a number of royals gathered in the Principality of Monaco for the gala of the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer. HSH Prince Albert II acted as host to such royal guests as HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, TRH Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium, TRH Prince Guillaume and Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg as well as HRH Camilla of Bourbon Two-Sicilies, Duchess of Castro. Much attention was given to the Crown Princess of Sweden who came early for drinks with Albert II and the Princely Palace. The Sovereign Prince told a Swedish reporter that the meeting was "wonderful and fantastic".

Prince Albert II and Princess Astrid of Belgium gave speeches at the event. Princess Astrid is the Honorary Chairwoman of the EORTC Charitable Trust, which is based in Brussels, Belgium. Prince Guillaume is also a member of the General Assembly of the EORTC Charitable Trust. The organization was founded in 1976 to unite in a pan-European, multi-national effort to fight cancer. The group currently operations in more than 30 countries.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Oceans" Premiere in Monaco

HSH Prince Albert II, seen here with HRH Princess Astrid of Belgium, attended the world premiere of "Oceans" by French director Jacques Perrin in Monte Carlo. Longtime girlfriend Charlene Wittstock was also on hand with the Prince and Albert II took the occasion to present a special award to Perrin from the Prince Albert II Foundation. An auction was held earlier in the day to benefit the Sovereign Prince's namesake foundation which saw Albert II chatting with American actor Kevin Costner. Sotheby conducted the auction which saw the sale of 55 Bonelli eagle sculptures. It was all for the Eco-Art Parade 2009 which started in July by the Prince Albert II Foundation. The film "Oceans" aims to raise public awareness about the need for environmental protection for the worlds oceans.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Charlotte Casiraghi

Charlotte Casiraghi is a sure winner of the "genetic lottery" and easily the most photographed member of the Princely Family of Monaco today. She was born on August 3, 1986 to HSH Princess Caroline of Monaco and her late husband Stefano Casiraghi at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monte Carlo, Monaco. She was named after her great-grandmother Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois the mother of Sovereign Prince Rainier III. She is currently fourth in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne but, although many TV spots and magazines often refer to her as "Princess Charlotte of Monaco" she has not, per the wishes of her mother, been given any titles as of yet and is a private citizen. She inherited a considerable fortune with the untimely death of her father (including an island off the coast of Sardinia) when she was four years old. Princess Caroline moved the family to France and tried to shelter her children from media attention as best she could.

However, as Charlotte grew older there was no keeping the photographers away, she being almost a carbon copy of her very striking mother at her age. Educated in France she made high marks throughout her academic career and in 2007 got her licenese of Philosophy from the Sorbonne. She also worked as an intern at Pierre Laffont publishing house in Paris and at the newspaper The Independent in London. The tabloids have kept up with her three serious boyfriends to date, the last being Alexander Dellal, owner of an art gallery and the son of a Brazilian property developer and supermodel. She sometimes attends official events and is of course always present at the big family functions but as a private citizen she has no state obligations.

Charlotte's primary interests have been in fashion, publishing and equestrian sports. In her teens she was aa regular at jumping competitions and has recently taken up the sport again in an effort to bring attention to it and play for Monaco. She is often seen at fashion shows and recently entered the publishing world herself with a new magazine she co-founded called Ever Manifesto dedicated to fashion and environmentalism. It is free and published in print for distribution at fashion shows and on-line. She has also written for Another Magazine, The Independent and is editor-at-large for Above magazine. She has said that her new focus on eco-fashion was inspired by her friend Stella McCartney (a fashion designer and environmentalist) and her uncle Prince Albert II who is widely known for his climate change and environmental studies and awareness work.

Friday, October 9, 2009

TCM to Honor Princess Grace

Turner Classic Movies has announced plans to honor the late Princess Grace of Monaco on what would have been her 80th birthday. TCM will be showing all of her movies and viewers will be guided through them by TCM host and film historian Robert Osborne who will feature her most outstanding performances every Thursday night in November though the tribute and the showing of her films will run throughout the month. Among the movies to be shown are "The Country Girl", "Dial M for Murder", "High Noon", "Rear Window", "To Catch a Thief", "High Society" and "The Swan". Grace Kelly was born in 1929, worked as a model and in television and movies before her retirement from the silver screen in 1956 to marry HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco. She served on the board of directors for 20th Century Fox from 1976 to 1981. Princess Grace died the following year. Her son will be contributing to the special tribute, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has already voiced an on-air tribute piece dedicated to his mother's career in movies which TCM says will run throughout the month. I look forward to this, seeing some of the movies I have not caught before, though I cannot imagine my favorites ("The Country Girl" and "High Society") being displaced by any. Princess Grace, either as an actress or as consort to the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, was a class act and a superb success at all her undertakings.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Andrea and Tatiana Still Together

On the 5th, Andrea Casiraghi attended the 'Mario de Janeiro Testino' booklaunch at Cafe Carmen in Paris. Longtime girlfriend Tatiana Santo Domingo was also on hand, though the two were not photographed together which led some to continue muttering about problems. However, the following day Andrea and Tatiana were also at the Fendi 'O' party For Pixie Lott at the VIP ROOM Theater. They were also together at the launch of a new Jewellery collection called 'NEREE for ERE' by Repossi at the Ritz Hotel on the 7th. So, it seems that despite the earlier scares the two are still together and still an item.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Prince Albert and His Judges

October 1 was the start of the judicial year in Monaco and here we see the Sovereign Prince with the assembled justices of Monaco. Slightly old news, but I just loved the picture of Prince Albert, enthroned with his berobed judicial subjects around him. I'd like to see more such pictures of the monarch in Monaco. For those who parlez francaise see the article here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Charlotte Casiraghi - Fashion Week

Today Charlotte Casiraghi was in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo for the Stella McCartney Pret a Porter show. Part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2010 the lovely lady in blue was on the "front lines" sitting with Nancy Shevell, Paul McCartney Charlotte Rampling and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Albert and the Olympics, Charlotte and Global Warming

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was on hand in Copenhagen, Denmark for the big decision over where to hold the 2016 Olympic Games as a member of the International Olympic Committee. US First Lady Michelle Obama met with the Prince who, like other members, was asked about the recent scandals involving the former Governor of Illinois hurting the chances of Chicago hosting the games. Prince Albert said such things certainly don't help but he did not think it would have much of an impact on the final decision. Something must have stood out though as despite the sales pitch and star power of President Obama and Oprah the city of Chicago failed to get past the very first vote with the prize of hosting the games ultimately going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What might have been just another day at the office for Prince Albert was seen as a major embarassment for the Obamas who very much put their personal prestige on the line to win the games for Michelle's hometown. Prince Albert II has been involved with the Olympics, both as an IOC member and as an athlete for many years.
Meanwhile, yesterday in Paris at Descartes University Charlotte Casiraghi kept the environmentalist front in hand for her Uncle Albert where she attended the presentation of a new song titled, "Burning Beds" which was sung by fifty international celebrities against global warming. Presenting the song was former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan. Certainly no one can fault the Princely Family of Monaco for not drawing attention to environmentalist issues.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pierre Casiraghi

Pierre Rainier Stefano Casiraghi is the youngest child of Hereditary Princess Caroline of Monaco and her late husband Stefano Casiraghi. As things stand now he is the third in the line of succession to the throne of Monaco behind his mother and his older brother Andrea. He was born on September 5, 1987 at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monte Carlo, Monaco. He was named after his great-grandfather (Prince Pierre), his grandfather (Prince Rainier) and his father Stefano Casiraghi. His godparents were his uncle Prince Albert II and his aunt Laura Casiraghi. He is currently at university in Italy where he is studying economics, presumably to take over the family business of his late father which is currently managed by his uncle Marco Casiraghi. In 2008 he went through basic training with the French army. He speaks French, Italian and English fluently as well as a little German and enjoys playing the saxophone. Although sometimes overshadowed by his older brother Pierre has certainly attracted his own fair share of media attention, most of which revolves around his wealthy lifestyle and succession of stylish socialite girlfriends. Evidently it is news to some people that rich families live well. One of his more recent and popular girlfriends has been the Italian aristocrat Beatrice Borromeo. On the whole he has shown the ability to accomplish his goals and to enjoy life as it comes that epitomizes the Princely Family of Monaco.
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