Friday, February 26, 2010

Reading Up on Monaco

Here are a few 'go-to' books dealing with the history of Monaco and her monarchy aside from the plethora of biographies on Princess Grace and the current royals:

"Monaco: Its History, its Princes, its Future" from Monaco Press - A slim little book but filled with great photographs and a lot of good, general information on Monaco. There is a brief history of Monaco, a brief look at the Grimaldi Princely Family, short biographies of Prince Rainier III, Princess Grace and Prince Albert II along with summaries of the major places and cultural events in the national life of Monaco. This could be classified as an introductory work on Monaco in general and is available in French and English versions.

"Monaco and Monte Carlo" by Adolphe Smith -an older book, available only in French as far as I know, this work is not perfect; some facts conflict with those in other sources, however it gives a great deal of information not easily found about the earlier years of Grimaldi rule in Monaco, the lives of the princes and cultural trends as well as looking at the role of religion in Monaco and tracing the national history from ancient to modern times ending in the rise of the gambling industry and the efforts to control it. Again, the greatest benefit of this work is the depth of historical information on Monaco and the Grimaldi family that is often hard to find.

"The Grimaldis of Monaco" by Anne Edwards - One of the better known popular histories of Monaco and the Grimaldi dynasty the book, like most, focuses mainly on the years after the marriage of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace. However, unlike most, it does give a good, fairly in-depth look at the history of the prior princes, though little information is given on the old Lords of Monaco. Still, there is relatively a great deal on the princes from Honore II onwards. It should also be kept in mind that it is a popular history and tends to try to be sensational regarding family scandals, rumors and so on.

"Monaco and its Princes" by Alain Decaux - a favorite of mine, this book gives a good general history of the Princes of Monaco from the time of the first lords of Monaco to the reign of Rainier III. It is not long enough to go into great detail but there are a lot of great illustrations, it is a very nice looking book, and gives a good overall history of Monaco while treating the Monegasque monarchy with respect. It is an easy read, has a lot of good information and is to be recommended for those who want a book that can be read quickly with good pictures to get a grasp of the history of Monaco and its Princes.

Finally, stamp enthusiasts will enjoy reading “The Principality of Monaco as Seen Through Its Postage Stamps” by H. Chiavassa from Monaco Post, available in French and English. It is just as the name implies and although the information given on each stamp is brief the issues cover a very wide array of history, events, culture and historical figures and I have found it to be of much greater use than I had originally thought when I bought it. There are also sections about the development of the Monegasque postal system and slightly more lengthy sections on major historical items of interest. A lineage of the Grimadli dynasty and a chronology of Monegasque history is included. It is illustrated but is in black & white.


  1. What do you think is the best book on Princess Grace herself?

  2. Whew! That's a tough one. I don't own any myself mostly because I've never found one that I really liked, maybe I havn't found the right one yet (something from the Monaco Press would be nice) but I get a little annoyed with how pretty much all of them like to play a little fast and loose with the facts. They often take liberties, filling in gaps with their own details, to make the life of Princess Grace pre-Monaco seem more racy and 'wild' than it might have been. I'm not wearing rose-hued glasses or anything, alot of it may well be true, but I get bent out of shape when people assume things that they don't know happened for certain. That attitude has turned me off of most bios on Grace. That being said, I've not studied Princess Grace as much as some, mostly because information on her is so widely available. I'm more apt to obsess over past princes and princesses that few have ever heard of!

  3. Yes, I have looked briefly at a few and they did seem a bit sketchy and 'tabloidy.'


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