On Wednesday HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco paid a formal visit to the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, a micro-state and aristocratic republic in the Apennines of Italy. The Sovereign Prince was welcomed with all of the formality and fan-fare possible for the small country and the Prince was decorated with the Knight Grand Cross dell’Ordiene Equestre di Sant’Agata. Prince Albert II discussed ways to build closer relations between Monaco and San Marino. Both of these countries stand out as examples of the benefits of smaller countries as opposed to the massive, centralized super-states that seem to be so much more in fashion these days. One has to wonder why so many, particularly in Europe, seem to think that a larger EU with more centralized power is the answer to every problem when the most prosperous and successful countries are micro-states such as Monaco, San Marino, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.
However, as a monarchist partisan of Monaco, and openly such, I have to ask; how many people have even heard of San Marino versus the Principality of Monaco? I do not mean any disrespect towards San Marino. As republics go it is one of the better ones, however, whereas a great many people around the world are familiar with Monaco not too many know anything about San Marino. Part of this is the glamor of Monaco, the world famous Monte Carlo casino and other attractions, but at the end of the day all of these and more goes back to the monarchy. Were there no Grimaldis, who would know or care that much about Monaco? What if there had been no Prince Charles III to start the Monte Carlo casino? What if Prince Louis II had not opened the Monaco Grand Prix? What if Prince Rainier III had not married Grace Kelly and made all of America fascinated with Monaco? Especially since the gambling industry is no longer the powerhouse in Monaco that it once was, Monaco is known as much as for any other reason as the native land of Prince Albert II, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie. And this brings very real and practical benefits to the country as well.
You do not have to be large to be successful and command attention. The formula for success seems obvious to me. You need to be a monarchy, you need to be grand and stylish, even if on a small scale, and you need to have low taxes and an attitude that welcomes success. In short, many a country could take a lesson from the Principality of Monaco.