Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Caroline: Belle of the Ball

In the aftermath of the Rose Ball it is Princess Caroline who has been given the most attention over the event and not, this year at least, exclusively because of her role in the planning and design of the event. Rather, it is in light of all of her private hardships in recent days that seems to have made most of the public all the more impressed by her style, glamour and cheerful attitude. In spite of all she has been through, Princess Caroline was her usual, radiant self at the Rose Ball. Many have said, because of this, that she has put her marital problems behind her; she is over it, it is behind her and she is not allowing the recent problems to get her down. In short, the Princess displayed the same strength and grace and ability to rise to the occasion that she has exhibited ever since the tragic loss of Princess Grace when she was suddenly thrust into the role of leading lady in the Principality of Monaco. Of course, I am sure all of the problems are not behind her, the "situation" with Prince Ernst is not resolved and we still do not know how that will turn out. However, Caroline has displayed why so many people (yours truly included) had such confidence from the begining in her ability to cope. However, that being said, it is important in such cases not to exaggerate the seeming strength of such people. It can, at times, be easy to 'expect' such strong people to be able to handle anything and they thus might not get the support and sympathy they need as much as anyone in times of trial. After all, as the song says 'everybody hurts'. It is, still, pleasing to see that Princess Caroline is able to carry on, through good times and bad, with the ability to match herself to every occasion as she always has. God bless you Princess.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The 2010 Rose Ball

This year's Monte Carlo Rose Ball was a resounding success. Princess Caroline, keeping with tradition, picked out the theme of the party which was, this year, "Morocco" and everything from decoration to much of the chosen attire of the guests was built around the styles of the north African kingdom.
Princess Caroline, Prince Albert II and Charlene Wittstock
Prince Albert's longtime girlfriend Charlene Wittstock attended once again
The Sovereign Prince of Monaco
Charlene, Prince Albert and Princess Caroline pose with guests of honor Frederic Mitterand (French Culture Minister) and Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui of Morocco
Charlotte Casiraghi, looking as lovely as usual
Charlotte attended with her older brother Andrea Casiraghi (cousin Melanie de Massy can be seen in the background)
Pierre Casiraghi attended with girlfriend Beatrice Borromeo
French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand and Princess Lalla of Morocco
Princely cousin Melanie de Massy (right) granddaughter of Princess Antoinette of Monaco attended with Gaia Repossi
Also on hand were Princess Camilla and Prince Charles of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Andrea Casiraghi's girlfriend Tatiana Santo Domingo (right) chose distinctly Moroccan fashions in keeping with this year's Rose Ball theme

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blog Update

Readers will notice a new links table on the sidebar; a collection of websites, fansites etc devoted to Monaco, the Grimaldis or certain family members. So, if you are Mad for Monaco and have a Monaco or Grimaldi related website, webpage, fansite etc just leave a comment to let me know (including the web address of course) and I will add it to the table. Thanks for reading!

The Tragic Prince Hercule

HSH Prince Hercule of Monaco was born in 1623 to HSH Prince Honore II and his wife Princess Ippolita Trivulzio of Milan. He was brought up in Monaco to be the heir of the principality (once Honore II achieved his goal of obtaining recognition as a prince) and was made a commander of the Order of Alcantara by the King of Spain just prior to Honore II breaking with Spain, defeating the garrison and taking Monaco into the French sphere of influence. When the change came Prince Hercule was made Marquis Les Baux by King Louis XIII of France. This was justified as Prince Hercule had played a key role inn the final attack on the Spanish garrison in Monaco. He led the attack on the Serravalle Tower, taking the sentries prisoner.

Honore II grew old and feeble with gout but he was satisfied that the future of Monaco rested on his son Hercule who married Aurelia Spinola on July 4, 1641. The couple had one son and three daughters so the succession seemed secure. However, disaster struck on August 1, 1651 when Prince Hercule was shot in the back by an incompetent musketeer while target shooting in Menton. He died the following day to the great saddness of his family at the age of only 27. Because of his loss Honore II would instead be succeeded by his grandson; HSH Prince Louis I of Monaco.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Still Enjoying the Winter

Why does the Sovereign Prince hate global warming so? Because His Serene Highness loves him some skiing! On the 20th Prince Albert II hit the slopes in Sestriere, Turin, Italy as part of the 5th World Stars Ski Event. The occasional grimace aside, the Prince seemed to enjoy himself (didn't take home the prize unfortunately) and it was all for a good cause. Afterwards, as the notables and celebrities who participated gathered for dinner Albert II was all smiles. His Highness' love for winter sports has certainly been one of the constants in his life and he shows no signs of slowing down and is still quite an athlete for a man in his 50's.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This Day in History

On this day in 1795 HSH Prince Honore III (left) passed away at the age of 74 in Paris and was succeeded by his son HSH Prince Honore IV. It was a dark time for the Grimaldi family; their French estates had been taken by the Revolution, many members of the family had been put in prison and Monaco itself was taken over by the French republicans with even the Princely Palace being seized and looted. Prince Honore III had been in prison the year before his death, which ruined his already weakening health. Prince Honore IV thus succeeded to his rights as Sovereign Prince of Monaco but could not actually take up that position and was a man without a country. He had been in prison when the Reign of Terror broke out and Honore IV was thrown in prison. His confinement was cruel and was to ruin his health to a large extent, even long after his release he was frail and sickly for the rest of his life. It must have seemed like the most hopeless position for Honore IV when he inherited the title of Sovereign Prince of Monaco; his family in prison or in exile, his country occupied, the family fortune gone and revolutionary radicals in control and preaching war and conquest. However, Prince Honore IV would eventually see his country restored but it all started with his succession on March 21, 1795.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

HSH Prince Pierre of Monaco

HSH Prince Pierre of Monaco, Duc d’Valentinois was born Pierre Marie Xavier Raphael Antoine Melchior Comte de Polignac in Kerscamp on October 24, 1895. His father was the French Maxence Melchior Comte d’Polignac and his mother was the Mexican lady Susana Maria de la Torre y Mier. His family was one of the oldest and most elite aristocratic families in France. One of his ancestors was a sister of Madame de Montespan and another was Yolande de Polastron, Duchesse de Polignac, one of the favorite friends of Queen Marie Antoinette. Described as charming, sensitive, suave and elegant the multi-lingual aristocrat was a common feature at elite parties in France and Monaco where he attracted the attention of Princess Charlotte of Monaco, the only child of Prince Louis II.

HSH Prince Albert I took an interest in the count as a possible husband for Charlotte as it seemed likely she would become Sovereign Princess of Monaco and he was rather concerned about history repeating itself with the story of the only other Sovereign Princess in Monegasque history Louise-Hippolyte. A prenuptial agreement was reached which would limit the role of the count should his wife ever take the throne. The legal haggling done Charlotte and Pierre Comte de Polignac were married in a civil ceremony on March 18 followed by a religious ceremony on March 19, 1920 at Marchais. The count officially became HSH Prince Pierre Grimaldi, Comte de Polignac, of Monaco. After the marriage he was also given the title of Duke of Valentinois.

At first things went well and nine months later Charlotte and Pierre had their first child, Princess Antoinette, on December 18, 1920. However, from the very start Pierre had a bad relationship with his formidable father-in-law Prince Louis II. The crusty military man viewed Prince Pierre as “a society dandy”. When Louis II succeeded to the throne relations only worsened as he insisted on keeping his family close around him and father and son-in-law could not have been more different. On May 31, 1923 Princess Charlotte gave birth to a son, Prince Rainier, and as far as Louis II was concerned, with the arrival of male heir, Prince Pierre was no longer necessary.

Princess Charlotte and Prince Pierre had been having problems almost from the start. Princess Charlotte adored her father but the presence of Prince Pierre came between them. In time, relations between husband and wife deteriorated further. Princess Charlotte began to complain that Prince Pierre was distant and something of an elitist while others found him eminently likeable. Finally, in 1929 the couple separated with the approval of Louis II. Later they were divorced (though the marriage was never annulled) and Louis II banned Prince Pierre from Monaco. Relations between husband and wife went from bad to worse with the children caught in the middle.

In the divorce settlement Prince Pierre had insisted on keeping control of the education of his son Prince Rainier and sent him to a very harsh boarding school in Britain. Rainier was so miserable he tried to run away and Princess Antoinette fought so fiercely with Prince Pierre that she accused him of being abusive (something few would believe). All of this was enough for Prince Louis II to take charge of his grandchildren himself. Pierre tried to take his case to court but there was little he could do against the Sovereign Prince of Monaco and Louis II won the day.

Over time Prince Rainier became quite upset with his mother and grandfather for keeping him away from his father for so long. Rainier and Prince Pierre wrote to each other and became as close as possible through correspondence. Prince Rainier became quite fond of him, finding him a completely different person from the image of Pierre that his mother and grandfather had and missed his presence in his life. He was quite worried when their correspondence stopped during World War II which, he later discovered, was because Prince Pierre was aiding the Free French underground; something which might have surprised his ex-father-in-law.

When Louis II died and Rainier III became Sovereign Prince of Monaco he immediately lifted the ban against his father and Prince Pierre was able to return to the principality to attend the most important events in the life of his son. Princess Antoinette would have no reconciliation with her father but Rainier worked to put the past behind them and rehabilitate the reputation of his father in Monaco. Prince Pierre remained very close to his son and a trusted advisor and confidant when needed until his death on November 10, 1964. He did at least live long enough to see his son marry the lovely Princess Grace and start enjoying the close-knit and happy family life that he had never had.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Andrea Casiraghi in Hola!

Andrea Casiraghi, eldest son of Princess Caroline and second-in-line to the Monegasque throne as things stand now, was recently interviewed in Hola! Magazine and gave some interesting and important information on his current status. The occasion of the interview was Andrea becoming patron of the Motrice Foundation which is dedicated to the assistance of people suffering from cerebral palsy. The photos were taken from a party for the foundation in Paris attended by his mother and a number of other celebrities.

When asked about his charity work Andrea said it was his mother, Princess Caroline, who instilled in him the drive to help others by her own example of devoting so much of her time to the less fortunate. Since he was a small child Andrea said he had watched his mother working for charitable causes on behalf of people all over the world and it was this that inspired him to become involved himself. The (possible) future Prince of Monaco also said that he no longer lives in the USA, having finished his studies there in political science and that he now resides in Paris where he is working in an internship with the embassy of the Emirate of Qatar. Such a job might at first seem unusual but learning the political and diplomatic ropes of a very small, wealthy monarchy might prove quite useful for a potential Prince of Monaco.

Also on hand for the party and included in the photographs was Andrea’s current girlfriend Tatiana Santo Domingo whom Andrea referred to as ‘an exceptional young woman’. He said despite his elite princely background he feels as normal as anyone with the same sort of family life anyone might have. He also said he enjoys painting and dabbling in art and greatly enjoys the opportunities offered by the considerable artistic community in Paris. Perhaps most importantly though was the respect Andrea voiced for his uncle Prince Albert II and that he is kept well informed of all current events in the Principality of Monaco. So, it seems he is not neglecting the possibility that he could, hopefully a considerable time off in the future, be called upon to take up princely duties in his native country.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Princess Grace Irish Library

HSH Princess Grace of Monaco came from an Irish-American family and was very proud of her Irish heritage. Over the years she built up an impressive collection of Irish literature and Irish sheet music. After her tragic death, with the cooperation of novelist Anthony Burgess, HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco opened the Princess Grace Irish Library. It is well worth a look and well worth a visit for those lovers of the Emerald Isle in the Principality of Monaco. Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daily Duties of the Prince

Taking yesterday as an example, we look at the duties of an average day with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. On March 15, according to the Official Journal of Monaco, HSH Prince Albert II naturalized two new citizens of Monaco, nominated a new Honorary Consul of Monaco for Hanoi in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, a new ambassador to the Republic of India (one Marco Piccinini), established seven new consular districts in the United Kingdom in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Manchester and York. The Prince awarded two captains from the Republic of San Marino (which he recently visited) the Grand Cross of the Order of St Charles and appointed a new shorthand typist for the legal department.

Later that day the Sovereign Prince attended a conference at the Théâtre des Variété in Monaco on constitutional justice in France which was hosted by Jean-Louis Debré, President of the French Constitutional Council. The conference was organized in part by the Prince Albert II Foundation. All in all a busy day of typical activities for the Sovereign Prince and reflects his normal duties in the principality.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Prince Albert!

The date was March 14, 1958 when HSH Princess Grace of Monaco gave birth to an heir to the throne of Monaco, the 31st descendant of Otto Canella, the future Monegasque monarch. Bells rang across the principality and the canon at Fort Antoine fired a 101-gun salute to honor the new Hereditary Prince. HSH Prince Rainier III, the proud father, issued the following message to his subjects:

"You will imagine my great feeling and joy in announcing that the Princess, my beloved wife, has given birth to a Prince, who has been given the names Albert, Alexandre, Louis, Pierre this 14th day of March at 10:50 AM. I wish to share this joy with all who live on our soil, and especially with the Monegasques, who form around the Sovereign Prince a united family whose mutual affection has never ceased throughout the years."

Mad for Monaco joins with all the Monegasques and all fans of the Grimaldis and the Princely Family in wishing Prince Albert II a very happy 52nd birthday with best wishes for many more to come. Long live the Prince!

Interview with Princess Caroline, 1985

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Grimaldi's Confederate Cousin

Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac was born on February 16, 1832 at Millemont Seine-et-Oise, France to Prince Jules de Polignac and Princess Marie Charlotte (Parkyns). A member of one of the most prestigious, and staunchly royalist, French families his father was council president under HM King Charles X of France. His father was a passionate royalist and an absolutist which made him a favorite of Charles X. Already a member of the French nobility he was granted the Roman title of Prince by the Pope. Polignac is also a relative of the modern Monegasque Princely Family as the father of HSH Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Prince Pierre, was the son of Maxence Melchior Comte d'Polignac.

His grandmother Gabrielle had been a famous beauty at the royal court in her day and was a best friend to the ill-fated Queen Marie Antoinette. During the 1840’s the Prince de Polignac studied mathematics and music at St Stanislas College. In 1853 he opted for the military, joining the French army to fight in the Crimean War wherein he was awarded a promotion to second lieutenant. However, still part scholar as well as soldier, he resigned his commission in 1859 to travel to Central America to study geography and political economy.

As it happened he was in the United States when war broke out between the north and south. Finding himself in friendly surroundings amongst the chivalrous cavaliers of Dixie he volunteered to fight for the Confederacy in 1861. With his blue-blood background and prestigious connections he was assured a place in the Confederate officer corps and was, appropriately enough, first made a staff officer under the dapper Louisiana Creole General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, another soldier of gallant temperament, French lineage and the Catholic faith. Later, however, he served on the staff of the irascible General Braxton Bragg, commander of the Army of Tennessee. Nonetheless, he distinguished himself and in January of 1863 was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.

In March of that year he was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi department and assigned to command a brigade from Texas. At first the hard-hitting Texans were less than impressed with their new foreign-born commander, derisively nicknaming him “Prince Polecat”. However, in time this would become a term of affection as much as it was used as the Prince de Polignac earned the respect of his Texans through his skill and bravery on the battlefield. The Prince led his Texans into battle at Vidalia and Harrisonburg, Louisiana in the spring of 1864. However, his greatest moment of glory was still to come.

From March to May of 1864 the Union armies launched the Red River Campaign, aimed at Shreveport, to cut off Confederate supplies from the far west and open the door for an invasion of Texas. In the first major battle of the campaign at Mansfield the Prince de Polignac showed his worth. Despite being considerably outnumbered the Confederates prevailed, inflicting twice as many losses as their own on the Union army and capturing a large number of supplies and munitions. Prince de Polignac was given a battlefield promotion to major general when his superior, Alfred Mouton, was killed. During the attack Polignac led his troops in person, waving his sword over his head as his troops shouted the famous ‘Rebel Yell’. A Union prisoner described the Prince and his Texas as “charging demons” whose crushing assault was “like a cyclone”.

The French Prince led his Texans throughout the rest of the Red River campaign, which ended in inglorious defeat for the Union army, and then to the new posting of his division to Arkansas in the autumn of 1864. With the overall situation of the Confederacy worsening, Prince de Polignac was thought to perhaps be more valuable off the battlefield as an envoy to France where he could perhaps use his family connections to convince the French Emperor Napoleon III to recognize the Confederate States of America and intervene in the war on their behalf, necessary, they argued, for the ultimate victory of French forces in Mexico at the time. Unfortunately, Prince de Polignac arrived too late and it was doubtful Napoleon could have been moved without the British going along with him in any event. Still he was knighted by the Emperor and sent to Queen Victoria on Napoleon’s behalf.

With the war over in 1865, Polignac went back to his original plan and journeyed to Central America. He wrote and served in the French army again as a brigadier general in the Franco-Prussian War. In 1874 he married Marie Adolphine Longenberger who sadly died giving birth to their daughter. In 1883 the Prince married Elizabeth Margaret Knight by whom he had two daughters and one son. He named his son Mansfield in honor of his finest hour. Prince de Polignac retired to a more quiet life, studying mathematics and music until his death on November 15, 1913 at the age of 81, the last surviving Confederate major general.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monaco, San Marino and Micro-States

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.

Prince of Hanover Has to Pay Up!

HRH Prince Ernst August V of Hanover, the wayward husband of Princess Caroline, has been fined $270,000 for assaulting a hotelier in the Republic of Kenya. The court tried to say that this was not a win or a loss for the prince, that there were no winners, only losers as the hotelier did not get all of the damages he was seeking nor did the Prince of Hanover get the acquittal he was looking for. I have not been a fan of the Prince from day one and to a considerable extent this problem is one of his own making, however, from all I know of the case, it seems to me the Prince was targeted by someone seeking to cash-in on a wealthy royal known for courting scandal and having a short fuse.

To review, Prince Ernst August and Princess Caroline were staying at a hotel in Kenya and were not given the accommodations they thought had been agreed upon. The Prince complained they were being disturbed by the noise and lights coming from the hotel disco. When the hotelier refused to make it right, by refund or changing accommodations, the frustrated Prince, according to his testimony and that of Princess Caroline, slapped the man lightly (symbolically it was said) twice about the head. I think it is noteworthy that the police in Kenya were never involved but the hotelier, also a German national, took the case to Germany where he suddenly claimed to have suffered severe injuries and trauma, claiming the Prince had severely assaulted him, beating him with knuckle dusters.

Now, again, the behavior of the Prince has been deplorable on a number of levels but this case has always seemed trumped up to me. The court ruled as it did because it said it could find no way of judging the word of one man against another (of course Princess Caroline did testify -I do not know if anyone did so for the hotelier) but the facts fail to add up for me. If the man was so seriously injured why did he not immediately contact the Kenyan authorities? Why did he not pursue the case there, where it happened, instead of going home to Germany to sue? This has always seemed to me like someone out to make an easy buck by exaggerating his injuries to cash-in on a prince known for his bad behavior in a country where he has a reputation and not known for being exceptionally friendly towards its former royals. However, reports are that the Prince can appeal the conviction and have a new trial.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Princess Caroline Out & About

At the end of last month Princess Caroline and Princess Alexandra were both on hand to cheer on Charlotte Casiraghi at the Villeneuve Loubet tour equestrian competition, put on by Queen International. The event lasts two weeks, unfortunately, initial results showed Charlotte not finishing (evidently some horse trouble!). On the 6th Princess Caroline was seen at a charity fair in the Principality of Monaco. From all of her appearances it seems all the recent family drama with the Prince of Hanover have not gotten the better of Caroline, once again showing what a trooper she is. In the face of more terrible occasions than anyone would want to deal with, Princess Caroline has never lost the 'grace' of her mother and the solid Grimaldi strength of her father.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

HSH Princess Antoinette de Merode

Antoinette Ghislaine, Comtesse de Mérode-Westerloo was born on September 28, 1828 in Brussels, Belgium to Count Werner de Mérode and his wife Victoire de Spangen-d’Uyternesse. It was on her eighteenth birthday in 1846 that she married HSH Hereditary Prince Charles of Monaco, son of Prince Florestan I and Princess Caroline of Monaco in Brussels. Some thought it had taken Charles longer than necessary to marry, he was handsome, wealthy and heir to the throne of Monaco after all, but most agreed that his new Belgian bride was worth the wait. Described as blonde, beautiful, kind and also quite wealthy, the two made an attractive couple and Antoinette brought a considerable dowry to the Grimaldi family with her. She came from an illustrious family whose ranks included many Belgian national heroes and her uncle was the famous prelate Monseigneur Frédéric-François-Xavier Ghislain de Mérode who held many important posts under King Leopold I of the Belgians and was later Minister of War to Blessed Pope Pius IX.

After their marriage Prince Charles and Princess Antoinette went to Monaco where, despite the rising problems that would eventually lead to the loss of more than half the national territory, the Monegasque people gave them an enthusiastic welcome, falling instantly in love with the handsome young couple. Later, like most of their predecessors, Charles and Antoinette set up house in Paris and it was there, on November 13, 1848 that their son, Prince Albert, was born, thus securing the Grimaldi succession for another generation. Princess Antoinette was a little out of her element in the glamorous high-society of Imperial France but her mother-in-law Princess Caroline took her in hand, showing her the ropes so to speak, and the beautiful young Belgian Princess of Monaco was such a success that she was soon a favorite in the court of Empress Eugenie; a fact which was prestigious but also brought with it a great deal of expense.

One of the lasting legacies of Princess Antoinette was the purchase, with her dowry, of the Château de Marchais which has remained in the Grimaldi family ever since and was the favorite country retreat of many generations including Prince Rainier III, Princess Grace and their children. The money she brought to Monaco also helped in the establishment and improvement of the Monte Carlo casino which soon proved to be a very beneficial investment, bringing hordes of wealthy tourists to the gaming tables and solving the financial problems of the principality.

In 1855 Versailles was the site of one of the major social events of the time when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Great Britain paid a royal visit to Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie and a grand ball was held in their honor which Prince Charles and Princess Antoinette were invited to attend. Princess Antoinette was greatly impressed by the event and made up her mind then that her goal was to see her son Prince Albert married to a member of the British Royal Family (a cause her mother-in-law was to zealously take up in her absence).

Prince Charles III and Princess Antoinette had a very happy marriage and Charles depended greatly on his hard-working wife, whom he called his “Angel”. Charles was already suffering from poor health and failing eyesight when Princess Antoinette was diagnosed with cancer in 1862. Nonetheless, she took attentive care of her husband, ignoring her own terminal illness, in the most selfless fashion. Even when her worsening condition forced her to leave Monaco and retire to Marchais for the benefit of the country air she wrote constantly her husband, inquiring after his health and that of her mother-in-law, warning that the devoted old woman should not put her own health in danger by doing too much to help Charles III.

Princess Antoinette seemed out of her element if she could not be helping others and despite her condition she could stand to be away no longer and returned to Monaco to look after her husband and mother-in-law. With a doctor and two maids she made the journey back to the Princely Palace, a trip which took a toll on the rapidly worsening condition the Princess herself was suffering. Only three months later HSH Princess Antoinette of Monaco passed away on February 10, 1864. Prince Charles III was devastated by her loss and was forced to rely ever more on those around him, mostly his mother at first, as he became more infirm and withdrawn, rarely leaving the Princely Palace in his final years. Princess Antoinette is not as much talked about as some other Princesses of Monaco, but she was an exemplary consort in every way. Few others were ever as devoted, selfless and caring as the Belgian Princess of Monaco.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Prince Albert II Honors Ecumenical Patriarch

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, high patron of the Cardinal Paul Poupard Foundation, awarded the first prize of the foundation, 'Prix de la Fondation Cardinal Paul Poupard' to HAH Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I. HE Paul Cardinal Poupard (seen above with the Patriarch and Sovereign Prince) is the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture and President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for the Holy See. The award was given out yesterday in a ceremony at the Hotel de Paris in the Principality of Monaco. I am always glad to see Prince Albert II, head of one of the few remaining officially Catholic monarchies in the world, taking religious issues seriously. This is also good to see as in recent years, particularly since the reign of HH Pope Benedict XVI, HAH Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeus I and most recently the newly installed Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church there has been a warming of relations between the eastern and western churches. The Pope has been reaching out to the Orthodox community as never before and the major Patriarchs in the east have also made statements more friendly than in the past about the Latin Church. Hopefully this will be another step in the right direction toward religious unity between the Catholic and Orthodox communities.

Happy Birthday Jazmin Grace!

Today Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, natural daughter of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, celebrates her 18th birthday. So far Jazmin has shown herself to be a very intelligent and compassionate young lady and Mad for Monaco wishes her a very happy birthday with many, many more to come. Happy 18!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prince Albert Olympic Wrap-Up

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco with the members of the Monaco bobsled team (above). The Olympics are over and the Sovereign Prince of Monaco is "very impressed" with how everything was handled. Photographed with long-time girlfriend Charlene Wittstock (below) the Prince gave an interview to Reuters on that occasion.
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