Regular readers will know I have a soft spot for Princess Stephanie, always have, and since her last interview with Paris Match I have wanted to relate some of that. Other things came up but, better late than never. The interview noted the appearance of Stephanie’s office and that she seemed to be existing on Diet Coke but that was due to Camille having the flu and, as Princess Stephanie said, her “first job is mom”. On the subject of the Princess’ rather varied resume; singer, model, fashion designer, humanitarian etc Stephanie confessed that she has had a rather hectic life. This was not exactly what she would have intended. “I built my life as a woman alone because I had lost my mother, my reference, my guide”, Stephanie said, “I tried to learn everything from everyone and everywhere, by myself, because I had no guide”. She realized how life could be cut short and was determined to live it to the fullest, try everything and enjoy it while she could. However, Stephanie was adamant that she has no regrets. All of her life experiences made her the woman that she is and she is content with how she turned out. So, no regrets but, mistakes, she’s had a few. However, even there she says they made her stronger.
The PM interviewer asked her a lot about her love for the Circus which, Stephanie said, came from her father taking her growing up. He had dreamed of being a circus manager as a boy (something I never knew) and passed on his love for the spectacle to Stephanie. She has always been impressed by it. Today Stephanie is very involved in the ‘nuts and bolts’ of being President of the International Circus of Monte-Carlo. As Stephanie said, it would be useless to be president and only attend performances. When asked what she likes about both sides of the Circus, public and behind the scenes, Stephanie said, on the inside, it is the solidarity. There is a family atmosphere, even when there is competition, that causes performers to help each other, stay honest and because the people involved work so hard to bring a little happiness to others. When asked about the criticism Stephanie has received from animal rights activist over her love of the Circus, the Princess would not budge. She admitted some small circuses might mistreat their animals but the activists generally ignore those and go after the wealthier, bigger circuses where the animals are actually treated extremely well. She said she could not understand the extremists who seem to want to release every animal even though many in the Circus have been raised and lived there for six or seven generations and could not survive in the wild.
Princess Stephanie said she had something of the same mentality as the Circus performers when it came to her work for Fight AIDS Monaco, giving of herself to bring a little happiness to others. As can easily be seen, Stephanie remarked that, “Life has taught me compassion”. She shrugs off those who think helping the victims of AIDS creates a “bad image”. She also spoke about her children, how she takes them to the circus like her father took her and that they have inherited her love for it as well and she remarked on Pauline and her commitment to competitive diving. In fact, Pauline spent so much time taking care of the animals (the elephants especially) at the circus that she even wanted to spend the night with them. The Princess, however, said she exercised her “veto” when it came to that extreme. However she said the performers in the circus were like athletes, something that Pauline would have in common with them. She takes her diving very seriously but has told her coach she has to make time for the circus too. As the Princess laughingly said, “The succession is assured!”
On the larger subject of motherhood Stephanie admitted that the children are growing up and will some day go their own way, just not too soon. She gives them her advice based on her life experiences but wants to allow them to have their own experiences. She has tried to impart some moderation on them, urging them to wait until they are older before trying certain things (drinking, partying) and to know that some things are fun once and a while but should not be made a habit. She has never exposed them to the high life and parties of the jet-set crowd and as such they have no temptation in that direction and, she says, are happy to live more anonymously than some others. She stressed again that she learned nothing lasts forever and wants her children to be skilled and educated so that, come what may, they will always be able to adapt and do for themselves.
When it comes to being a princess, Stephanie has a very unromantic view of the position. When asked what it means to her, she said simply being the daughter of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace, nothing more. When asked about those girls who dream of being a princess, Stephanie said, “If people lived the life of a princess for even a week, they would dream a lot less”. No, there are no Cinderella’s or Sleeping Beauties for Stephanie. “We are human beings like any other, with our sorrows, our joys, our laughter, our tears … We suffer the same way, except that we still suffer in public” she said. On the fairy tale that befell Charlene, as we have mentioned before, Stephanie was very supportive, saying she had all of the qualities necessary to be a princess consort. She is sensitive, she is strong and Stephanie is willing to help in any way she can to support her brother whom she has always been very attached to. On the part she has to play in Monaco it is, according to the Princess, also one of supporting her brother. She prefers the less glamorous style, slightly off stage, with the people. As Stephanie said, “Monegasques see me pushing my trolley when I go shopping, they approach me, ask me for advice, I try to refer them to appropriate services to solve their problem”. She remarked on how busy and hard working Prince Albert is and that, for the sisters, they each try to cover a certain segment to help out. Princess Stephanie deals with the people at home, Princess Caroline covers the international issues and the glamorous events Stephanie would rather avoid and between them they keep all bases covered.