Sunday, April 10, 2011

What if Princess Caroline...

Of course, I hope that Prince Albert II and Charlene have a very long and happy life together and that Charlene will give Monaco an heir to carry on the Grimaldi-Polignac line of Prince Rainier but, let us just suppose for a moment that (for any reason) no children are forthcoming from the match. This question arose after someone asked me, if Princess Caroline were to succeed Albert II as the second Sovereign Princess in Monegasque history, as she is still married to the Prince of Hanover, would that not make the Monegasque monarch completely "royal" for the first time in history? I got to thinking about this and some questions arose that, while I certainly don't have the answers for all of them, might present a problem about Princess Caroline keeping her "HRH" if she is ever called to the throne of Monaco.

It has already been speculated about as to whether Princess Caroline would keep her "HRH" if she and Prince Ernst-August were ever to actually divorce. However, I have not seen much discussion on the opposite side of that question. Ironically, the titles of the Prince of Hanover are not recognized at all in his native Germany but are recognized in the Principality of Monaco which recognizes him and Caroline as Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Hanover. However, readers of this blog might remember that the rules of succession in Monaco, set down by Prince Jean I many centuries ago, calls for the husband of any heiress of Monaco to take the name and arms of the House of Grimaldi. It would impossible to imagine the Prince of Hanover doing this, even if their marriage was not effectively over. For a Hanoverian and someone included in the succession of the British Royal Family, this would be seen as a "step down" to become a Princely Grimaldi.

However, not having seen the original document (and a few changes have been made over the centuries), I would how this would work out if Princess Caroline was obliged to take the throne of Monaco. Would the Prince of Hanover simply be ignored? Again, I cannot imagine him voluntarily becoming a Grimaldi under the best of circumstances and it certainly would be unthinkable the way things are now. To the best of my knowledge, this situation has not arisen before. The only other female heiress was Princess Louise-Hippolyte whose husband did take the name and arms of Grimaldi (though he was not royal to begin with like Ernie) and in the case of Princess Charlotte and Prince Pierre, she abdicated her rights to the throne in favor of Rainier III before Prince Louis II had passed away so the issue never needed addressing. Anyway, I thought that was an interesting little quandry and something to think about for Monaco-Grimaldi scholars out there ;-)


  1. This is awkward, but hopefully the problem will not arise, as you say.

  2. This may not be directly related to your wonderfully written, thought provoking entry, but I believe that it is her title as Her Royal Highness that is preventing Caroline from divorcing Ernst.

    Princess Grace, if biographers were to be completely believed, was very keen about her eldest marrying Ernst in order to improve the social standing of the Grimaldis. With Caroline having accomplished that, albeit on her third marriage, she must have enjoyed the benefits of her elevated rank, such as being invited to the grand royal weddings of Denmark and Spain years ago. Not to mention having access to the Hanoverian jewels.

    It seems like the marriage is that of an open relationship now. Ernst has been photographed with various women, and Caroline appears to be recommitted to Monaco while raising their daughter who will inevitably be more partial of her Monegasque roots. So in a way, it's a win-win situation for them. She remains a Royal Highness, while he can go pursue his "escapades".

  3. I would not be quick to believe that. A simple reason being that there are books which ascribe the same attitude to virtually every Princess-mother of Monaco on record. It may have something to do with most of these English-language bios being written by British authors who like to think that every land longs to be part of the British Empire and every royal longs to be part of the House of Windsor. Similarly, Princess Grace was Irish-American and though she was perfectly friendly with Charles and Diana, being an Irish-American does not lend itself to a romantic view of the British monarchy. As for the Hanoverian jewels, I've yet to see them. Most of the serious "bling" Princess Caroline has was inherited from Princess Charlotte.

  4. Didn't she wear these massive tiaras during the wedding of Price Frederik of Denmark to Mary Donaldson? There were two major events -- the pre-wedding opera and the actual wedding itself, and both were highly formal. Princess Caroline attended with Prince Ernst (Prince Albert was there too, dateless)and she wore these two fabulous tiaras: the Hanoverian Flora tiara and the Brunswick Diamond tiara.

    Anyway, these jewels are borrowed anyway, so it's not as if Caroline were to keep them. But yes, I think that any member of a Princely Family recognizes the attractions of the higher rank that is of Royal Highnesses. Whatever happens to their marriage anyway, their offspring will always cement the Monaco Princely Family's stature in any Royal Family tree. I think that's a great thing, especially for a principality that small and a Princely Family that beautiful.

  5. Question, MadMonarchist -- say if Prince Albert married one of the Infantas of Spain (let's go with the pretty one, Cristina), will she be obliged to use Her Serene Highness as the Princess Consort of Monaco? Or will she remain a Royal Highness nonetheless? Sorry for the segue, and thank you.

  6. I'm not sure (such a thing has never happened) but I think she would retain it, the higher title taking precedence. There is nothing (as far as I know) in the rules about that, I just thought it was interesting with Ernst August because his titles are not recognized in Germany but are in Monaco. Spain, of course, being a reigning monarchy would have titles recognized by all.

  7. Really. Could anyone ever think that Princess Caroline is happy with this marriage in name only. Don't you think she's embarressed by her husband's activities? She was raised to be proper, regal, and polite--she is dealing with the situation. If she really didn't care about her marriage vow--then she would be dating too. I think she's trying to hold onto her daughter. As long as she honors the marriage, she remains in good standing with the law and would have a better chance of holding onto her daughter in case of a divorce.

    Get real! This Princess is holding back the pain. She is most likely grateful for Albert's wedding to distract everyone from her marriage.


  8. No question about Princess Caroline being embarrassed about Ernst's activities. No objections about her dealing with the situation. Mom raised a very good point regarding Caroline holding onto Alexandra in case of a divorce: they may have a pre-nup agreement that dictates that the offspring is handed to Ernst in such an event.

    However, as far as considering her reluctance to divorce or announce a separation as a pure form of respect for the sacrament of marriage, I think she's way too sophisticated and worldly for that. After all, Ernst was married when they met -- I am not implying that she got into an adulterous situation with Ernst; instead, I am pointing out that Caroline knows that marriage may not be a permanent thing after all regardless of one's love, effort and commitment.

    Given that his infidelities have been published, what Ernst has been doing lately is in essence no different from the kind of betrayal that Daniel Ducruet subjected Stephanie to. Except that Ernst August is a royal highness, and that Prince Rainier was still alive during that Ducruet episode.

    But she's looking good, her children seem to be very well-rounded, and Monaco is in the brink of a new, hopefully golden, era. So whatever her marital status is, all seems well, or at least tolerable to everybody concerned.

    MadMonarchist, should this entry be posted, thank you for giving me a chance to clarify my earlier comments and respond to Mom.

  9. It is said that Prince Albert has children, one boy, one girl out of wedlock-if he doesn't produce an heir-could the boy be in line to the throne? Prince Albert has agreed that these are his biological children, if Charlene could not conceive. I also read that Caroline's son, Andrea, he would be in line to the throne. This is all so sad for the sweet family-the divorce of Princess Caroline who is in my eyes-amazing as is her beautiful family. It will be interesting to see who will one day end up as Prince or Princess?

  10. That gets pushed about the internet alot but the answer is a simple and definite *no*. And I really wish people would stop suggesting such a thing as it creates false hopes in alot of people. The law of succession is clear; one must be of legitimate birth. Were that not the case there would be a totally different family in Monaco today probably. As for Andrea, that is a real possibility. He is already currently in-line for the throne behind his mother and if Albert has no legitimate offspring, Princess Caroline may choose to do as her grandmother did and abdicate her rights to Andrea so that he could succeed Albert when the sad occasion comes. Though, having said that, I think Caroline would make a great Sovereign Princess.


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