Monday, June 20, 2011

Accession of Charles III

It was on this day in 1856 that HSH Prince Charles III became the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. He came to the throne beloved by the people, a handsome prince known for his sharp mind and decisiveness but he inherited many problems and his path to the throne was not without bumbs. His mother Princess Caroline had ruled the place, more or less, while his father, Prince Florestan, had the artistic nature that inclined him toward liberalism and never getting down to business. Prince Charles became so disgusted with the situation that at one point he threatened to go to the King of Piedmont-Sardinia to have him intervene to force Prince Florestan to abdicate in favor of Charles. His mother was not amused to say the least.

She was a formidable and talented woman but Charles had good reason to be concerned. All of her financial wizardry had not been enough to keep the family on solid financial ground as Prince Florestan was as liberal in his spending as he was in his political opinions. Prince Charles III wanted to get out from under the Savoys and return Monaco to the old protectorate with France. He also wanted to restore the Grimaldis to their place at court in Paris, having sorely felt the lack of attention from King Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis Philippe. He hoped Emperor Napoleon III would be more friendly. However, all of these ambitions would cost money and that was something Monaco nor the House of Grimaldi had in abundance. The tensions were also growing worse with Turin. It was left to Prince Charles III to sort all of these issues out and to steer through the complex world of Franco-Sardinian relations. In the end, it cost Monaco the towns of Menton and Roquebrune but, in the end, in every other way Prince Charles III was to see all of his goals accomplished and would usher in a new era for the Principality of Monaco.

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