Monday, November 14, 2011

Princely Couple - Awards, School and Church

Busy, busy times for the Prince and Princess of Monaco. On Thursday, HSH Prince Albert II presented the Vermeil Medal for Physical Education and Sports to Pierre Weiss, former Secretary-General of the IAAF (that is the International Association of Athletics Foundations) at the Princely Palace. Lamine Diack, President of the IAAF and members of the IAAF Council also attended the ceremony.

On Friday the Princely Couple popped in to surprise the students at Saint-Charles school in Monte Carlo. They talked with the staff and students for a bit before the Sovereign Prince had to hurry off to his next engagement. However, Princess Charlene stayed behind to talk to the students some more, join in with art class and that sort of thing. The children were as adorable as can be, one giving a gushing welcome to their new Princess. Seeing things like that make me feel rather old; here is a generation of little Monegasques who never knew Prince Rainier or Princess Grace. Anyway, Princess Charlene finally left, all smiles, and loaded down with Saint-Charles school souvenirs.

Then, on Saturday, Prince Albert II was in neighboring Nice for the opening of the 2011 UIPM Congress, that being the governing organization of the International Modern Pentathlon Union, which is based in Monte Carlo and oversees the pentathlon world championships and Olympic competitions. Prince Albert serves as the Honorary President of the UIPM and addressed the 2011 Congress, commenting on the advances made recently with new technology and in attracting new, younger people to the sport. Since 2008 the UIPM President has been Klaus Schormann of Germany. Also on Saturday, Prince Albert dashed back down to Monaco to attend the 2011 World Athletics Awards Gala at the sporting club in Monte Carlo. The top prize this year went to Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Sally Pearson of Australia (way to go British Commonwealth!) who were named “Athletes of the Year”.

Sunday morning, it was off to Church for mass, but this was no ordinary Sunday mass. (Let’s get all the titles right for such a lofty occasion) HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco, HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover and HRH Princess Alexandra of Hanover all attended a special Pontifical Mass celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Barsi (of course) in honor of the 100th anniversary of Saint Martin church parish in Monaco, one of the five Roman Catholic parish churches in the Principality. The parish church was formally opened 100 years ago during the reign of Prince Albert I and has now reached the century mark during the reign of Prince Albert II. How appropriate is that? Princess Caroline was looking very smart and very, well, “Caroline” -as no one else can be. Of course, as usual, I think Princess Alexandra stole the show -cute as a button.

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