Prince Florestan, aided by his ever-diligent wife Princess Caroline, that the crisis over Menton and Roquebrune reached its height. The one royal figure on the other side of that crisis was HM King Carlo Alberto of Piedmont-Sardinia, head of the House of Savoy which held a partial protectorate over the Principality of Monaco since the Napoleonic Wars, including Menton and Roquebrune. When liberal outbursts began to sweep Europe, and the southern areas particularly, some royals tried to suppress the spread of such sentiments while others tried to get out in front of them. King Carlo Alberto tried to get out in front, perhaps belatedly, but quite successfully. It was a course of action that put him on a path to conflict with the Prince of Monaco. However, King Carlo Alberto was not quite the scheming man of ambition many of his enemies make him out to be. At the outset he was simply following the example seemingly being set by other monarchs and even the Holy Father in Rome. The difference was, having set out, he refused to change course. The two driving forces behind this movement were constitutional government and nationalism. This is the background.
In 1846 His Holiness Pope Pius IX was elected to the Throne of St Peter and came with a reputation for being something of a liberal, a man known for the demands he had made for governments to care for their people and for his recognition of the people of the Italian peninsula as one nation. Naturally, liberals rejoiced when he was elected and further thrilled when he released from the prisons in Rome all of those jailed for sedition or revolution or any sort of what we would call political prisoners. He appointed progressives to positions of leadership and began the unheard of process of introducing constitutional government in the Papal States with a leadership made up entirely of laymen. King Carlo Alberto followed the example of the Pope and soon in the Principality of Monaco, particularly Menton, there were cheers for Pope Pius IX and King Carlo Alberto by those hoping for the same innovations to be handed down from their Prince. However, the Pope who was so celebrated by liberals and even Protestant governments eventually became horrified by the effects of his progressive changes and ultimately became known as one of the most ardently conservative or even reactionary of pontiffs.
This put Prince Florestan in a terrible position. He was no reactionary himself and, indeed, Monaco would eventually put all the demanded changes into effect, but he did not want to see his country divided or taken over by a foreign power. The problem was that the power he most feared, Piedmont-Sardinia, was the only one he was supposed to appeal to for help. Charles Trenca, a leading liberal, was an early flashpoint. He had served the House of Grimaldi since 1819 and in 1841 he had been sent on a diplomatic mission to Turin along with the Duke of Valentinois (future Prince Charles III) and King Carlo Alberto had been impressed with him. On a subsequent mission the King chose him to act as go-between with the court in Monaco on the subject of annexing Monaco to Piedmont-Sardinia. Needless to say, Prince Florestan and Princess Caroline were less than impressed with this suggestion and Trenca was eventually dismissed for his plotting on behalf of Turin.
King Carlo Alberto had showed his hand and his desire to include Monaco or at the least Menton and Roquebrune in his kingdom was now known. However, the agitation in those areas only increased even after reforms were made and Prince Florestan had no choice but to appeal to the King for Piedmontese troops to restore order. When soldiers were dispatched under General Claudio Gonnet to Menton they were met by a crowd of citizens carrying a large bust of their own beloved King Carlo Alberto. They could not bring themselves to shoot down a mob cheering their own monarch and when the crowd approached, carrying the bust before them, they simply saluted the image of their King and allowed them to pass at which point the crowd burst into cheers. General Gonnet declared that there was no trouble in Menton and marched his troops on to Monaco to report as much to the Prince. This did not go over well at the palace and they assumed, probably correctly, that General Gonnet was on the side of the protestors in wishing for annexation.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Also, some have asked if the Grimaldi dynasty was represented at the wedding of HIRH Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia this weekend in Germany. The answer to that would be "no". Not many high-profile royals attended the event, it being, after all, a marriage between two royals whose status is unrecognized by their current government. It also might have been a little uncomfortable for them to do so given that HRH the Prince of Hannover was there. However, that is not to say that there are any problems between the German and Monegasque royals. In fact, Prince Albert I of Monaco, our Albie's namesake and great-great grandfather, was quite good friends with Prince Georg Friedrich's great-grandfather Kaiser Wilhelm II (both of them being yachting enthusiasts). So, no problems between the Grimaldis and Hohenzollerns but Germany is just a little bit outside the 'orbit' of the Principality of Monaco these days.
Friday, August 26, 2011
What is even more telling, considering all the "doom and gloom" so many were spouting, is the public reaction at every place the new couple have visited, whether in France, Monaco or one of the nearby towns within the 'Monegasque community'. I wonder if the gloomy gus types realize how out of touch they are? On each and every occasion the welcome has been warm and exuberant, even moreso than the always polite and friendly welcome given to the Sovereign Prince, who is a familiar face in these areas, but there are huge cheers for Princess Charlene, very large and very long rounds of applause, shouts of best wishes and as many photographs as possible. In short, the people love them. They see them, up close, they see what a happy couple they are, comfortable and at ease with each other (which they should be by now) and your average person without a heart full of malice is instantly attracted to that. Princess Charlene, despite a great deal of negativity hurled her way right out of the gate, has gotten off to an excellent start as the new Princess of Monaco. She has not let the naysayers get her down but, as the British used to say, has simply kept calm and carried on. Good for her and well done.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
godmother and a close friend of Princess Grace when she was still the "new princess on the block".
Monday, August 22, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Well, the Prince kept it on the down low, as they say, but the story has now come out that Monaco’s most persistent internet enemy has been ordered by a French court (the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris) to pay Prince Albert 20,000 euros in damages and 7,000 euros in legal fees “for the publication of false and libelous materials”. In a separate case the crazed crank was ordered to pay 60,000 euros for six libelous attacks on Claude Palmero plus 3,000 euros in legal fees. In addition, he’s also been ordered to pay over 15,000 euros to Thierry Lacoste, personal lawyer of Prince Albert II, for the same reason. He was also ordered to pay 20,000 euros for two counts of slander against Andre Muhlberger along with 3,000 euros in legal fees. Three additional judgments were made against him to a tune of 30,000 euros in damages plus 9,000 in legal fees for attacks against Claudio Marzocco, Thierry Lacoste and Prince Albert II.
More judgments are to be expected in September, October and December, delayed so that the mud-slinger in question can present himself to the court and make his case. However, don’t hold your breath for that to happen as he’s ducked into his shell like a frightened turtle. Since the court ruled that he would have to pay an additional 5,000 euros per day for any offending material remaining on his blog he quickly removed it but while still protesting his innocence of course and how, despite the legal findings, still claiming everything he says is “true”. His blog now mostly consists of advertisements for his own books. He has also refused to accept his summons to court and refused every effort at communication by the court. Which of course is exactly what someone would do who is being unjustly accused right? No, there is no way this guy is getting anywhere near a court of law unless he is dragged in in handcuffs. However, it is safe to say that he will not be visiting the continent of Europe any time soon -at least not willingly, and his war of insults against the Principality of Monaco has been muzzled.
The leading liar and captain in the tin-foil hat brigade seems very worried about the findings against him despite his assertions that it is all false and the courts have no jurisdiction over him (why remove the stuff from the website then?) and has put a halt to his war of words with Monaco. However, that does not mean he has turned over a new leaf and decided to become a happy, laid back retired gentlemen. No, it just means he has taken to flinging juvenile insults at the news outlet which released the information about the judgments against him. That would be the article here. As they say, a leopard cannot change his spots and neither can a cranky old man with skin thin enough to see through. To sum up: Prince Albert -1, cranky media whore -0.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
All of this may be completely untrue (and probably is I would think) but as I, or anyone else who runs a weblog, forum, chat room, message board or what have you on the subject of Monaco can tell you, the former flight attendant from Togo has a handful of very committed fans on the internet with a great deal of free time on their hands. Any time Nicole or Alexandre is mentioned they come out of the wood work to plead her cause, trash the Prince and the new Princess and to moan endlessly about little Alexandre as if he were some poor, victimized, neglected child in an uncaring world. Spare me the drama (and thanks to upgrading screening measures taken a few months ago I am), this is simply ridiculous and I will take this opportunity to explain exactly why.
Now, let’s move on shall we…
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
|All the Grimaldi girls turned heads, though Princess Caroline's rather colorful choice of dress took a few people by surprise. Perhaps she and her sister mixed up their wardrobes?|
|The Princely party arrives. Princess Charlene was wearing her new Ocean tiara-necklace.|
|Left to right: Melanie de Massy, Princess Stephanie, Prince Albert II, Princess Charlene, Princess Caroline and Elisabeth-Ann de Massy. The Princely Family was out in full force!|
|Princess Caroline and cousin Elisabeth-Ann look as if they're having a good chuckle|
|The Sovereign Prince takes a turn on the dance floor.|
|The Prince and Princess of Monaco. How long have we waited for this picture?|
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Yes, it was on this day in 1986 that HSH Princess Caroline of Monaco and Stefano Casiraghi welcomed their lovely daughter Charlotte into the world at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monte Carlo. What has she been up to lately? One of the recent events she graced with her presence was the Islamic Fashion Festival in London, called "Discover the Beauty of Modesty" (Monaco hosted a similar event here a while back). Mad for Monaco wishes our Charlie a very happy 25th birthday and many, many more to come.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
The Princely Rifles turned out, smart as usual, to welcome the Grand Master with full military honors and all the pomp and ceremony the tiny Monegasque army could muster. Minister of State Roger and the Prince's Chamberlain were also on hand, along with the Prince and Princess to welcome the distinguished visitor. After the official greeting was done the Archbishop of Monaco celebrated a special mass in the palace chapel which all attended. There was a private dinner, a meeting with the Minister of State and Princess Charlene joined the Grand Master for a special concert in the palace courtyard (right where a wedding was recently held you might have heard of) to benefit the many charities which are supported by the Knights of Malta. It was all very glamorous but, alas, it seems I will still have to wait to see Prince Albert in all his Hospitaller finery. In all seriousness though, I do love this sort of stuff and it is good to see two representatives of such ancient historical presence in Mare Nostrum get together once in a while.