Remember when the little Casiraghi boys used to dress in miniature Princely Rifles uniforms? Prince Albert II and Prince Rainier III did the same thing back in their day and it always made for a cute sight. Well, we may see it again soon for real. On Saturday, HSH Prince Albert II and nephew Andrea Casiraghi attended a special mass for the Feast of Saint Sebastian, patron saint of soldiers and the patron saint of the Prince's Company of Carabiniers, the military and palace guard of Monaco. Colonel Fringant, chamberlain to the Prince and High Commander of the Public Forces (that's right, he IS the "high commander") along with Philippe Rebaudengo, commander of the Princely Carabiniers were naturally among those who attended. The Sovereign Prince took the occasion to formally bestow the rank of "Brigadier" on Andrea at a reception held after mass at the Oceanographic Museum. The senior Casiraghi (and currently still the second-in-line for the throne) is now officially a soldier. I wouldn't expect to see him turning up for guard duty any time soon, but this is good news to me. Royals always look their best in uniform anyway.
News has not been so good for our beloved Charlotte though. Following the example of her often media-harassed mother, lovely Charlie has evidently come to the end of her patience with the press and Charlotte has decided to sue. The paparazzi, according to her lawyer Alain Toucas, follow her relentlessly day and night and have put her through, "daily hell". He even went so far as to compare her to the late Lady Diana, Princess of Wales who, as we know, was hounded to her death by the paparazzi in 1997. Of course, us sticklers for protocol could not fail to point that, like many (alas even many media "royal watchers"), Toucas referred to our Charlie as "Princess Charlotte" which she is not. The only members of her immediate family to hold that title are her mother and little half-sister Princess Alexandra of Hanover. True, she has the Grimaldi blood and all the proper qualifications (and we certainly think no less of her) but she is not a princess nor are her brothers princes. If she were to marry a handsome young prince and gain the title, of course, we would all be properly thrilled. In any event, I am glad she is taking her case to court as Princess Caroline has done in the past. I do think we live in a litigation-soaked world but this is not someone suing "for" something like so many frivilous cases, this is someone suing to get something to stop -and so she should. And this is why her lack of a title is someone pertinent. Charlotte is not a princess, she holds no hereditary title in Monaco and is a private citizen. Granted, she is an extraordinary one who comes from the Princely Family but she is still entitled to her privacy as anyone else should be. I certainly hope she wins and expect she will.