Saturday, June 30, 2012

Red Cross Appreciation

TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene recently attended a picnic organized by the Red Cross of Monaco staff and volunteers to show their appreciation to their Sovereign Prince for all of the work he has done throughout the year on their behalf. A very heartwarming, proper and loyal display of gratitude from the Monegasque to their Prince.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rio+20 Votes Down Abortion Language

HSH Prince Albert II was proud to attend the United Nations "Rio+20" sustainability conference which was to address environmental issues. What has that got to do with abortion? It's certainly a stretch. It comes down to the fact that international groups have been taking money from wealthy, First World countries and redistributing it among poorer Third World countries in order to help these poorer countries combat global warming/climate change/environmental armegeddon. Some, such as the current U.S. administration and the European Union along with others, have pushed to include "reproductive rights" (contraceptives and abortions) as something that wealthy countries should fund in poorer countries as a way of reducing the population in these poor countries because, to their way of thinking at least, more people=more pollution. However, the representatives of the Holy See as well as countries from Chile to the Russian Federation, managed to block including any such language in the agreements signed by the international grouping. Pro-Life sources have hailed this as a victory in the struggle against abortion, particularly in the fight to promote abortion in poor countries. How did Monaco vote? I wish I knew! I have been unable to find a country-by-country breakdown or even if Monaco was voting at all. I have not seen Monaco listed among the countries that opposed the measure but the lists may not be exhaustive.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Climate Talk and Business Grads

As well as participating in the Rio +20 sustainable development conference, HSH Prince Albert II also attended a conference on forests and the global economy organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (a branch of the United Nations). While there, the Sovereign Prince also participated in a "side event" on his favorite subject with the climate group, seen above. The Prince is standing to the left of Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec.
And just a day or two ago, HSH Princess Charlene attended the graduation ceremonies of the latest class at the International School of Monaco at the Hotel de Paris, a happy occasion for everyone and a proud moment for all those future business leaders of the world.

There was, as is usual with graduations, just a little bit of silliness and the Princess joined in...

Monday, June 18, 2012

King of Italy, Overlord of Monaco?

Royal titles can, at times, be a confusing subject, obscure to most but representing a great deal of fascinating history. For example, how many people are aware that among the titles of HM King Juan Carlos I of Spain are Duke of Milan, Count of Flanders and kingship over Gibraltar and even the "Ocean Sea"? Among the titles of HM Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands are those of Viscount of Antwerp (in Belgium), Lord of Montfort (in France) and Lord of Daasburg (in Germany). Likewise, back in the days when there still was one, the King of Italy had a long and illustrious list of titles which included the kingship of Sardinia, Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia but, interestingly enough, also the rather unique titles of "Overlord of Monaco, Roquebrune and 11/12 of Menton". In my own experience it seems quite unusual for a royal title to include fractions!

This, of course, was an historical 'leftover' from the Congress of Vienna following the downfall of Napoleonic France. The House of Savoy, at that time the Kings of Piedmont-Sardinia, replaced the French as protectors or, in the old feudal language, Overlords of Monaco which, at that time, included considerably more territory than the modern principality we know today. So, the Kings of Piedmont-Sardinia (who after 1861 became the Kings of Italy) were the overlords of Monaco. At least according to them. Actually, by the time the House of Savoy gained the Italian crown the French were back being the protectors of Monaco as well as by that time having gained Savoy, Nice and surrounding areas from Piedmont-Sardinia in exchange for supporting their struggle against Austria. King Vittorio Emanuele I of Piedmont-Sardinia was the first to gain the overlordship of Monaco, which was then passed to his successor King Carlo Felice and then to King Carlo Alberto and finally to King Vittorio Emanuele II who later became the first King of Italy.

King Carlo Alberto had at first hoped to bring Roquebrune and Menton into his own kingdom and sent troops into these towns during the uproar of the reign of HSH Prince Florestan. As we know, Prince Florestan did have a very monarchial temperment but his son, Prince Charles III, came to a new agreement with the French Emperor Napoleon III. After the 1848 Revolutions, Menton and Roquebrune took up the Italian tricolor and were officially placed under the direct protection of the Piedmontese monarch. That is where the fractions come in. However, King Carlo Alberto met with defeat in his fight with the Austrians and it was his son King Vittorio Emanuele II who himself came to an agreement with Napoleon III, giving up Nice and Savoy in exchange for French friendship and these areas have remained a part of France ever since. Grimaldi rule over Menton and Roquebrune was sold to France, which had the area already anyway, and that is when Monaco took on the shape we know it today, reducing the size of the principality considerably.

Control of areas come and go but titles are rarely changed, even if they are only a reminder of historic glories. The Princes of Monaco, likewise, still have many titles left over from their former place in the aristocracy of the Kingdom of France. Anyway, that is the background of why the Kings of Italy were, on paper at least, still titled Overlord of Monaco, Roquebrune and 11/12 of Menton.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A New Market and A New Team

TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco just visited the ward of La Condamine, a mostly business district, recently expanded with the expansion being completed just a couple of years ago. The Princely couple were in La Condamine to open a new marketplace which is sure to be a popular place for visitors to Monaco. Of all the wards, Monte Carlo is surely the most famous, but many people mistakenly think that Monaco is simply a playground for the super rich. In fact, as a trip to areas like La Condamine will show, there is something in Monaco for everyone and you don't have to be wealthy to enjoy a Monegasque vacation or a simple visit. The glamorous casino and luxury hotels may get all the attention, but trust me, anyone can go to Monaco, walk around, see the whole principality and you will find plenty to enjoy that is within the price-range of just about anyone. Besides, the little local shops, cafes and markets are more to the taste of many people anyway. It's all good to see.

HSH Princess Charlene was all smiles as she officially accepted the honor of being "godmother" of the Monegasque Rugby Club at the club's training center. The Monegasque Rugby Club operates a school for everyone from the age of 5 up to 19 who wants to play rugby (for Americans unfamiliar with the sport it's sort of like American football but without the pads, helmets and constant pauses). The Princess was easily persuaded to take on this position as it combines two of her greatest passions: sports and children. Undoubtedly this post seemed tailor-made for the Princess Charlene who obviously had a great time with the youngsters. Can the princess play rugby? I'm not sure but with all her experience as an Olympic calibre swimmer, I'd bet she'd make one heck of a kicker.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Desperate Housewives of Monaco?

Nah, it's just the 52nd International Television Festival in Monaco, attracting noted television stars from all over the world including, as we see here, Eva Longoria. The former "Desperate Housewives" star is currently campaigning for Barrack Obama in the Latino community in the United States and is starring in the film "Cristiada" (aka "For Greater Glory") about the Catholic rebellion in Mexico in the 1920's when the government of President Calles enacted anti-religion policies. So, she does have a little something in common with the Sovereign Prince who, as we've talked about before, also had a cameo appearance in a film about Mexican history called "One Man's Hero" about the San Patricio Battalion of (mostly Irish) U.S. soldiers who left the American army to fight for Mexico during the Mexican-American War. Okay, it's not much, but it is something and the Sovereign Prince does have a few drops of Mexican ancestry thanks to his grandfather Prince Pierre.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Princess Charlene Back in Action

HSH Princess Charlene, poor thing, has been down with a nasty case of strep throat recently (hence her absence on the Prince's visit to South Korea) but, not to worry, she appears to be recovered now and back in fine form. The Princely couple teamed up yesterday to visit the "Mare Nostrum" international swim meet (the 30th), meeting with the organizers and congratulating the winners. This was a particularly important event for both to attend considering that it was at this same swim meeting that the couple first met years ago. Hopefully they will both be rested up sufficiently for the traditional Corpus Christi procession later this morning.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Andrea!

It was on this day in 1984 that Andrea Albert Pierre Casiraghi was born to HSH Princess Caroline of Monaco and Stefano Casiraghi. We have watched Andrea go from cute little toddler to teenage hunk who made the girls swoon to a mature, educated businessman well informed on world affairs. And, until such time as the Sovereign Prince and Princess Charlene give us some princely heirs he is second-in-line to the Monegasque throne. Happy Birthday Andrea!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Prince Albert Makes the Rounds

 Earlier this week HSH Prince Albert II attended the national day of Monaco, part of the international exposition in Yeosu, South Korea. The Monaco pavillion has been a big hit, attracting some 3,000 visitors a day. The International Expo began in May and will run until August 12.
Back at home HSH the Sovereign Prince attended the third edition of the "Monaco Blue Initiative" devoted to the topic of marine protected areas. He met with the President of the Republic of Kiribati, Mr. Anote Tong, after the first working session.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Princess Caroline - A Mom's Mom

On Friday HRH Princess Caroline made the traditional visit to the Princess Grace Hospital to honor all the new mothers and she was all smiles holding the little newborns and presenting flowers to the new moms of Monaco. It happens every year and every year I cannot help but note that this is just one of those special little traditions that binds the Grimaldis and the Monegasque together, making them all feel like one family, a rather exclusive club amongst the large population of Monaco. And, seeing Princess Caroline with the new babies calls to mind the times when she was the new mom herself...

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