Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Princess Stephanie, Busier Than Ever

With 'World AIDS Day' coming up on December 1, HSH Princess Stephanie has been very busy lately with her roles as President of Fight AIDS Monaco and Goodwill Ambassador for UNAIDS, as well as the work she does with numerous other organizations and charities to further the causes of awareness about AIDS, preventing the disease and caring for those afflicted by it. A number of new initiatives are being tried this year. Already, last Monday, Fight AIDS Monaco held the first 'get tested' drive in the Principality of Monaco, a campaign called "Test in the City" which provided anonymous HIV testing for free with the results back in only ten minutes. The program was set up on the steps of the Church of Sainte-Devote with a new method called Rapid Test Screening that can be done quickly and effectively. Princess Grace Hospital, the Emergency Department and the Center for Anonymous and Free Screening partnered in the event.

Another undertaking has been Operation "Quilt", the second such event, in which a canvas is covered by images representing people missing from the world because of AIDS. There will be eight canvases sewn together to make each quilt, covering 4m x 4m with the names of people, made by Fight AIDS Monaco, representing people who are victims of AIDS or, for most, living with HIV. This piece of memorial artwork was also displayed at Sainte-Devote Church on Monday. There is also again this year the program "Restauranteers Solidarity" supported by Fight AIDS Monaco which encourages restaurants and cafes to use things like placemats to spread messages on preventing AIDS as well as offering means of prevention to customers, donated by Fight AIDS Monaco. And then there is the auction, done with the support of Barclays Monaco for the last five years, by invitation only, at the Hotel Méridien Beach Plaza on Saturday, 1 December 2012 with over 50 new works of art going up for sale, followed by the Fight AIDS Monaco Summer Gala all of which raise money to support the struggle against HIV/AIDS.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

National Day Highlights

At St Nicholas Cathedral, in the front row, guest of honor HSH Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, HSH Princess Charlene, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover and HSH Princess Stephanie

Trying not to look too uncomfortable, a whiskered Andrea, Charlotte (rocking an awesome retro hat), Pierre and Baroness Elisabeth-Anne

The Princely couple exchange a loving glance

Prince Albert II and big sister compete for 'most serious' look

The Princely Family and their guest take the salute at the palace

The always regal Princess Caroline

Prince Hans-Adam II joins Princess Stephanie and the Casiraghis at the balcony

Charlotte exchanges words with aunt Stephanie

Howdy pardners and welcome to this here evenin' gala

Cowboys and Indians night in Monaco?

The Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein joins the Princely Family in their box, minus Princess Stephanie of course who doesn't usually go in for the ultra-formal occasions

Monday, November 19, 2012

National Day in Monaco

National Day, marking the anniversary of HSH Prince Albert II's succession to the Monegasque throne, began, as usual, with a mass of thanksgiving at St Nicholas Cathedral

Princess Charlene and the Sovereign Prince, backed up by Princess Stephanie, departing the Cathedral to take the salute at the Princely Palace.

HSH Princess Charlene was looking very smart, sporting her new miniature for the Order of Saint-Charles she recently joined.

And the moment everyone waits for; the waves from the balcony by the Princely couple.
Long live the Prince!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Honor for Princess Charlene

A proud day of continued tradition in the Principality of Monaco as HSH Prince Albert II has appointed his worthy consort, HSH Princess Charlene, a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Charles, the highest order of knighthood in the gift of the House of Grimaldi. The presentation was made in the ice lounge of the Princely Palace. The Order of St Charles was established on March 15, 1858 by HSH Prince Charles III as the preeminent chivalric order of Monaco, given for service to the state and/or the Sovereign Prince. So far, the appointments made by Prince Albert II (of the Grand Cross grade) have been to foreign heads of state. I hope now we will soon have a formal portrait of Princess Charlene in all her ribbons and medals. In any event, congratulations to Her Serene Highness on joining the ranks of the Order of Saint-Charles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birthday of the First Albert

It was on this day in 1848 that HSH Prince Albert I of Monaco was born to TSH Prince Charles III and Princess Antoinette. He would go on to fame as the "Sailor Prince", a pioneer in the science of oceanography and the sovereign who gave Monaco her first constitution.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Prince Albert Talks Turkey

Recently, HSH Prince Albert II made his first official visit to the Republic of Turkey, starting last Tuesday, which is intended to kick-off a new period of closer relations between Monaco and Turkey. The Sovereign Prince was met by Turkish President Abdullah Gul and after inspecting a guard of honor, hosted him at a formal dinner at the Cankaya presidential palace. In his remarks on that occasion, the President praised the Prince of Monaco for his 'political vision' and for fostering improved Turko-Monegasque relations and that the visit marks the begining of a new period of cooperation on environmental protection, sustainable development (that vague thing everyone is in favor of these days) and renewable energy. He also remarked on the historic nature of this occasion, the first official state visit by a Prince of Monaco to Turkey though, of course, Prince Albert II had visited Turkey before, unofficially, in a private capacity. The President also said that Turkey could take Monaco as a role model in improving their own tourist industry.

The following day there was a joint meeting of the Monaco Chamber of Commerce and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce to discuss closer economic ties between the two countries at near opposite ends of the Mediterranean Sea. The Sovereign Prince also met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I and visited the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

In a Family Way

Many of us were suspicious when Andrea Casiraghi and Tatiana Santo Domingo announced their engagement in July after seven years of keeping steady company and acting very much like a couple. Well, it is official, Tatiana herself has confirmed that she is not only a bride-to-be but a mother-to-be as well. HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover will be a grandmother (the first Grimaldi of her generation to reach the rank) and I'm sure she is happy about that. According to Tatiana, the baby is due in January of next year. Now, I'm the old fashioned sort who thinks that the wedding is supposed to come before the baby announcements but I realize I'm a dying breed on that front. All the same, we send our heartfelt congratulations to the expectant parents and I am sure everyone involved is happy to see the family continuing to grow. As for what this means for the monarchy; who can say? All still depends on HSH Prince Albert II doing his duty by Princess Charlene. If he does not, Andrea is next and come January Tatiana may be giving birth to an heir to the Monegasque throne. If he does, the Casiraghi line will be 'in the clear' and the Grimaldi-Polignac line will carry on for another generation. In any event, we wish all the best to Tatiana and Andrea, I'm sure they will be great parents and I'm sure the new addition will be getting all sorts of attention from Aunt Charlotte, Uncle Pierre, Great Aunt Stephanie, Great Uncle Albert and Her Royal Highness the Grandma of Monaco! Congratulations all around!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photography Started on Princess Grace Film

Filming has begun on the new movie, "Grace of Monaco" starring Nicole Kidman (as we have discussed) in the title role. The film has a $30 million budget and is scheduled for release sometime in 2014. What did I find most surprising? Tim Roth will be playing Prince Rainier III. I know some were critical of Kidman playing Princess Grace (impossible shoes to fill if ever there were) but, while there might have been better choices, I am willing to give her a chance and see what she can do with the part. However, Tim Roth as Prince Rainier? Could they have found anyone less Franco-Monegasque than Tim Roth? Don't get me wrong, I think Roth is a great actor, I loved him in "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" -I didn't love him so much in "Rob Roy" as he was perfectly evil but he still played perfectly evil very well. However, he's just nowhere even close to being at all similar to Prince Rainier. Especially for the period being covered, he seems to old, his build is wrong and his features are far too British and not at all Mediterranean. Well, maybe they are banking on no one paying much attention to anyone other than Kidman/Grace in this movie. We will have to wait and see. I have been reasonable on the choice of Kidman, but Tim Roth...
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