Saturday, March 22, 2014

Casanova and the Prince of Monaco

HSH Prince Honore III of Monaco had quite a colorful life being an accomplished soldier, a foresighted leader and even something of a political reformer. However, things at the royal court in France never seemed to be dull and the Prince of Monaco had quite a time when his paths crossed with the famous Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova. One thing the court was never short on was gossip of a romantic nature and it is not surprising that Casanova generated his share. Apparently there came to be problems when both the Venetian author and the Prince of Monaco became fascinated by the same woman; an actress. Even today the very name of Casanova brings to mind someone who is ultimately charming and a master of romance and seduction and, while not as pronounced, he had a bit of that reputation in his own time as well. However, he had encountered a more clever romantic rival with Prince Honore III. Casanova was observed by the Prince to be something of a 'social climber', rather on the snobby side we might say today and always looking to advance himself by conquests amongst high society. The Prince of Monaco determined to use this to his advantage and so, to distract the charming Italian from the actress he had his own eye on, he promised to introduce Casanova to an eligible duchess.

Casanova jumped at the opportunity and, to be fair, the Prince of Monaco was as good as his word. He did indeed introduce Casanova to a duchess who was looking for love and who was instantly smitten with the dashing Venetian, however, he rather neglected to mention that she was considerably older than the Italian heartthrob and not terribly attractive at all. Casanova had been beaten and far from being able to compete with Honore III for the affections of the actress, it was all he could do to stay one step ahead of the man-hungry duchess who pursued him relentlessly. The story goes that Casanova eventually had to lie and tell the duchess he suffered from some terrible venereal disease before she was put off of him, which, true or not, probably did his reputation no good. Supposedly, he never forgave Prince Honore III for having lured him in to such a position but, as the English say, 'all is fair in love and war'.

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