Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is Charlotte a Romanov Fan?

Check out the buttons on her dress from this year's National Day (you may have to click for the full size) and you tell me; could our Charlie be a Romanov lover? Of course, either way she still looks ridiculously gorgeous as always.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Princess Caroline in the Middle East

Last Tuesday HRH the Princess of Hanover was in Dubai where she met with Princess Haya, wife of the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. The two princesses met to discuss humanitarian issues and their shared concerns on the subject. Princess Caroline then went to a luncheon hosted by the Young President's Organization which is a forum for young presidents of companies to meet, exchange ideas and dialogue. Many of the most preeminent finance leaders in the world were present. The following day the Princess went to another luncheon hosted by the Rotary Club of Dubai at the U.A.E.'s World Trade Center. All in all a fairly typical trip for the Princess, but royal watchers could not help but notice that it happened to coincide with the trial of her husband HRH Prince Ernst August V in Germany where she had been expected to appear to give testimony. The couple have not been seen in public together for many months and this has caused speculation of an impending divorce to increase despite a recent denial that there are any such plans by the Princely Palace of Monaco.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Louis!

Today is the 17th birthday of Louis Ducruet, son of HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco and her former bodyguard Daniel Ducruet. Louis was born at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monte Carlo and is currently 7th in line to the Monegasque throne. A longtime soccer enthusiast Louis always cheers for the home team, in his case the AS Monaco FC. It does not seem possible that 17 years have passed since he was born, but regardless, a happy birthday Louis and may you have many more.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

H.S.H. Prince Joseph of Monaco

H.S.H. Prince Joseph Marie Jerome Grimaldi of Monaco was born on September 10, 1763 in Paris, France to Prince Honore III and Princess Marie-Catherine. By the time he was born his parents were already drifting a part and it set the stage for Prince Joseph having to depend on his own wits to survive. On April 6, 1782 he married Françoise-Thérèse de Choiseul-Stainville. In what was rather a change for the Grimaldis of Monaco the marriage was a happy one and seemed to be the perfect match. However, disaster was soon visited on the couple with the outbreak of the French Revolution. Seeing the old order threatened Prince Joseph joined with the royalist counterrevolutionaries rising up against the republicans. While away his wife was arrested and eventually sent to the guillotine where she met her death on July 26, 1794. Prince Joseph, a public enemy of the revolution, was forced to go into exile in England for a time when the royalist uprising failed.

When friendly faces came to power Prince Joseph was exonerated from all charges and returned to France at the end of 1795 when, upon the death of his father, he took charge of the family estates on behalf of his ailing brother Prince Honore IV. The new (nominal) Sovereign Prince upset his children by this measure but it was a time of crisis for the family and it fell to Prince Joseph to a large extent to see them through it. With Monaco already taken over by France and a regime change underway with the coming to power of the young army officer Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince Joseph had to see to it that the Princely Family of Monaco was able to stay in the good graces of the new government and powers-that-be. While Honore IV recovered and joined the French army, serving under the famous Joachim Murat, Joseph handled affairs on the homefront.

Whereas Honore IV could not fit in with the new empire society, Prince Joseph made it his business to do so. He had to make a number of tough decisions, such as selling the large family house in Paris to cover mounting debts and taxes (it is now a residence for the French government). The family estates in Valmont and Thorigny had to be put up for auction and the Grimaldis were preyed upon by dishonest speculators, making the struggle for survival almost constant. However, the Bonapartist empire finally came to an end and Prince Joseph used his royalist connections to see to it that the position of the family, the principality and the protectorate were restored by Talleyrand after the return of King Louis XVIII. With the health of Honore IV worse than ever, Prince Joseph went to see him and persuaded his brother to abdicate his French noble titles to his son while he took over the government of Monaco as regent.

This greatly upset Prince Honore-Gabriel (future Honore V) who felt that it was his right to be regent in Monaco rather than his uncle. In the meantime, however, Monaco was returned to the Grimaldi family, Italian became the official language (as it had been before the French takeover) when Prince Joseph arrived to oversee the transition. He had a monumental task on his hands as the French occupation and the disruption of the revolution had left the economy in shambles and the people began to refuse to pay their taxes. In January, 1815 Prince Joseph returned to Paris to try to raise money to stave off disaster and in his absence there was near chaos in Monaco with no prince, no regent and no French troops for the first time in many, many years. Perhaps fortunately for Prince Joseph his nephew took this opportunity to make his bid for the regency and using his mother's family connections tried to enlist the King on his side. Prince Joseph, possibly relieved to escape the post, wrote to his brother and advised him to hand power over to Prince Honore-Gabriel. Prince Joseph died a year later on June 28, 1816.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Back to Routine

Only one day after the National Day celebrations Charlotte was away at another equestrian competition and yesterday Prince Albert had a busy schedule as he resumed his normal routine. He was on hand for the end of the "No Finish Line" annual event, dressed in his jogging gear and took some time to be included in the final leg as well before giving a speech and then racing off (no pun intended) to another athletic event (of sorts) at the Sporting Club in Monaco. The occasion was the Iaaf World Athletics Gala. Today he was in Hamburg, Germany at the city hall where he was presented with the BAUM award for his environmental work. In his speech he praised the Germans and Chancellor Merkel for being on the cutting edge of environmental protection and awareness.

Christian Louis Baron de Massy

Christian Louis, Baron de Massy, a first cousin of the current Princely Family of Monaco, was born on January 17, 1949 to HSH Princess Antoinette of Monaco (elder sister of Rainier III) and her paramour of the time Alexandre-Athenase Noghes. Born out of wedlock he was later legitimized by the Catholic Church in 1951 when his parents married which put him in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne. As a result, as a small boy, he was at the center of the rumored effort of his mother to depose his uncle Rainier and place him on the throne instead with Princess Antoinette as regent and the real power. He had two other sisters, Elisabeth-Anne de Massy and Christine Alix de Massy but because of his gender he was to take center stage in the alleged conspiracy.
At the time Christian was legitimized Prince Rainier III was unmarried and had no children and this was supposed to be the key for Princess Antoinette to take back the place she lost when her younger brother was born. However, as we all know, Rainier III married Grace Kelly and had three children, including a son and heir, and the idea of Christian becoming "Louis III of Monaco" evaporated. Needless to say this caused problems within the ranks of the Princely Family and for a time Rainier III banished his sister from the Principality. However, according to Christian's own account, Princess Grace was always very kind to him and when the marital problems of his mother drove him to distraction he said that Princess Grace always made time for him, comforted him and tried to help him along. It should be kept in mind though that his book "Palace" was not looked on kindly by Rainier III who banned it and banished Christian himself from Monaco in 1986 for it and other problems and is widely viewed as an effort to "cash-in" on his family connections by spreading rumors.
In 2002 when the laws of succession were revised Christian again entered the ranks though as 11th in line. However, when Rainier III died and Albert II became Sovereign Prince Christian again lost his place, though if some major disaster were to befall the current crop of Grimaldis Baron de Massy would still be eligible for selection by the Crown Council. In his own life, Christian has had a tumultuous time. His family life was chaotic, he didn't do well in school and was known for his casual relationships, risky behavior and car racing. After being educated in England Christian followed in his mother's footsteps with a succession of failed marriages. First, in 1970 in Buenos Aires, Argentina he married Maria Marta Quintana y del Carril who, one year later, gave birth to Christian's first child Laetizia de Massy but in 1978 the couple divorced.
He has had three more marriages since, now married to his fourth wife, and has had two other children, sons, Brice Baron de Massy and Antoine Baron de Massy. Information on his life since writing his "tell all" book has been rather sketchy though, so keep that in mind. By and large, from what I have heard, he is still largely looked down on in Monaco. Whereas other members of the de Massy clan have made up with their Grimaldi cousins and are often seen at social events and the like, Christian is usually nowhere to be seen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

St Rainier of Pisa

Given the recent celebration of Monaco Day, held on the feast of St Rainier whose name has been that of three Monegasque monarchs over the centuries it is fitting to take a look back at exactly who was the St Rainier that Lords Rainier I, Rainier II and Prince Rainier III was named after. St Rainier of Pisa was born sometime in the 12th Century (possibly 1117). His father was a wealthy merchant and shipowner and young Rainier grew up to be a very sinful and indulgent youth. He loved music and was a wandering mistrel and musician devoted to nothing so much as enjoying himself. He would drink, play music and basically party all night and sleep it off during the day. Typical spoiled rich boy - until someone set an example.

One night Rainier was at a castle playing for a crowd of people at a party; all very joyful and merry. It was then and there that he met a very holy man who happened to passing through. Rainier was drawn to the man and the two had a long conversation. Rainier asked the man to pray for him and the result was a conversion. Rainier burned his fiddle, gave up his high life and became a devout Christian. Who was the man who had such an impact on the sinful youth? We will never know as his name has been lost to history but he gave the first helping hand to Rainier on his path to sainthood. However, Rainier was not completely out of the woods yet. He tried to be more responsible, going into his father's trading business with the Mediterranean sailors and journeying from port to port. He was living a better life but he still was not saintly.

Rainier was so devoted to his work and business that he became a very wealthy man but found no satisfaction in it. One day he noticed that his money had a rotten smell to it and this struck him as a sign from God that he would find no happiness with earthly wealth. He immediately gave his entire fortune to the poor and took up the life of a penitential monk. Rainier went on pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem and other famous shrines and destinations. In 1153 he became the Conventual oblate of the Benedictine abbey of St Andrew in Pisa and later oblate of the abbey of St Vito. He was a noted Bible scholar and could be a good preacher when telling others of his life story. He was also known for healing people with holy water, driving out demons and other miracles. He is the patron saint of Pisa and travellers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MM Video: National Day 2009

National Day 2009

The day's festivities began with a mass at St Nicholas Cathedral for St Rainier Day
The Princely Family faces the crowd
No matter the occasion Princess Stephanie cannot help 'touching up' her big brother. She's always been the little mother hen to Albert.
Cousin Melanie de Massy joined the "Casiraghi Trio" and Princess Alexandra on the balcony

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; fatherly Mediterranean monarch
The Sovereign Prince salutes his soldiers as they march past the Princely Family on the palace steps.

Happy National Day!

Today is the National Day of Monaco. A special mass is being held in St Nicholas Cathedral and on hand are the Sovereign Prince, Princess Caroline, Princess Stephanie, Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte Casiraghi, Elisabeth-Anne de Massy and Melanie de Massy. Other events are planned and hopefully by tomorrow I can post some more pictures of the festivities.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Celebrations Have Begun!

With the National Day of Monaco upon us the festivities in the principality are well underway. National Day has been celebrated since 1857 when it was held on the feast day of St Devote, Monaco's patron. However, it has since been moved to November 19 in honor of St Rainier, the namesake of the first Grimaldi Lord of Monaco and the previous Sovereign Prince. The Princely Family has been out in force in the last couple of days to celebrate the occasion. HSH Prince Albert II handed out medals of honor at the Princely Palace to champions of various causes. One of those honored was cousin Elisabeth Anne de Massy. Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie were both on hand for the event and Princess Caroline later visited a nursery school. Yesterday, Princess Stephanie and the Sovereign Prince were at Red Cross headquarters to hand out gifts to Monaco residents. There has been a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor of Hercules with many more events, celebrations and ceremonies still to come.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Andrea Active for Charity

Yesterday, Andrea Casiraghi appeared with the French deputy of Beaune Alain Suguenot, the French singer and actor Patrick Bruel and the President of the Cotes d'Or Francois Sauvadet at the 149th edition of the Hospices de Beaune charity auction wine sale, the best known part of the most famous Burgundian festival and the greatest charity sale of its kind in the world which has attracted the biggest names and experts in wine for the past 80 years. It was a very grand event and all for a very good cause and Andrea seemed to have a good time lending his name and celebrity to the cause. Andrea Casiraghi is the eldest son of HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover and currently second in line to the Monegasque throne.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Princess Stephanie Starts the Race

HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco fired the starting pistol today to set off the runners of the "No Finish Line" foot race in Monaco on the 10th anniversary of the event which is held by the Children & Future charity. 1.10 euros is raised for every kilometer run, last year making 115,000 euros with hopes that this year's event well top that sum. The money raised will go to the Monaco Collectif Humanitaire which helps children with deformed hearts, a financial co-op for the theatre in Mauritania and Princess Stephanie's group Fight AIDS Monaco. Princess Stephanie's children Louis Ducruet and Camille Gottlieb were also on hand for the event. If Her Serene Highness looks a little apprehensive about the starting pistol -she was!

Charles Auguste de Matignon

Charles Auguste de Goyon de Matignon, Comte de Grace was the uncle of HSH Prince Jacques I of Monaco and one of the leading soldiers of France in his day. Born in 1647 he was the sixth son of Francois de Goyon, lord of Matignon and Anne de Malon of Bercy. He embarked on a military career at an early age and in 1669 took part in the campaign in Holland in which he distinguished himself and later served usefully in Flanders and Germany in 1684. When his brother Charles died in 1674 he was given the title of Comte d'Grace and in 1688 was made governor of the province of Aunis. In 1689 accompanied King James II of Great Britain and his Jacobites to Ireland where he commanded troops in the effort to restore James II to the throne that had been usurped by his son-in-law William of Orange. Of course, as well all know, the enterprise ended in defeat at the battle of the Boyne. One observer described him as a good and honest man but was less than impressed with his military abilities.

Matignon returned to France after the Jacobite defeat saw action at the sieges of Mons and Namur. In 1691 the King of France gave him the rank of brigadier general and in 1693 the rank of major general. In 1708 he was awarded the supreme military prize with the rank of Marshal of France with the name of Marshal of Mantignon. In 1715 he was dispatched with the nominal King James III of Great Britain (the Old Pretender) for another Jacobite uprising to restore the Stuarts to the British throne, however, this expedition gained even less traction than the first and was quickly suppressed by the government forces of the Hanoverian King George I. Marshal Matignon returned to France and served on the battlefield again in Flanders before his death in 1729 at the age of 83 having by that time also acquired the titles of Chevalier of Torigni and Baron of Bricquebec. In 1942 his portrait was featured on a 20+10 cent Monegasque stamp.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Princess Caroline in Spain

HRH the Princess of Hanover was in Spain recently, rubbing elbows with Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia in San Sebastian. Princess Caroline was there to lay the foundation stone of the 'Proyecto tunidos' of the aquarium and officially open that establishment which recently underwent extensive renovations. The place was first opened in 1928 by HSH Prince Albert I of Monaco and HCM King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Yesterday the Princess was at the Monaco Media Forum dinner at the Hotel de Paris, part of a 3-day event ending today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Anniversary of Princess Grace's Birthday

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of Grace Patricia Kelly, the future Princess of Monaco in 1929. Probably no other princess consort has had such an impact on Monaco and probably no other Princess of Monaco has had such an impact on the world as Princess Grace. People all around the world, who may have never even heard of Monaco before knew and adored Princess Grace. From her time as a Hollywood star it is remarkable that in a relatively few films (being independently wealthy she could be picky about her parts) she was able to capture the public imagination with her natural talent and was truly one of the great actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood. She played a diverse array of parts, but looking back after the fact it almost seems as if she was in training from the start to be a princess (a part she did play on film once). No matter what role she was in she seemed to always have that 'regal' quality about her. As a real princess she showed considerably more class than many born royals do today. She kept her problems to herself and like a real genteel lady she held herself to a higher standard than those around her when the reverse is more often the case with most people. She was a dutiful wife and a devoted mother even when those could be difficult jobs but she never let it show; being at all times the very picture of the ideal princess consort. She left us too soon and may she ever rest in peace.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Albert II Legal Update

Stanley S. Arkin, Counsel for H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Files
Motion to Dismiss Meritless Complaint of Robert Eringer; Declares Eringer's
Lawsuit "a Crude 'Shake Down' or Blatant Extortion"

Calif., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Stanley S. Arkin, legal counsel for
Albert II of Monaco ("Prince Albert"), today filed in federal court
California a motion on Prince Albert's behalf calling for the court to
the meritless lawsuit of Robert Eringer. By filing this lawsuit,
Eringer is
attempting to misuse the U.S. judicial system to extract
undeserved monies from
Prince Albert.

Mr. Arkin stated, "Simply put,
Robert Eringer, like his
attempted lawsuit, is not credible. In fact, he
dresses up his complaint with
pages upon pages of unrelated and seemingly
bizarre anecdotes which have nothing
to do with his so-called claim.
Basically, Eringer's lawsuit couches a modest
breach-of-contract claim in a
complaint replete with grandiose, scurrilous and
largely irrelevant
allegations, redolent of a crude 'shake-down' or blatant
I will add to the above only to say that since this story came out I have yet to understand why Eringer brought his case before a U.S. court. What possible jurisdiction could the judge have even if all of his accusations are true? The dispute involves a contract made in Monaco by two foreign nationals. How is it any business of a U.S. court to hear? Furthermore, what possible hope of success could Eringer have considering that Prince Albert II is beyond the reach of the
court having the diplomatic immunity of a foreign head-of-state? He would seem to me to be firmly beyond the reach of U.S. law even if the court heard the case and found against him. The case would have to be brought in Monaco which would be an exercise in futility regardless of the facts as in Monaco Prince Albert IS the law, appoints all the judges and has the final word on all decisions. In the absence of any other facts I don't see how this cannot be seen as a simple effort at extortion or a bizzare bid for publicity by a disgruntled meida hound. I can also say that if this is some sort of bid to cause scandal and cash-in on it, it is still sorely lacking. What exactly does he hope to prove here? That Albert II is some sort of scheming Machiavellian? I'm sorry, but no one is going to buy that in a million years. Perhaps the primary intent is to get out the allegations of a sex tape......but......really?! His Serene Highness is beloved by many and respected by many but honestly I think everyone at this point is well aware that he is not pure as the driven snow when it comes to his personal life. Hopefully the case will be thrown out for the extortion attempt that it is and everyone can get past this, perhaps teaching the Sovereign Prince a lesson about choosing more carefully who he associates with (he really needs to start getting that message).

Monday, November 9, 2009

H.S.H. Princess Louise d'Aumont

HSH Princess Louise Felicite Victoire d'Aumont, Duchess d'Mazarin had a very colorful life of extreme ups and downs as seems to be common with every member by birth of marriage of the Princely Family of Monaco. She was born in Paris on October 2, 1759 (I've also seen 22nd) and was well known at all the best parties. She was a well-built, vivacious and outspoken woman and as such was not well liked by Queen Marie Antoinette who (despite the popular myths) was a very proper and genteel sort of lady. As the only child of the Duc d'Aumont she was sole heiress to the family fortune and this got the attention of HSH Prince Honore III of Monaco who was eager to arrange a lucrative marriage for his son and heir the 19-year-old future Prince Honore IV. Exactly when the two married I have no idea as I have seen 1771, 1773 and 1777 listed in various sources. Louise was also, through her mother, heiress of the fortune of the famous Cardinal Mazarin and was even a descendant of Hortense Mancini who had been mistress to both King Charles II of England and Prince Louis I of Monaco.

Honore III was so intent on the marriage that he passed his son the lucrative title of Duc d'Valentinois to help sweeten the deal. This meant Honore IV would get the income of the estate and also effectively shut out Honore III from the French court. Nonetheless, he thought it would all be worth it as part of the marriage contract was that when Louise came of age she would inherit her family property and this would be turned over to the Princely Family of Monaco. The two were married but Honore III would prove sadly disappointed in the long-run. Not only did the marriage break down fairly quickly but the estate Louise inherited was so hampered by mortgages and legal disputes as to end up costing more than they were worth. There was also the over-the-top lifestyle of his new daughter-in-law.

Princess Louise was known for her wild parties. One of the more famous was when she served a pie filled with live birds that caused such a stir when the pie was cut and they were released that she had to have her guests abandon the party as the birds refused to escape out the window and flew around the room in confusion. Another party that included a great number of live animals, an enclosed array of mirrors and a great deal of candlelight ended in a stampede when the flickering lights and bewildering reflections caused the sheep and dog (Louise had appeared as a shepherdess) to panic and bolt. Louise also spent vast sums of money gambling and on jewelry and the latest fashions. The marriage that Honore III had hoped would put Monaco on firm financial ground not only failed to help but put him in danger of losing his own estates just to pay the bills.

Princess Louise and Honore IV did do their duty for the Monegasque monarchy and had two sons; Honore V and Florestan, both of whom would eventually rule over Monaco. Nonetheless, the two were not well matched and coldness grew between them which would eventually become hatred. By the time of the French Revolution they were separated and Honore IV was dealing with sickness as he often was and living with his father. There was a family reunion of sorts in September of 1793 when Honore III, Honore IV, Princess Louise and their 8-year-old son Prince Florestan were all arrested by the revolutionaries and locked up in the barracks on the rue de Sevres as class enemies. However, Princess Louise and little Florestan were rescued by Doctor Desormeaux, a family friend of the Grimaldis, who hid the two in his home until the Reign of Terror was over.

Sometime during that period Honore IV and Louise officially divorced, which was very hard on their children as is usually the case. Honore V later complained that his mother called for him only when she needed some attention and was constantly threatening to cut him out of her will and gave him lectures of disaproval on his behavior (particularly when he fathered an illegitimate son in 1814). By that time Louise d'Aumont had already gone through another failed marriage having been wed to Rene Francois Tirnand-d'Arcis in 1801 before getting divorced in 1803. However, her family connections were still a force to be reckoned with and her cousin the Duc d'Aumont, who was close to the French king Louis XVIII, was helpful to Honore V in getting his uncle Prince Joseph removed from being regent of Monaco for the ailing Honore IV and taking his place.

Prince Florestan also had problems in his relationship with his mother. He was born just as the marriage of Honore IV and Louise was breaking up and was kept away from his father, living with Princess Louise and her family in Normandy while Honore IV was serving in Napoleon's army. Princess Louise was outraged when her 17-year-old son announced he wanted to be an actor. He went to Paris to pursue the career but his hero Alexandre Dumas crushes his hopes and many have suspected Princess Louise of putting him up to it as Dumas had often visited Princess Louise and her family at their estate. When Louise threatened to cut Florestan out of her will unless he get a respectable job he joined the army -a thoroughly miserable experience for him; never getting higher in rank than corporal and eventually being taken prisoner in the invasion of Russia.

By the time all was said and done the family was a mess. Honore IV and Louise hated each other and the two brothers Honore V and Florestan finally stopped speaking to each other. It probably did not help their relationship that when Princess Louise died she left her family fortune, or what was left of it, to her younger son Florestan who had bent to her will and who had always been closer to her than Honore V. She died on December 13, 1826 in Paris.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Princess Stephanie in Germany

HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco was in Germany yesterday visiting the constructional ceramic department of Villery Boch in Mettlach. The firm is responsible for the flagstones for the "Maison de Vie" in Carpentras, the latest major project for Princess Stephanie's AIDS charity "Fight AIDS Monaco". Princess Stephanie held a press conference, where sadly she was asked at least as much about her personal life as about the efforts of her organization in helping AIDS victims, and a luncheon before hopping a private plane back to Monaco.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

H.R.H. Prince Ernst August V of Hanover

HRH Prince Ernst August V of Hanover is the husband of Hereditary Princess Caroline of Monaco and, as things stand now, could become the first Prince-by-marriage of Monaco since Jacques I. He was born on February 26, 1954 in Hanover as Ernst August Albert Paul Otto Rupprecht Oskar Berthold Friedrich-Ferdinand Christian-Ludwig Prinz von Hannover to Prince Ernst August IV of Hanover and his wife Princess Ortud of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluecksburg. As the senior member of the House of Hanover (Welf dynasty) he is the male-line heir of King George V of Hanover and King George III of Great Britain and Ireland. He also holds the titles of Duke of Brunswick and Luneburg. However, although the British monarchy uses his titles as a matter of courtesy neither the governments of the UK, Ireland or Germany officially recognize them. The only existing government which does officially recognize him as such is the Principality of Monaco since the time of his marriage to Caroline. He is also a great-grandson of the last German Kaiser Wilhelm II.

In 1981 the Prince of Hanover married the Swiss chocolate heiress Chantal Hochuli by whom he had two children; Prince Ernst August and Prince Christian of Hanover. However, the couple divorced in 1997 and the Prince was linked romantically with the widowed Princess Caroline of Monaco. The increased media attention this brought was not always welcome and in 1998 the Prince was fined 30,000 pounds for bunching a cameraman, breaking his nose. He has gained a reputation over the years for being fond of the drink and getting into altercations with papparazzi and the police. It also soon became known that Princess Caroline was pregnant by the Prince of Hanover and, as she had been granted an annulment of her first marriage in 1992, the two were married in January of 1999.

Since the Prince of Hanover is included in the line of succession to the British throne he had to be given permission to marry from HM Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Caroline also had to clear the marriage with the government of France according to long-established treaties between France and Monaco. Neither side had any objection and the two were married in a civil ceremony. Even though his place in the British succession required the Queen's consent for his marriage to be legal in Britain the fact that he was marrying a Roman Catholic also meant that he lost his place in the succession as soon as he and Princess Caroline became man-and-wife. His children, however, being Protestant, retain their places. In the summer of that year Princess Caroline, since her marriage recognized by Monaco as Her Royal Highness the Princess of Hanover, gave birth to their daughter HRH Princess Alexandra Charlotte Ulrike Maryam Virginia of Hanover in Austria.

Since that time there has been plenty of fuel for the gossip mills thanks to the Prince of Hanover, from legal disputes over privacy and assault charges to public urination and intoxication. The family was given quite a scare in 2005 when the Prince was rushed to the hospital with severe pancreatitis and later slipped into a coma just a day before HSH Prince Rainier III passed away, putting a severe strain on Princess Caroline. He remained in intensive care for sometime afterward and even when released was said by the hospital to be needing continuous medial treatment from then on. In September of this year papers began to report on rumored marital problems between the Prince and Princess of Hanover. Princess Caroline left their primary residence to return to Monaco where she enrolled her daughter in school and gossip was soon flying that the Grimaldi "curse" had struck again and divorce was just around the corner. However, after a number of such stories the Princely Palace released an official announcement that the rumors were untrue and that the Hanoverian royal couple had no plans to divorce.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Casiraghi Trio: Is it Time for Titles?

When the Casiraghi trio (Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte) were still tiny little tots Princess Caroline said that they would not immediately be given titles and that she wanted them to grow up as regular, common children with as "normal" a life as possible -because of course nothing could change the fact that they are filthy rich and their grandpa was the Prince of Monaco. I think most understood this, agreed with or at least accepted it and so time went on with Princess Caroline keeping them out of the limelight as best she could. However, that was quite some time back. All three are now definitely grown up, all have had some higher education, serious relationships and even done some official engagements in a few cases. Young, wealthy, attractive and well-connected they are also certainly as hounded by the media as anyone. My point being; what exactly is the reason as things stand now for none of the dynamic trio being titled?

Take the case of Andrea alone. I would assume that one reason for the lack of titles would be that Princess Caroline is still holding out hope for her little brother to get married and have some legitimate offspring. She has stated in the past she would like nothing better. However, while it is still possible, Prince Albert II has been avoiding the issue for many years and seems no closer now than in years past, and while certainly not an old man he can also not really be called a young man anymore either. So, as things stand now, and Albert has given no indication that they will be changing, Andrea is second-in-line for the Monegasque throne and yet has no title. I can only assume that this confuses a great many people since the trio are often called Prince(ss) of Monaco in magazines and on tv spots, even by "royal experts". Many must assume they already have titles, not unreasonably as their mother is a princess, their uncle is a prince and they are in direct line for the throne. For Andrea not to have a title would be like Prince William of Wales being simply William Windsor.

Obviously, for Andrea at least, his eventual rise to the princely throne would also include the dropping of the surname Casiraghi and the adoption of the Grimaldi name and arms according to Princely Family law. This might be a somewhat painful experience considering that their beloved father has left this mortal coil, but in the case of Andrea at least it seems bound to happen anyway and if some time down the road a miracle occurs and Albert married and reproduces names can always be changed back. Likewise, none of them have to immediately change their name to be given a title nor do they have to be given the title of Prince(ss) de Monaco but they could be given a lesser title. If anyone else has any thoughts on this, please feel free to post them. I simply think that they are already getting the attention, they are all adults, Albert II shows no sign of continuing the line of Rainier III and especially for Andrea it seems odd to be so close to the throne and still be a private citizen. That's my 2 cents.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lord Hercules I of Monaco

Hercule or Hercules Grimaldi was born on September 24, 1562, the youngest son of four from Lord Honore I of Monaco and his wife Isabella. His eldest brother was Charles II who succeeded his father as Seigneur de Monaco in 1581. His other two brothers, Francois and Horace, both died young and so when Charles II died unmarried and childless Hercules succeeded him as seigneur on May 17, 1589 at the age of 27. His reign was to be one of the more troubled and infamous of the Grimaldi lords of Monaco.

At this time the country was still within the Spanish sphere of influence and their neglect had caused the economy of Monaco to suffer considerably and public discontent was growing. This was an invitation for the ambitious and the disaffected to cause trouble and such was the case when a Monegasque named Cesar Arnaud led 700 men from Provence in a night attack on Monaco. They made a spirited charge but the Spanish troops were able to repel them. Boccone, a notary, also attempted another conspiracy, this time with the intention of driving out the Spanish, overthrowing the Grimaldis and claiming Monaco for Savoy. Again though, nothing came of the effort.

On December 15, 1595 Hercules I married Maria Landi. Together, they had two children, a son and heir; Honore II in 1597 and a daughter; Giovanna or Jeanne Grimaldi who died in 1620. However, Hercules I also had a reputation as a rather unsavory character given to debauchery. This has led to some debate over his demise. On or about November 29, 1604 Hercules was in a dark, narrow alley leaving the house of the Governor Gastaldi on the rue de Milieu, what is now house number 15, when he was stabbed to death. Some say this was part of yet another plot by disgruntled men similar to those Hercules had faced throughout his 15-year reign. Others, however, say they were a collection of angry Monegasque men whose daughters Hercules had defiled. His dead body was then thrown into the sea and later washed up on the shore.

The Monaco Parish Registry records that, "The most noble and worthy seigneur Hercule Grimaldi seigneur of Monaco, marquis of Campagna, called to a better life at the age of about 42. Attacked by a force of 5 or 6 in the Grand-Rue, in front of the house of the podesera master, Bartholomies Dadino, he at once delivered up his soul to God". After his body was recovered he was buried in the St Sebastian chapel of the Church of St Nicholas. His 7-year-old heir thus became Honore II, seigneur de Monaco and he and his sister were hidden away for fear that they would suffer the same fate as their father until their uncle, Prince Federico Landi of Valdetare arrived to rule as regent.
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