Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hotels of Monaco

Port Palace


Monte Carlo Beach Hotel

Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort

Le Meridien Beach Plaza

Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo

Hotel Hermitage

Hotel de Paris

Fairmont Monte Carlo

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Today in Grimaldi History

It was on this day in 1846 that HSH Prince Charles III of Monaco married the aristocratic Belgian lady Antoinette de Merode-Westerloo. The marriage was a complete success, securing the future of the Grimaldi dynasty (by the birth of the future Prince Albert I), the couple became quite popular at the court of Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie of France and the dowry Princess Antoinette brought with her proved quite helpful in establishing the original Monte Carlo Casino which finally solved the money-woes of Monaco. Together they provided a new, fresh face of stability and progress for the principality. The Grimaldis may be known for their romantic misadventures but there were plenty of successful marriages in the family's history and that of Charles and Antoinette was certainly one of them. They were faithful to each other, appreciative of each other and a very caring couple. When the health of Charles III began to fail Princess Antoinette was extremely attentive and she sacrificed her own health to some extent to care for her husband to the very last.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Video: Charlotte Casiraghi in Brazil

Yachting Prince Albert II

On Friday, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the Monaco Yacht Show, taking in a fleet of hundreds of luxury craft morred in Monte Carlo at what is undoubtedly the most prestigeous boat show in the world. Of course, being Albert, he also took the time to highlight a new and environmentally friendly luxury yacht.

Here the Sovereign Prince inspects a model of the very yacht he is visiting, the "Planet Solar Turanor" which is the largest ship in the world powered completely by solar-produced electricity (observe the solar panels in the foreground).

Prince Albert II waves to the crowd after giving out awards on the "Planet Solar Turanor" yacht, the world largest ship working on solar power, next to visitors and participants of the International Monaco Yacht Show at Port Hercules, in the principalty of Monaco. A selection of 100 exceptional super and mega-yachts from 25 to over 90 m long were presented. The show ended yesterday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Goofing Off with Charlotte

Some people seem to think that our perfect-in-every-way Charlotte Casiraghi always looks down or somehow annoyed. As you can see, this is certainly not true:
Like, oh my God!

I'm begging, see, I'm begging...

Nah, I'm just playin' with ya!

Look, this is my 'shocked' face

Oh, I regret this already...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Remembering September 11

Before this month gets away from me I wanted to take a look back at Monaco's response to the 9-11 disaster in the United States. Obviously, this was an extremely emotional time for the half-American Princely Family. Due to the influence of HSH Princess Grace the United States and Monaco have enjoyed a very close relationship over the years, mostly through the Princely Family. The Grimaldis were stunned and horrified by the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington and the following month, October 2001, Prince Albert made the trip to New York to meet with people and witness the tragic aftermath. Prince Albert spent a great deal of time over the years with his American relatives on the east coast, he went to college in New England and after graduation lived and worked in New York City so the loss was very personal to him. Wearing his American flag tie and lapel pin and a New York Yankees ball cap to show his support the Prince met with Mayor Rudy Giuliani to express his sorrow at their loss, express Monegasque solidarity with the people of New York and the United States and to present him with a donation on behalf of the people of Monaco to deal with the disaster. After this meeting, as seen above, the Prince paid a very emotional visit to Ground Zero where the World Trade Center towers once stood. The support and friendship of the Principality of Monaco toward the United States is not forgotten and is still much appreciated and that friendship, bound up in the shared background of the Princely Family, will always endure.

Back in New York and Being Honored

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco is currently attending "The Value of Sport as a Tool for Development" conference in New York as part of the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations General Headquarters. This is being held to coincide with the General Debate of the 65th UN General Assembly this week and will include a review as to the progress of anti-poverty campaigns adopted in 2000 and, if these goals are not being met, to discuss ways to speed up implementation. Prince Albert also recieved an award from the United Nations for his efforts to promote peace through sport due to his many years of involvement with the Olympic Games (both as an IOC member and an Olympian) as well as his patronage of other sports for charitable purposes. The Sovereign Prince is High Patron of “Peace and Sport, l’Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport" and at the reception of his award was commended for his, “global leadership and passionate commitment as a champion of the cause of peace through sport”. More details on the award and the Prince's comments can be found here.

He has also participated in Climate Week NYºC 2010 (seen above) in which he stressed again the need for widespread adoption of electric cars and discussed the dangers of rising sea levels due to melting at the polar ice cap; something he has done considerable 'first-hand' research in. More information on that gathering and their goals for electric vehicles can be found here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Monegasque Police Force

The Principality of Monaco is known as one of the safest countries in the world, due in part to having the largest police force for its size and population than any other country. In the old days, as with most of the rest of Europe, military forces ensured internal security and crime was never really a big problem for Monaco. However, as the country modernized and became more of an attraction for outsiders, some formal police force became necessary and the driving point behind the formation of the Monegasque police force was Commissioner Yves-Marie Lucas who was appointed to that position in 1858 by HSH Prince Charles III. As the establishment grew a greater level of organization was required and in 1877 Prince Charles III appointed Antoine Angeli Director of Police, followed 10 years later by Napoleon Delalonde. Finally, on June 23, 1902 HSH Prince Albert I signed Sovereign Order No. 971 which put the police force under the jurisdiction of the government Department of Public Safety.

In the ensuing years the police force continued to grow, adapt and modernize, especially with the establishment of the gaming industry and the rise in wealthy tourists coming to Monaco which obviously posed a real temptation to criminals. The greatest expansion came during the reign of HSH Prince Rainier III who was determined that Monte Carlo not become a playground for organized crime as so many other gaming resorts in the world had done. He greatly increased security and ensured that the mob elements of various countries were never able to gain a foothold in Monaco. New branches were also added to provide security in other areas, particularly on the water and so much of Monegasque life revolves around the port. Prince Rainier III also did not neglect to look for some divine protection for the protection of his people and dedicated his police force to the safekeeping of St George as their patron saint. Recently of course, HSH Prince Albert II also named his niece, Charlotte Casiraghi, the “godmother” of public safety in Monaco on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Maritime Police Force of Monaco.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Grimaldis at the Museum in Monaco

Yesterday HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his older sister HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover officially opened a new exhibition at the New National Museum of Monaco at the Villa Paloma, in Monaco, called "La Carte d'Apres Nature". The exhibition was curated by the German artist Thomas Demand. Princess Caroline also brought along a litttle four-legged friend (certainly a more loyal companion that certain others who will not be named....)
Cutting ribbons -one of the many duties of monarchs the world over.
Shades to protect her from the glare of her own glamor, flowers in one hand, puppy in the other, little brother bringing up the rear -yep, Princess Caro is all set!

Is she 'shushing' the Sovereign Prince? Probably not. Caroline is forging onward, head up and eyes forward but little Fido (or maybe Phideaux?) seems distracted...maybe he saw a cat going to the museum as well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Princess Caroline - Here We Go Again

HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover is back in the news again -though one would wonder why. It all involves a certain gentleman she has been seen with as of late, London gallery owner Gerard Faggionato. However, I cannot help but wonder if there is some sort of secret media law that Princess Caroline must be hounded at regular intervals regardless of what she is doing because this is the biggest NON-story I have ever seen. The stories usually involve some mention of her "marriage" to HRH Prince Ernst August V of Hanover and point to a picture of Caroline and make thinly veiled hints of an affair. Well, *News Alert* folks the Ernst-Caroline marriage has not been going well. They havn't been seen together in over a year, they do not live together and we have all seen the pictures of the Prince of Hanover getting very tactile in Thailand with his latest girlfriend. Did anyone really think things were hunky-dory in the House of Hanover? Please. I think at this point it is pretty clear that they are married in name only. Why have they not divorced? Who knows? Princess Caroline was divorced once before as we all know and that was extremely difficult or she may just be waiting for Prince Albert to get married before going through with something she knows will cause heads to turn. But, what is the "evidence" of a possible romance between Caroline and Faggionato. Evidently, while on her vacation she *may* have attended his 50th birthday party. Wow! Isn't that damning -she *might* have went to a birthday party. As I said, at this point, a non-story.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Policewoman Charlotte

She's glamorous, she's gorgeous and she's fighting crime in the skies and on the high seas! Okay, not really but last Tuesday Charlotte Casiraghi was appointed, by her uncle HSH Prince Albert II, to the honorary position of "Godmother" of Public Safety for the Maritime and Airport Police of Monaco. While marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Maritime Police of Monaco the Casiraghi cutie was on hand with her uncle, in full police uniform as the newly named marraine of Public Safety. After greetings and a few pictures Prince Albert and Charlotte boarded the speedboat La Vigilante to oversee a demonstration of rescue operations procedures as two police divers leaped from an overhead helicopter into the sea to rescue the "victims". Later, Charlotte awarded a plaque to the division of Public Safety to mark the occasion and the Sovereign Prince presented them with a model of the police speedboat itself.

Following these ceremonies André Muhlberger, director of Public Safety, addressed the assembled company which included the commandant of the Maritime Police Alain van den Corput, director of the Naval Museum Claude Pallanca, Minister of State Michel Roger, President of the National Council Jean-François Robillon, mayor Georges Marsan, Monseigneur Barsi, Colonel Luc Fringant, Fire Commander Tony Varo and director of the Oceanographic Museum Robert Calcagno, a real "who's who" of the leadership in Monaco. I am very glad Charlotte chose to get involved in this way, I always love to see the Casiraghis getting more involved in the national life of Monaco and this was a great way to draw attention to the long and dedicated service of the Monegasque police forces who have done admirable work over the years preventing Monaco from becoming a haven for organized crime as many once predicted. And it goes without saying that Charlie looked great in her police uniform. She could arrest me anytime.

Monday, September 13, 2010

MM Video: Princess Grace - Still Missed

It was 28 years ago today that Their Serene Highnesses Princess Grace and Princess Stephanie were involved in the car crash that cost Princess Grace her life and nearly cost Princess Stephanie her mobility. Almost three decades later the absence of Princess Grace is still felt. She was truly one of a kind and there will never be another like her.

R.I.P. Princess

Friday, September 10, 2010

Anniversary of Albert I

It was on this day in 1889 that Albert I became Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Known as "the Scholar" and "the Sailor Prince", Albert I was the son of HSH Prince Charles III and after coming to the Monegasque throne laid the foundation for Monaco to become a center of scientific research and development in the emerging field of oceanography of which Albert I was an enthusiastic student. A veteran of the Spanish and French navies, Prince Albert became a pacifist later in life but was also very good friends with German Kaiser Wilhelm II. His contributions to science are numerous, particularly in the fields of botany and oceanography. He had many trials in his private life but, in many ways, for much of his life his first love was always the sea and he looked with great hope on the modern world and felt that the great scholars he associated with and the new advances in science and technology were about to bring in a new era of understanding and advancement to the world. As such he was always opposed to cruelty and discrimination wherever he found it. The Prince earned a number of enemies in France when he spoke up in defense of the unjustly accused Captain Alfred Dreyfus (a Jewish officer in the French army convicted of spying for Germany on fabricated evidence). In fact, it was through his friendship with the Kaiser that he learned who the real spy was and that Dreyfus was as innocent as he always claimed to be. Prince Albert was crushed when World War I broke out and his vision of the future seemed to go up in flames. Naturally attached to France, the son of a Belgian mother but a friend of the Kaiser he tried to arrange peace but no one would listen. When war came he opened the luxuries of Monaco up for wounded soldiers to recover in the sun and splendor of Monte Carlo. Honored by many nations, Prince Albert I was the first Monegasque prince to visit the United States and who married the first American Princess of Monaco. His life had its ups and downs but the reign of Prince Albert I started today in 1889.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Marriage for Charlotte?

It's that time again -time for more speculation about a marriage between Charlotte Casiraghi and longtime boyfriend Alex Dellal, this time via the "Telegraph" and a quote from Alice Dellal (model and brother of Alex) who said at a recent fashion show, "They are not engaged ... yet. But they have been together for years, so it is a possibility". That was enough to set the tongues of the chattering class wagging, even though we have seen this same line raised time and time again with no engagement. I will not lie, I have always though Charlotte could do better than Alex so keep that in mind -there's always been something about him that rather put me off. That being said, Charlotte must see something in him. They have been living together for quite some time now, dating for a number of years beyond that and she gives every appearance of being quite devoted to him. However, as usual, I cannot believe we will be hearing wedding bells any time soon. Why would they? They have already been living together as a couple for some time so there is no closer relationship they would gain by marriage other than increased media scrutiny and do take such a step now would probably be seen as ill-timed given the upcoming marriage of Charlie's uncle Albert next year. If that day comes I will of course wish them all the best but I will not be expecting a wedding announcement any time soon.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Pierre!

Today Pierre Rainier Stefano Casiraghi celebrates his 23rd birthday. Pierre is currently third in line for the Monegasque throne. He resides mostly in Italy and is the majority share-holder of the construction company founded by his late father in Monaco in 1984. Beatrice Borromeo is still is 'main squeeze'. Mad for Monaco wishes Pierre a very happy birthday!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Liberation Day in Monaco

Yesterday HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and sidekick Michel Roger attended the festivities marking the anniversary of the liberation of Monaco from German forces during World War II. The Sovereign Prince reviewed a parade of men costumed in period uniforms and driving historic vehicles. The Germans had left Monaco shortly after evacuating Paris on August 25, 1944. The following week was spent in confusion, not knowing if the Allies were coming or if the Germans would return, comforted only by the solid presence of their battle-hardened monarch of Great War fame Prince Louis II. Then, on September 3, 1944 a jeep with two American GI's came racing down the road from Menton. The jeep drove into Monte Carlo, pulled up to the 'Tip Top Bar' and one of them, future author Irwin Shaw, jumped out, ordered some drinks and announced that Monaco had been liberated. In no time at all crowds of adoring Monegasques were crowding around the Americans to express their gratitude. Later more Allied troops arrived for some formal ceremonies, presided over by a proud Prince Louis II and his grandson and fellow French army veteran Prince Rainier.
HSH Prince Louis II reviewing French-African troops as part of the celebration of the liberation of Monaco and the Allied victory in World War II.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The First Princess Caroline

Princess Marie Caroline is a perfect example of how the wives of the princes of Monaco have often played a pivotal part in the history of Monaco and the House of Grimaldi. Coming from a fairly humble background, she met and later married Prince Florestan I of Monaco while both were working at the theatre in Paris. Whereas her artistic and romantic husband had little desire or natural inclination to be a ruling monarch, Princess Caroline was made of stern stuff and she was absolutely crucial in supporting her husband throughout his reign, which was by no means easy. She was also determined that their son, Prince Charles III, would be well prepared and well placed for his future job as sovereign-prince. Many of the considerable accomplishments of the reign of Prince Charles III he owed to his mother Princess Caroline and his son, Prince Albert I, always admired his grandmother for her determination and strong leadership.

It was Princess Caroline who first sold the Blanc family on the idea of establishing a casino and bathing resort in Monaco. She saw the success of such establishments in other countries and had the foresight to know that such an investment could finally end the money-woes of Monaco and the Grimaldis. Not all of her efforts were successful though. Her desire to see her grandson Albert married into the British Royal Family resulted in his failed marriage to Princess Mary Victoria, daughter of the Duke of Hamilton. However, even after the end of that marriage she was the only member of the Grimaldi clan to keep in touch with her former granddaughter-in-law and provided Albert with regular reports on his son, the future Prince Louis II. In short, Princess Caroline was an institution in Monaco for many, many years and was the dominant female influence on the country until her death in 1879. She died in her sleep at the age of 86 and Prince Albert was greatly hurt by her loss. In many ways she had been the backbone of the family since 1841 when her husband came to the throne. Without her leadership it is no exaggeration to say that Monaco would be a very different place today.
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