Monday, April 30, 2012

The Marquis de Puyguilhem

Antoine Nompar de Caumont, marquis de Puyguilhem and (after 1692) the duc de Lauzun came from a noble French family but grew up mostly with the family of Antoine III de Gramont, a relative of his. If that name sounds familiar, it should; he was the father of Catherine-Charlotte de Gramont who later married HSH Prince Louis I of Monaco. The two shared a great deal of personal history. Long before she was promised to the Grimaldi heir, the beautiful young Charlotte de Gramont was, at the age of twenty, first in love with Antoine Puyguilhem. He was six years older than Charlotte, skinny, blond headed with a witty tongue, a malicious nature and a lust for wealth, women and lofty titles. Puyguilhem was just as passionately infatuated with Charlotte as she was with him, which is not at all surprising given the qualities she possessed. One observer remarked on her captivating beauty that she was, "a creature made for love and sensuality". When her father, Marshal of France de Gramont, informed his daughter that she was to be married, she hoped it would be to Puyguilhem. He was of lofty rank after all and was captain of the King's Household Cavalry. But the old Marshal could not stand the marquis, who could be rather unpleasant and who was rather impoverished for a nobleman.

As we know, her father's choice was Louis de Monaco, duc de Valentinois. Charlotte was less than pleased. Those closest to her witnessed her depression and remarked that, "The reason was that someone else pleased her more". Referring, of course, to Puyguilhem. The marquis remained attached to her, even after her wedding and kept on eye on her while the newlyweds were in Paris. He suspected that, married or not, she would come back to him eventually. However, when Charlotte, six months pregnant at the time, returned to Monaco to be with her husband, Puyguilhem became alarmed that he might be losing her. In a comic turn of events he followed Charlotte to Monaco (or at least to Toulon where Louis and Charlotte took a French galley for the last leg of their journey), dressing up in various costumes to try to disguise himself so her servants would not recognize him but he was never able to approach her. His cause seemed lost.

Then, in 1665 Charlotte, by then Princess of Monaco, returned to Paris and the fashionable society she always most enjoyed. Once again, Puyguilhem thought he would have his conquest. Yet, once again, there was interference but this time from none other than His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XIV of France and Navarre. The King had started to cast his ever-wandering eye in the direction of the Princess of Monaco and Puyguilhem was sensitive to the competition. He was still a regular at court, seen at every lavish dance and still winning criticism from those around him. Court chronicler Saint-Simon said he was, "ambitious, capricious, fanciful, insanely jealous, always going too far, never content with anything, without education, conversation or wit, by nature peevish, solitary and withdrawn, haughty in his demeanor, innately spiteful and sly". So it seems like Saint-Simon was not a big fan.

As King Louis XIV moved closer and closer to Princess Catherine-Charlotte of Monaco, Puyguilhem grew more and more jealous, finally losing his temper and throwing a minor tantrum in front of the King. The "Grand Monarch" was not impressed and ordered the marquis to return to his regiment of dragoons but Puyguilhem pretended that he didn't hear the King and stormed out, stomping in to Charlotte's apartments and threw such a fit he smashed one of her mirrors. Not a smart move to say the least. When he returned to his own quarters he found the King had left him a little note informing him that he would be provided with new accomodations -in the Bastille. After six months of fuming he was released and finally seemed to have given up on Princess Charlotte. Not long after he tried, without success, to seduce a daughter of King Carlos III of Spain. It seems amazing that a man so many described as "ugly" attracted so many women. The Grande Mademoiselle, Anne Duchess of Montpensier (King Louis' cousin) threw herself at him and Puyguilhem decided not to resist.

His affairs and intrigues continues to cause him trouble at the French court (leading to another stay in the Bastille for a time) before he moved to England to enter the employ of King James II. When the Stuart monarch, the last Catholic King of Great Britain, was about to be forced into exile, it was Puyguilhem who escorted James' lovely Italian Queen, Mary of Modena, and their son to safety in France. He also participated in the attempted restoration of James II in Ireland where, despite his much talked-about ill qualities, was known as the most honest in the King's circle of advisors. The failure of the expedition meant that he would never be restored to favor at the court of Louis XIV but Queen Mary of Modena was grateful enough for his support of the Jacobite cause that she used her influence to help secure his title of Duc de Lauzun. He died in 1723, leaving no heirs despite his marriage to a 14-year old girl (Genevieve de Durfort) in 1695.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Aussie Star to Play Princess Grace

This is not exactly "new" news but something I've been meaning to mention since I first saw it. Australian actress Nicole Kidman is, it seems, set play HSH Princess Grace of Monaco in a new film set to be coming out soon. The movie will focus on the period of tension between France and Monaco. I have no idea who will play Prince Rainier nor could I imagine who might fit the part. I just can't think of an actor who even remotely looks like him. But, anyway, we have Nicole Kidman as Princess Grace. I will admit, at first, it was a little hard for me to get my mind around. Probably because the movies with Nicole Kidman that stand out in my mind are ones in which she was playing characters about as far removed from someone like Princess Grace as the east is from the west. However, after some time has passed, I think I've gotten used to the idea. She has also been described as "statuesque" as Princess Grace often is as well and, frankly, there are plenty of worse choices they could have made. Who picked Colin Firth to play King George VI? He did a great job, don't get me wrong, he's a top notch actor but he doesn't even remotely resemble the man. And let me just go on record as saying, if anyone ever makes a movie about King Edward VII, I have two words for you: Brian Blessed. Period.

Anyway, the problem with anyone playing a part like Princess Grace is that no one else could ever measure up. She always seemed so flawless it's hard to imagine anyone else even pretending to be her. It's hard to imagine anyone who's been married to Tom Cruise or an alcoholic metrosexual country singer playing Princess Grace. But, again, I'm getting used to the idea. I'm trying not to think about "Eyes Wide Shut" or "Moulin Rouge" and just look forward. If this becomes a trend, we already have recommendations for other parts. Marley Shelton could play Princess Charlene, Belgian politician Joëlle Milquet has been mentioned as a good double for Princess Caroline, and I would agree she looks alot like her but who knows if she can act? Prince Albert could play himself, he has at least some acting experience. Princess Stephanie? Nobody -it cannot be done! Do the readers have any opinion on this? What do you think? Was Nicole Kidman a good choice? If not, who would be your pick to play our iconic Princess Grace? Hit the comment box and let us all know.

Charlene's Turtle Tuesday

HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco was sportin' a new "do" in the strong winds on the roof of the Oceanographic Institute on Tuesday as she opened a new area called "Turtle Island". The new inhabitants are seven large African turtles HSH Prince Albert II brought back from his visit to Mali earlier this year, a gift from President Amadou Toumani Toure. The Princess consort unveiled a large stone marker, naming the new area, and despite the high winds seemed to have a good time talking with the crowd of children in attendance and playing with the turtles. That is, I think, the best thing about the new Turtle Island, sure to make it a favorite with visiting children (or tactile adults like yours truly); which is that it is not one of those exhibits where one can look but must not touch. This is an interactive area where visitors can actually handle the turtles, which always leaves a bigger impression.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Monaco and the Byzantine Empire

The House of Grimaldi has been around for a long time but, as we know, the history of Monaco itself goes back much farther. One period, long before the time of the Grimaldis, that not many people are familiar with is the time when Monaco was part of the Byzantine Empire, formerly known as the East Roman Empire, based out of Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul). How did this happen? Most people are at least generally familiar with the declining years of the Roman Empire. Barbarians invaded Italy, the borders were overrun, Rome itself was sacked (more than once) and it all came to an end with the teenage monarch Romulus Augustulus, the “last” Roman Emperor. All true, but not quite complete. That was the “Western Roman Empire” that collapsed. The “Eastern Roman Empire” (later known as the Byzantine Empire) survived and continued on for centuries longer.

Naturally, the Byzantines, despite being beset by their own neighboring enemies most of the time, hoped to eventually retake what had been the Western Roman Empire and add it to their own dominions, basically restoring the Roman Empire as it had been back in the glory days of the Caesars. The one man who came closest to actually accomplishing this dream was the East Roman Emperor Justinian, also known as Justinian the Great. During his reign the Byzantines conquered most of north Africa, all of Italy and even established a foothold as far west as southern Spain. It was under Emperor Justinian that Monaco became a Byzantine naval base, an important link in the chain stretching from Constantinople across the Mediterranean Sea. However, Emperor Justinian, with his far-flung wars and ambitious building programs, almost exhausted Constantinople in the flurry of activity that characterized his astounding reign. It was glorious but unsustainable.

John I
Eventually, Byzantine power weakened and a new, powerful force began to rise in the region which was the expanding power of Islam. Exploding out of the mysterious sands of the Arabian peninsula, the Muslims advanced across northern Africa, sweeping all before them. Soon there were raids and footholds in southern Europe as well and Monaco was not spared. During the 8th Century the Saracens established themselves in the region and took control of the port of Monaco for themselves. However, the Saracens were not there to stay and Monaco had not seen the last of the Byzantines. In an effort to expel the Muslim forces the Christian leaders of Provence and Piedmont allied themselves with the Byzantine Emperor John I. In a combined offensive the Christians of Provence and Piedmont came charging down over the mountains while Byzantine warships sailed into the harbor of Monaco, starting a huge battle which saw the Moors defeated and permanently removed from Monaco and the surrounding area. One of the participants in that campaign was Giballin Grimaldi whose family would one day secure Monaco as a sovereign state.

This was only a part of a number of counter-offensives launched by Emperor John I who, during his reign, subdued Bulgaria, most of Syria, Lebanon and northern Iraq; a period of resurgence for the Byzantine Empire. Today there are not many reminders in the Principality of Monaco of that long ago period when Eastern Rome came to the West. However, there were other subsequent periods when Monegasque and Byzantine history collided. During the Fourth Crusade when the Latin Knights attacked Constantinople they were supported by the Republic of Venice. That in itself was reason enough for the Republic of Genoa to ally with the Byzantine Emperor. Gentile Grimaldi was a sailor and a diplomat who helped mediate disputes in Bulgaria and others in the family had dealings with the Byzantines, usually on behalf of Genoa, during the Crusades and in the later competitions with Venice. Today this legacy lives on in a way on a more personal level. In 2010 HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was pleased to present the first prize of the Cardinal Paul Poupard Foundation to His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I and the Sovereign Prince has established friendly relations with many countries of the historic “east”, particularly Russia.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Serb Royals Join in Rolex Masters

Sports fans and royal watchers alike couldn't have asked for more as the Crown Prince and Princess of Serbia (you know, the couple who should be the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Serbia) joined the Grimaldis for the Finals of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. We can see, in the photo above, in the front row of the princely box (left to right), HRH Crown Princess Katherine and HRH Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, HSH Princess Charlene and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, princely cousin Baroness Elisabeth-Anne de Massy and Melanie-Antoinette de Massy on the end.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A North African Craze?

First it was Charlotte and a Franco-Moroccan, now Princess Stephanie and a Moroccan; is there perhaps a North African craze sweeping Monaco? Earlier this month HSH Princess Stephanie of Monaco was in the sunny Kingdom of Spain, in Marbella, where she was spotted, all smiles, with 29-year old human pyramid artist Mohamed, whom she met at the last Monaco Circus Festival. Is Princess Stephanie dating another circus performer? It is probably too early to categorize them as an item, the Princess has wisely been taking a more slow and easy approach to romance in recent years, but they seem to be good friends at least and it would fit in with the nearest thing one could call a "pattern" regarding the men in Stephanie's life. Of course, perhaps I'm being too narrow in my view here. Perhaps we should go back to Prince Albert starting a new African trend for the House of Grimaldi. The Sovereign Prince marries a South African beauty, his niece is then linked to a comedian of Moroccan origin and now his sister is photographed with a Moroccan man. Perhaps it is a pan-African craze washing over the Monegasque shores.

I'm sure some will also note the differences in age here. The Princess is 47 and Mohamed here is 29 -not how it usually works. Well, if the man was 47 and the woman 29 no one would bat an eye and it seems like a dumb double-standard to me. Admittedly, I'm not 29 anymore but I still see Princess Stephanie with the same eyes I did in the 80's and I probably always will. Age is just a number and what is inside is most important (or at least it should be) and Princess Stephanie still has the twinkle in her eye of youthful exuberance. I wish Her Serene Highness all the happiness in the world.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Today in History

On this day in 1956 a new era in the history of the House of Grimaldi was opened when HSH Prince Rainier III married Miss Grace Kelly of the United States.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grimaldi Goings-On

Last Friday, HSH Prince Albert II presided over a meeting of the board of directors of the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco to review for approval new projects such as a Pew Charitable Trust campaign for the creation of a protected marine area in the Arctic passage of northwest Canada and another for the conservation and protection of the Mediterranean monk seal in collaboration with the Tethys Research Institute, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the monk seal and the WWF Greece. The foundation will also be supporting a new exhibition at the MIT Museum called "Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya". At the same time, HSH Princess Charlene has offered to help the South African Olympic Swimming Team in their preparations for the upcoming Olympic games in London, an offer graciously accepted by team CEO Shaun Adriaanse. The Princess will be providing the team with living accomodations and a practice pool and facilities in Monaco free of charge. Living and training in Monaco for free? Awesome!

Also last Friday HRH Princess Caroline presided over a meeting of the general conference of her charitable foundation AMADE. And, also in the Caroline camp, lawyers for Pierre Casiraghi in Europe have been trying to keep his nightclub brawl out of the tabloids in Europe, saying that it is a private matter, on another continent and has yet to be settled in the legal system. Yeah, good luck with that. I'm afraid Pierre's only hope is that something even more "juicy" comes along to give the tabloids something else to talk about. However, this also highlights the absurdity of the claim by the lawyers of the man who assaulted Pierre that he is some sort of serial-brawler. The media bottom-feeders would have never let events like that go unreported.

And, finally, on Monday TSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene were in Monaco for the 2012 Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament. They awarded the Médaille en Vermeil de l’Education Physique et des Sports (Vermeil Medal for Physical Education and Sports) to Serbian tennis player Novak Đoković for his contributions "to the development of physical education and sports in the principality". The medal was founded in 1939 by HSH Prince Louis II.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Antonio Grimaldi

Antonio Grimaldi was the brother of Lord Charles I (sometimes known as Charles the Great in Grimaldi family history) and Antonio was always known as being somewhat the rebel of the family. Antonio, unsurprisingly, pursued a naval career and, like many of the early Grimaldis, became an admiral. In 1332 he won a brilliant victory over the Catalan pirates who had been bedeviling the Monegasque sea lanes for some time. These Catalans were mostly in the employ of the Aragonese who were in competition with the Italians for control of the Mediterranean Sea. Based out of Barcelona they had captured the island of Sardinia and enjoyed near-unrivaled supremacy before the Genoese saw an opportunity when the Sardinians rose in revolt. When the Republic of Genoa rushed military forces in to aid the Sardinians it was the beginning of an epic five-year war for supremacy in the region. To offset the Genoese the Catalans allied with her rival Republic of Venice who had been in frequently armed competition with Genoa at least since 1206. This new war in 1331 was an opportunity for Venice to take advantage of the support of the Catalans as well as the usual amount of internecine squabbles in Genoa.

The Catalans attacked Monaco itself but were defeated by Lord Charles I but continued their raids along the Ligurian coast. Charles counter-attacked and part of this effort was led by his brother Antonio who won the aforementioned victory over the Catalans in 1332. It proved something of a turning point as the Grimaldis began to wear down the Catalans until they finally admitted defeat and sued for peace in 1337. Yet, not long after, Genoa again fell into turmoil that would entangle the Grimaldis when the famous “Four Families” (the Houses of Grimaldi and Fieschi -who were Guelfs and the Houses of Doria and Spinola -who were Ghibellines). In 1339 when the Spinolas and Dorias were riding high a revolt broke out that resulted in the election of Simon Boccanegra as the first Doge of Genoa. The four families were united in their opposition to him and eventually forced his resignation after which Giovanni di Murta was elected to succeed him on Christmas Day 1344. He made peace with some of the Genoese nobles but spurned the House of Grimaldi.

Well ensconced and prepared in Monaco, the Grimaldis prepared their forces for an armed entry into Genoa with Antonio Grimaldi leading the way. The operation was postponed, however, when Philip of France called on the Grimaldis to help him in his fight with the formidable King Edward III of England. However, Antonio Grimaldi was soon back and in 1353 (one year after his installation as joint-ruler of Monaco) at the battle of Loiera the Venetians and Aragonese administered a crushing defeat on the Genoese. Despite their differences, the House of Grimaldi had supported Genoa in this fight and Antonio participated. There is no doubt the battle was a disaster for Genoa with losses of 2,000 killed, 3,500 captured and 40 galleys lost but the Genoese authorities tried to save their own reputations by blaming the whole defeat on Antonio, accusing him of “ineptitude and cowardice”. Genoa had to turn to the Dukes of Milan for protection. Lord Antonio continued to be co-ruler of Monaco until 1357 when Genoa, refurbished somewhat, drove them out and reasserted control of Monaco for the first time since 1331.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Taking Economic Advice from Monaco

Once upon a time money problems were the rule rather than the exception in the Principality of Monaco. The Grimaldis seemed to be constantly cash-strapped and one of the things that had to be considered when marriage discussions were going on was usually how big a dowry the lady in question could provide. However, all of that began to change during the reign of HSH Prince Charles III, though it was not the events of his time which would bring really lasting success. Financial problems mostly became a thing of the past under Charles III because of the gaming industry, done in grand style in Monte Carlo at a time when gambling was illegal almost everywhere else. That, obviously, gave Monaco a considerable advantage when it came to attracting big-spending tourists. The gaming industry put Monaco on solid financial ground but it could not depend on such an industry forever. During the reign of HSH Prince Albert I more countries legalized gambling which cut into Monegasque profits and there was World War One which caused tourism to dry up and also cut down on the traditional customer base of Monte Carlo (royals and aristocrats). However, from that time on, particularly under Albert's successors Louis II and Rainier III, Monaco adopted the policies that would lead to lasting economic success. Could other countries learn from her example?

The first thing to do: get yourself a monarchy if you have the misfortune to be without one. Honestly, most people in the world would not even know Monaco exists were it not for the Princely Family. How many people have heard of San Marino? Even Andorra, although a monarchy, has no resident Princely Family of their own and is often overlooked. The Grimaldis are the greatest ambassadors Monaco could have, attracting tourists and highlighting the best aspects of the country. They also provide 'charitable leadership' which we will get more into in a minute. The most significant thing about the economy of Monaco is that the Monegasque have purposely pursued a very low-tax and pro-growth strategy. They have fostered a very pro-business and pro-investment environment by imposing no income taxes and respecting the privacy and private property rights of people in Monaco. The Principality has made no secret of the fact that they try to encourage wealthy people to come to Monaco. What happens when lots of very wealthy people come to a country? They spend a great deal of money, they buy things, they employ people and bring businesses to the country that employ more people, giving those people money to spend that goes back into the economy.

Some may be wondering, 'what about the poor?' because, of course, not everyone can be rich. Well, first of all, (and funny thing this for all those who think that the rich make people poor) there are no poor people in Monaco. No one lives below the poverty line, no one is starving and no one is begging in the street. Why? Because the business and investment-friendly environment means that there are always new jobs opening up and there is no unemployment in Monaco (and that's no joke, the unemployment rate is 0%). However, this is also where we get back to the monarchy and "charitable leadership". The Princely Family makes charity and charitable causes fashionable and when so many people have so much, they can afford to give much more to those who need assistance. The high-society life that goes with the wealthy is channeled by the monarchy to good causes, in the country itself and all around the world. Since there is little need in Monaco itself, the Principality is home to a multitude of non-profit organizations that help people in almost every corner of the globe and, particularly since the accession of HSH Prince Albert II, also to causes which benefit wildlife and the environment. Of course, the economic crisis in which the world currently finds itself has been felt in Monaco, but compared to others, the Principality has remained mostly untouched and prosperous, a place with no income tax yet where the government takes in more revenue than it spends. The Princes of Monaco have developed a formula for success that other countries would do well to take a second look at.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Whatever Happened to Hercules

Everyone knows about the "Louis XIV of Monaco" Prince Honore II, the first Grimaldi to officially bear the title of Prince and everyone knows about his successor and grandson Prince Louis I, the great law-giver, but what about his son? Poor Hercules, Marquis de Baux often seems to be forgotten. He was the son and heir of Honore II, named after his grandfather Lord Hercules I, and father of Prince Louis I. We have talked about him here of course, but how was it exactly that the tragic young prince met his untimely end? It happened, as we know, on August 1, 1651 when the Marquis de Baux and his wife, Aurelia Spinola, and their children went to visit the convent of Carnoles in Mentone. After the visit was over the Marquis took some recreation in some gardens that were close, target shooting with some soldiers of the guard with arquebuses (some sources say it was pistols, most say arquebuses). At one point Hercules ordered one of the soldiers to take a shot at the target to see how expert he was in the use of this (relatively new) firearm. The soldier, anxious to obey and be quick about it, turned quickly and, in doing so, caught the arquebus on his belt. The weapon fired, by accident, wounded two others standing nearbye and striking the Hereditary Prince Hercules in the spine. It was a terrible wound and, of course, the best medical care at hand was provided for the heir-to-the-throne of Monaco but it was to no avail and he died the next day.

It was a terrible loss for the Marquis de Baux was a truly noble man. Despite the agony of his wound, he insisted over and over again, as he lay on his deathbed, that the soldier who inadvertently shot him was innocent of any wrong-doing, that it had been purely an accident and that no blame should attach itself to the poor fellow. Nonetheless, the man was imprisoned for a time, though perhaps as much for his own safety as he had tried to kill himself after the terrible tragedy. When he was released a short time later he left Monaco never to return. But, of course, this wouldn't be a proper page of Grimaldi family history without some legends to go with it. Immediately there were accounts that a local monk had prophesied that Prince Hercule would meet a tragic end and soon a story also began to circulate that a few days before the accident while the Marquis was reading alone he was visited by a mysterious phantom who asked what he was doing. When the Marquis said he was reading the phantom replied, "Read and learn, for you will very soon have no need of either" before vanishing in dramatic fashion. Did such a ghostly image really appear? It's a pretty fantastic story but it also hardly out of place in the long, colorful and often tragic history of the House of Grimaldi.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Princess Caroline Opens New Exhibition in Honor of Princess Grace

On Monday HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover presided over the opening of a new exhibition in honor of her beloved mother called "Princesse Grace: Habiller une Image" at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Villa Sauber. Another international effort, the displays were developed through the cooperation between the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Pringle of Scotland. History-minded fashion students poured through the records, archives and personal contacts at the Princely Palace in their study of the wardrobe of the fashion icon Princess Grace. They also consulted the Prince’s Palace Archives and Library, the Archives Audiovisuelles de Monaco, the Bibliothèque Municipale Louis Notari, and the Garden Club of Monaco. The emphasis is on what Princess Grace wore on everyday occasions and, as the background of those involved suggests, with a special focus on the knitwear and Pringle of Scotland archive styles. This exhibition at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco- an intimate study capturing her style in the most relaxed and familial situations- will be only the first "leg" of this project with the second to be opened in September which will see Pringle of Scotland and the Central Saint Martins MA Fashion Design students take aesthetic elements from the exhibition and translate them into a knitwear capsule collection.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pierre "Slugger" Casiraghi Awaiting Legal Showdown

Here's the story from New York Daily News:

A defense lawyer promised a legal battle royale Thursday over the bar brawl that left Grace Kelly’s princely grandson with a broken jaw.

Defendant Adam Hock forcefully rejected a plea deal in the Feb. 12 fight at the Double Seven nightclub, with attorney Joseph Tacopina insisting his client was the real victim in the fisticuffs.

“There will be no plea in this case, so they can save their offer,” Tacopina declared. “He was struck by one of the alleged victims.”

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Clerkin had just proposed an agreement where Hock, 45, would receive probation and a 12-week anger management course for a guilty plea to assault.

But Tacopina charged that Monaco’s Prince Pierre Casiraghi and his three pals were “habitual bar brawlers” with a history of fights in Paris and Belize.

Hock, the only one arrested after the punches flew in the Meatpacking District, claimed the fight started when he stepped up to protect a bevy of fashion models from the prince’s unwanted attentions.

The brawl escalated when Hock was smashed in the shoulder with a $500 bottle of vodka — an injury that Tacopina claims will require surgery.

“It’s really a ridiculous case,” said Tacopina, whose client is due back in court on May 27.

Casiraghi and his pals are “very well-known individuals who seems to be in bars and bar fights all the time,” Tacopina said derisively. “One of them claims to be half-a-prince.”

Tacopina insisted three witnesses would back up Hock’s version of the brawl. Hock is the former owner of the now-defunct Hawaiian Tropic Zone.

Oh cry me a river Hocky puck! There's a fight in a bar, one guy leaves in an ambulance with his face smashed in, the other leaves in a police car and you want us to believe that the one in the ambulance was the real villain? Give me a break! I would have advised you to take the plea deal and consider yourself lucky. Each side will have witnesses, probably each saying something different, each saying the other started it so that probably won't amount to much. What will be crucial is that one guy walked away with a slight injury that may require attention at some point and the other guy was carried away by paramedics with a broken jaw. Doesn't look good for you Hocky puck! I'm also not impressed by this effort to sway public opinion by slandering Pierre in the press. Pierre, you will not, hasn't said a word about what happened but Hocky puck and his legal lizards are putting it out that Pierre is part of some sort of jet-set, barroom version of fight club. Give me a break! Pierre Casiraghi is under almost constant scrutiny and the paparazi, certainly in France and Italy, are not known for ignoring celebrities getting into fights. If Pierre were getting into bar fights constantly, all over the world, I'm pretty darn sure we would have heard about it before now. At least one of them. Sometime. Somewhere. Have you? I havn't, and I keep pretty close tabs on our Monegasque friends. Besides which, when it comes time to go to court, anything that happened in Paris or Milan or British Honduras is not going to matter. All that is going to matter is who did what to whom and the evidence is pretty clear that Pierre got the worst of it. It hardly seems that ol' Hocky puck was the injured party.
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