European Royalty: Monaco

Monaco is a fairy tale like principality located along the south of France on the " Côte d' Azur " near Nices The principality one of the smallest states in Europe. While the principality itself may be small, the history of its ruling family, the Grimaldis, is one of the longest of the ruling families in Europe. The principality declined in the 20th century, but was given new life by Prince Ranier III and his love affair with American movie star Grace Kelly. Under his leadership Monaco emerged as a modern city with a strong economy no longer exclusively tied to the casino.

The Principality

Monaco is a small principality of about 370 acres located in along the French Riviera in southeastern France. The city is about 20 kilometers (Km) from Nice and 7 km far from Menton. It consists of three areas: Monaco-Ville (the capital), La Condamine (buiness district), and Monte Carlo (the casino). About 20,000 people live in Monaco, bit only about 2,500 of them are Monegasque subjects. They are barred from gambling at the casino. There is a customs union with France. The official Monaco language is French. There is an old dialict (a mix of Italian and French) which has now practically disappeared. Monaco has become a very rich and luxurious city. The appartments are perhaps the more expensible in the world. In recent years the area of the principality has increased through sea reclamations.

History of Monaco

Monano was ruled by the Genonese Gramaldi family from the 13th century. The French Matignon family became the ruling family through marriage (1731), but adopted the Grimaldi name. Monaco existed under Spanish protection (1524-1641). Then there was a period of French protection (1641-??). I am not sure what happened during the Revolution. After the Napoleonic wars there was an era of Sardinian protection (1815-61). A treaty with France gave the French Republic the right to approve the succession.

The Grimaldi Family

The Grimadi family's roots are in Italy, but their history has been intertwined with that of Monaco for nearly a millenium. The Grimaldi family seized and then bought the Domain of Monaco from the Genoese in 1308. The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign state of only just under one square mile. It consists of: Monaco, the old town; Monte-Carlo, the new town; La Condamine which links them and Fontvielle the industrial section. Monaco is a rocky peninsula jutting into the blue Mediterranean, Monaco-Ville is the seat of Monaco’s government. Here, guarded by ramparts, narrow streets climb the slope to the Prince’s Palace high above the sea. The oldest part of the Prince’s Palace is 13th-century; the buildings on the south side, in Italian Renaissance style, date from the 15th- and 16th-centuries. Monaco captured the attention of Americans in 1957 when U.S. movie star race Kelly married to Prince Rainier, the present Sovereign.


The Grimaldi's, one of the most influential Guelf families of Genova, were twice chased away from their city by the Ghibellines. In 1270, they retorted by seizing Ventimiglia, Menton and Roquebrune. After the insurrection of December 1270, the defeated Guelfs retreated to Provence, where Rainier Grimaldi, who was head of the family, began arming his fleet to retaliate. Francois Grimaldi on January 8, 1297 seized the fortress at Monaco. In the book, "Monaco, its Origins and History", the nost authoratative work on Monaco's history, author Gustave Saigne describes the events associated with this turning point in the history of the Principality:

During the night of January 8, 1297, a monk appeared at the gates of Monaco. Inconspicuously, Francois Grimaldi was let through. Barely having entered the enclosed grounds, the imposture monk threw himself over the guards, apparently few were holding watch, and a full pledged attack was launched as the large Guelf troops, which had been hiding closely behind concealed by the obscurity of the night, forced the gates before the guards could react.

Francois Grimaldi by his actions in seizing the fortress protecting the famous rock and the port of Hercules forever engraved the family name on the flanks of Monaco's rock. Until that moment, its situation had remained precarious as events of the years preceding 1297 witnessed.

Modern history

After the final fall of Napoleon and his Empire in 1815, the second Treaty of Paris signed on November 20, 1815, placed the Principality of Monaco under the protection of the King of Sardinia. A treaty was signed on November 8, 1817, with King Victor-Emmanuel I at Stupiniggi. The situation of Monaco resulting from this was much less advantageous than the alliance with the King of France. The state of the finances was more delicate, the resources of the country being very much reduced, the communes, parishes and hospitals burdened with debts. After World War II, Momaco acquired a shady reputation associated with money laundering and tax evasion. Général de Gaulle in 1962 reportedly pressed Prince Rainier to turn Monaco into a more respectable country. Today in Monaco's Princely Council, the primeminister is French, the Princely guard also hs French members. The law court has majority French members. France is responsible for the defense of the principality.

Modern Princes of Monaco

The Principality of Monaco in 1793 is annexed by France under the name of “Fort Hercule”, and treated as any other Alpes-Maritimes town. The Treaty of Paris of May 30, 1814 re-establishes all of the rights of the Grimaldi family. The second Treaty of Paris of November 20, 1815 places the Principality under the protection of the King of Sardinia.

Honoré V (1819-41)

I have no information on Honoré V's childhood or the clothes he wore as a boy. Honoré-Gabriel, having become Prince Sovereign under the name of Honoré V, tried throughout his reign from 1819 to 1841 to improve the financial and political situation in Monaco. The measures he implemented, although motivated by a very strong concern for the general interest, were not very successful and often alienated the population. There were several hostile popular demonstrations, in particular in Menton during 1833. Honoré V, who was unmairred, died in 1841.

Florestan (1841-46)

I have no information on Floestan's boyhood or the clothes he wore as a boy. Honoré's brother Florestan inheirited the crown when his brother died in 1841. Florestan's was passionately interested in literature and the theater, but was unprepared to govern. Luckily, his wife, Caroline Gilbert of Lametz, daughter of a family with a bourgeois background, possessed remarkable intelligence and a remarkable business sence. She was of enormous help to him. The first measures taken to redress the difficult situation which the decrees of Honoré V had created had the effect of calming the people for the moment but this respite was of only short duration. Florestan and Caroline, however, made every effort to re-establish prosperity. Serious disagreements then came to a head when a commune was formed at Menton. The people there had for some time desired independence. The King of Sardinia, Charles-Albert, had granted a liberal constitution to his subjects and the people of Menton demanded a similar one for the Principality. The constitution which Florestan offered them on two occasions was not deemed adequate. After the liberal revolution of 1848 in France and the formation of the Second Republic, the situation grew worse for Florestan as his people's demands escalated.

Charles III (1846-89)

I have no informatiin on Charles' childhood or the clothes he wore as a boy. Modern Monaco as we know it today is the creation of Charles III and his talented wife. They precided over Monaco, shaping its economy and institutions for more than 40 years. Florestan and Caroline handed over all their powers to their son Charles in 1845/48. But it was too late to satisfy the growing sentiment for affiliation with Sardnia. The people in Menton and Roquebrune on March 20, 1848, declared themselves to be free and independent townships. However, annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, in spite of the efforts of the Court of Turin, did not take place. The efforts of Florestan and, after his death in 1856, those of his son Charles III, were also unsuccessful. Troubles continued until the Treaty of Turin in 1860 which ceded to France the county of Nice and Savoy. Charles III on February 2, 1861, signed a treaty with France. He ceded to France his rights over Menton and Roquebrune. This treaty which gave the Prince an indemnity of 4 million francs for the loss of the two towns guaranteed the independence of Monaco under his sole authority. For the first time in three centuries, the independence of Monaco was formally recognized and freed from any link whatever with a protecting power. The Principality was, however, reduced to one-twentieth of its territory, deprived of the revenue which it drew from Roquebrune and Menton, found itself in a financially untenable situation. Charles III to meet the expense of administration and the cost keepingb the Court, found it imperative to find other sources of revenue apart from taxes whose rates could not be increased. In 1863 after several attempts to increase commercial activity, Charles III and his mother Princess Caroline decided to open a gaming house to be called the Société des Bains de Mer. Concession was given in turn to two businessmen, neither of whom was able to successfully manage the enterprise. It was then that François Blanc, director of gaming at Homburg, who came to be called the Magician of Monte Carlo, won the concession for 50 years. Under his enlightened management, the business developed to an extent which was far beyond the most optimistic forecasts. Situated in an enchanting setting, the various tourist facilities--hotels, theater, and casino--of the Seabath Company attracted hosts of tourists from the very beginning, in spite of the difficulty of traveling to the Principality. Later, in 1868, when the railway line between Nice and Ventimiglia was completed, the number of tourists increased sharply. The economic growth of the Principality increased in a striking manner and at the same time the development of the town went ahead at an incredible pace. On the rocks of the Spelugues, the main establishment of the Seabath Company, the Casino, was quickly surrounded by luxury hotels and splendid buildings. This area changed its name in 1866 and in honor of Prince Charles assumed that of Monte Carlo. Between 1866 and 1905 the Principality signed treaties relating to the extradition of wrong-doers with Italy, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Great Britain and Denmark as well as conventions on Legal Aid and Reciprocal Communication of Civil Status Deeds with Italy, Belgium and France. Monaco was also a signatory of several multilateral treaties such as the Paris Convention of 1883, the Berne Convention of 1886 and the Madrid Arrangement of 1891. At the same time, Monaco accredited Ministers or Chargés d'Affaires to Paris, the Vatican, Spain, Italy and Belgium. Charles III increased the number of his consular agents. Some major developments occured during Charles reign. The first Monaco stamp issued in 1865 the beginning of a lucrative source of income for the principality. The Spélugues Plateau is named Monte-Carlo in honor of Prince Charles III in 1866. All forms of direct taxation are abolished in 1869. Prince Charles III, living for most of his reign in his chateau of Marchais in Champagne, did not, however, neglect the direction of public business, aided by the enlightened advice of the lawyer Eynaud. It was to this Charles III and his son, Prince Albert I, that Monaco owes its striking development, its reputation and its institutions.

Albert I (1889- )

I have no information on Albert's boyhood or the clothes he wore as a boy. Prince Albert I succeeded his father in 1889. He already had a long naval career and had begun scientific which he continued to persue. Price Albert continued his scientific interests which engrossed him. His discoveries in the fields of oceanography and paleontology won him a great reputation and a seat in the Academy of Sciences and achieved many totable accomplishments. Albert I was the founder of the Oceanographic Institute, which consists of the famous Museum inaugurated in 1910 and the establishment created in Paris to teach this science. Albert I also founded the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology in Monaco and the Institute of Human Paleontology in Paris. In addition, in 1903 he founded the International Institute of Peace with the task of "studying the means of resolving disagreements between nations by arbitration, propagating attachment to methods of harmonious agreement and removing hatred from the hearts of people". There were many achievements in the arts during Albert's reign. Many important artistic activities were undertaken. This won the Principality a magnificent reputation. The Opera, created in 1869, under the directorship of the eminent Raoul Gunsbourg, rapidly won international fame owing to the superior quality of its performances and its creations which were to become famous. Prince Albert in 1869 married Marie-Victoire de Douglas-Hamilton. A son, Prince Louis was born in 1870. The attempts of Prince Albert I to persuade the Kaiser to stop the war in 1914 unfortunately bore no fruit. On 5th January, 1911, Prince Albert I gave Monaco a Constitution. A treaty was signed with France in 1918 and approved in 1919 by signatories of the Treaty of Versailles. France commits itself to upholding the independence, sovereignty and territorial boundaries of the Principality.

Figure 1.--It is unclear what Prince Ranier is wearing here in a photograph taken about 1928. It looks like he may be wearing a smock, but the photograph is unclear. He is with his mother and sister Antonitte.

Louis II (1922-49)

Louis was born in 1870. Unfortunately I have no information on his childhood are clothes. Prince Louis II, a graduate of the Saint Cyr military college, enjoyed a career as an officer of French colonial troops in Algeria. Having left the army, he returned to active service again during World War I (1914-18). He was cited at several occasions for his heroic conduct which later merited him with amongst others, the War Cross, and the grade of Division General. Louis II succeeded his father in 1922. During the challenging period of his reign which began at the end of World War I, and ended at the end of World War II, Prince Louis II was successful despite the world economic crisis which plagued the 1930's, and despite the two periods of foreign occupation, to safeguard and complete the endeavors of his predecessors. With the consent of Prince Albert I, Prince Louis II married his daughter, Princess Charlotte, to Prince Pierre de Polignac. It was this marriage which produced in 1921 H.S.H. Princess Antoinette and in 1923 H.S.H. Prince Rainier III, insuring the continuation of the Grimaldi line.

Prince Ranier III (1949-2005)

I know very little about Prince Rainer's boyhood and would be interested in any details HBC visitors might have. He does not seem to have been dressed in the fancy ruffled outfits worn by previous generations of royals. He seems to have worn rather ordinary grey suits with longish short pants. As an older boy he often wore grey, black and brown serge shorts with a corresponding jacket and white shirt with an Eton collar. His Eton suit was the traditional Eton suit with a stiff white collar worn by English schoolboys and not the lapelless jackets made for little boys in America. This was the style, however, that his American wife to be would choose for his son, Albert. Prince Rainer for his First Communion, for example, wore a suit with an Eton collar. I'm not sure what year this was or whether he wore long or short pants for the ceremony. It was a dark suit and not a white suit like some boys wore. He joined the French Army as a volunteer during the World War II, H.S.H. Prince Rainier III was mentioned in Brigade Orders with the award of the War Cross and in 1947 he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor, military division. Prince Rainier III assended to the throne in 1949. During the course of his reign, one of the longest in the history of Monaco, the Prince intensified, expanded and diversified the enterprises committed to during the preceding three reigns. Prince Rainier to the delight of Europe and America on April, 18, 1956, married American movie star Grace Kelly. Grace was one of the most popular movie of the day. She was a stunning sucees as Princess, to the surprise of many. She born the Prince three children who evern before her tragic death had begun to cause their parents considerable problems. There has been constant problems in the increasingly turbulent lives of the Prince's saughters, but they seem to have now settled down and are rearing a number of grandchildren. Prince Albert has, however, not yet married. Prince Rainier, now over 70, is reportedly worried by who will succeed him as head of Europe's longest reigning ruling family. He has refused to abdicate, fearing that none of his children is capable of leading Monaco into the 21st century. The personal problems in 1998 took back seat to a brewing scandal invoving] stamps, another important source of income in the Principality.

Albert (2005- )

Albert was Princess Grace and Prince Rainier's only son and is in line to suceed his father. Albert was born in 1958. Princess Grace dressed him very smartly dressed as a boy and wore short pants suits until about 12 years of age. Albert was rather a dutiful son in contrast to his sisters. He never generated the headlines of his free-spirited sisters. But in recent years he has developed the reputation as a playboy and has never married. His sisters, interestingly enough, has finally settled down. Prince Albert is the most secretive and private of the three children. He remains unmarried and has yet to produce an heir.

Figure 2.--Princess Caroline dressed her son Andrea very sweetly in the long cut short pants that became popular in the late 1980s.


Andrea is the son of Prince Ranier and Princess Grace's eldest child--Princess Caroline. He was born in 1984. He is in line to suceed his uncle Albert if Albert does not marry and produce a son. Prince Andrea was very sweetly dressed, but only as a little boy.


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Created: June 6, 1998
Last updated: 5:55 PM 4/17/2005