Albert II, Prince of Monaco
- Albert II, Prince of Monaco
- Early life
- Sports career
- Personal life and relationships
- Succession issues
- Environmental issues
- In popular culture
- Commemorative coins
- Other roles
- Titles, styles, honours and awards
- Arms and Monograms
|Prince of Monaco|
|Reign||6 April 2005 – present|
|Ministers of State||Patrick Leclercq
Gilles Tonelli (acting)
|Born||(1958-03-14) 14 March 1958
Prince’s Palace, Monaco-Ville, Monaco
|Spouse||Charlene Wittstock (m. 2011)|
Hereditary Prince Jacques
Jazmin Grace Grimaldi
|Father||Rainier III, Prince of Monaco|
Albert II (Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi; ) is the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco and head of the princely house of Grimaldi. He is the son of Prince Rainier III and the American actress Grace Kelly. Prince Albert’s sisters are Caroline, Princess of Hanover, and Princess Stéphanie. In July 2011, Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock.
Prince Albert II is one of the wealthiest royals in the world, with assets valued at more than $1 billion,which include land in Monaco and France. While Prince Albert’s real estate does not include the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, it does include holdings in the Société des bains de mer de Monaco, which operates Monaco’s casino and other entertainment properties in the principality.
Albert was born in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco. He has ancestry from Ireland, Britain, the United States, Germany, France, Belgium, and Monaco. His godmother was the Spanish queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, and his godfather was Prince Louis of Polignac. Albert graduated with distinction from the Lycee Albert Premier, in 1976.
He was a camper and later a counselor for six summers at Camp Tecumseh, on Lake Winnipesaukee, Moultonborough, New Hampshire, in the 1970s. He spent a year training in various princely duties and enrolled at Amherst College, in western Massachusetts, in 1977 as Albert Grimaldi, studying political science, economics, music, and English literature; he also joined Chi Psi fraternity. He speaks French, English, German, and Italian.
He spent the summer of 1979 touring Europe and the Middle East with the Amherst Glee Club, and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Albert also undertook an exchange program with the University of Bristol, at the Alfred Marshall School of Economics and Management in 1979.
|Achievements and titles|
|Olympic finals||1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002|
Albert was an enthusiastic sportsman, participating in cross country, javelin throwing, handball, judo, swimming, tennis, rowing, sailing, skiing, squash and fencing. He is a patron of Monaco’s football teams.
Albert competed in the bobsleigh at five consecutive Winter Olympics for Monaco, taking part in both the two-man and four-man events. In the two-man bobsleigh Albert finished 25th at the 1988 games in Calgary, 43rd at the 1992 games in Albertville, and 31st at the 2002 games. In the four-man bobsleigh Albert finished 27th in 1992, 26th at the 1994 games in Lillehammer, and 28th at both the 1998 games in Nagano and the 2002 games in Salt Lake City. Albert was Monaco’s flag bearer at the 1988, 1994, and 1998 Winter Olympics. Albert has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1985, and his maternal grandfather, John B. Kelly Sr., and maternal uncle, John B. Kelly Jr., were both Summer Olympic medal winners in rowing.
Albert took part in the 1985 Paris–Dakar Rally, but did not finish it. He also became a judo black belt.
On 7 March 2005, Albert’s father was admitted to a hospital in the principality; he was later moved to an intensive care ward. The Prince was being treated for breathing, kidney, and heart trouble. On 31 March 2005, the Palace of Monaco announced that Hereditary Prince Albert would take over the duties of his father as regent since Rainier was no longer able to exercise his functions as sovereign. This decision was reached by the Crown Council of Monaco, a body made up of notable local figures with residual powers to make judgments about certain constitutional matters. The 47-year-old prince spent his first day as regent of Monaco caring for his critically ill 81-year-old father who was at that time Europe’s longest serving monarch and the world’s third longest serving monarch.
On 6 April 2005, Rainier III died and Albert succeeded him as Albert II.
The first part of Prince Albert II’s enthronement as ruler of the Principality was on 12 July 2005, after the end of the three-month mourning period for his father. A morning Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral presided over by the Archbishop of Monaco, the Most Reverend Bernard Barsi, formally marked the beginning of his reign. Afterward Albert II returned to the princely palace to host a garden party for 7,000 Monégasques born in the principality. In the courtyard, the Prince was presented with two keys of the city as a symbol of his investiture. The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display on the waterfront.
The second part of his investiture was on 19 November 2005. Albert was enthroned at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. His family was there in attendance, including his elder sister Princess Caroline with her husband Ernst, Prince of Hanover and three of her four children, Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte; as well as his younger sister Princess Stéphanie, his paternal aunt Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy, his godson, Jean-Léonard Taubert-Natta de Massy, and his cousin Elisabeth-Anne de Massy. Royalty from 16 delegations were present for the festivities throughout the country. The evening ended with an opera performance in Monte Carlo.
Prince Albert continues the policy – initiated by previous rulers of the microstate – of strengthening environmental awareness. Just like his great-great-grandfather Albert I, he travelled to Spitsbergen in July 2005. During this trip, he visited the glaciers Lilliehöökbreen and Monacobreen. Prince Albert II also engaged in a Russian Arctic expedition, reaching the North Pole on Easter, 16 April 2006. As a result, he is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the North Pole.
Prince Albert is the Vice-Chairman of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, an American charity founded in 1982, after his mother’s death, which supports emerging artists in theatre, dance and film, as Princess Grace did in her lifetime.
In 2006, Prince Albert created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which continues the Principality of Monaco’s commitment by supporting sustainable and ethical projects around the world. The foundation focus on three main challenges: climate change and renewable energy development; combating the loss of biodiversity; and water management (improving universal access to clean water). Albert is also a global adviser to Orphans International.
On August 27, 2015, Prince Albert apologized for Monaco’s role in facilitating the deportation of a total of 90 Jews and resistance fighters, of whom only nine survived. “We committed the irreparable in handing over to the neighboring authorities women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France,” Albert said at a ceremony in which a monument to the victims was unveiled at the Monaco cemetery. “In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality.”
Personal life and relationships
|Monégasque princely family|
|HSH The Prince
HSH The Princess
HRH The Princess of Hanover
Prior to Albert’s marriage, there was much discussion of his continual bachelor status. Although he had received much press attention for dating well-known fashion models and actresses, his apparent disinclination to marry gave rise to rumours that he was homosexual. Prince Albert has consistently denied suggestions of homosexuality, most notably in a 1994 interview published in the French magazine Madame Figaro. “At first it was amusing”, he said, “but it becomes very irritating in the long term to hear people say that I am homosexual”. In July 2011, Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock.
In October 2005, the German magazine Bunte reported that Prince Albert was dating Telma Ortiz Rocasolano, a sister-in-law of the Prince of Asturias (who is now the king of Spain). However, in November 2005, the Prince instructed his lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, to commence legal proceedings against the French newspaper France Dimanche for violation of privacy and false information regarding the story.
In 2016, Albert purchased his mother’s childhood house in the East Falls district of Philadelphia. Upon acquiring Grace Kelly’s childhood property, he stated the home might be used as a museum space or as offices for the family’s Princess Grace Foundation.
Automotive and air craft enthusiast
Prince Albert, a well-known automotive enthusiast, owns vehicles like the BMW Hydrogen 7, the Lexus LS 600h, the Lexus RX 400h, and the Toyota Prius PHV. He also owns a Dassault Aviation Falcon 7X, a 14-passenger leisure jet, currently stationed at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.
Although Prince Albert does not directly own the Prince’s Palace, he does own – in addition to his mother’s childhood home – personal homes in both La Turbie and Marchais.
Children in the line of succession
On 10 December 2014, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene welcomed their first and second child, twins Gabriella Thérèse Marie and Jacques Honoré Rainier. The twins were born at Princess Grace Hospital in La Colle, Monaco. Jacques, as his father’s heir, bears the titles Hereditary Prince of Monaco and Marquis of Baux while Albert has granted Gabriella the title of Countess of Carladès.
Children born out of wedlock
Jazmin Grace Grimaldi
In 1992, a California woman, Tamara Rotolo, filed a paternity suit against the prince, claiming that he was the father of her daughter, whom she named Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. Prince Albert was also listed as the child’s father on Riverside County, California, birth certificate, according to Desert Sun. The case went to trial in 1993 and was eventually dismissed by Superior Court Judge Graham Anderson Cribbs, who refused jurisdiction and found that there was “insufficient connection between [Prince] Albert and the State of California to justify hearing a suit [in California]” and in doing so essentially accepted the Prince’s lawyer’s (Stanley Arkin) submissions on that point.
On 31 May 2006, after a DNA test confirmed the child’s parentage, Prince Albert admitted, in a statement from his lawyer, that he is Jazmin’s father. He also extended an invitation for the girl to study, and live in Monaco.
In May 2005, Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant, originally from Togo (West Africa), claimed that her youngest son, whom she named Alexandre Coste, was Prince Albert’s son, proven by DNA tests conducted by Swiss technicians working on orders from the Monegasque government. She further claimed the prince had signed a notarized certificate confirming paternity but that she had not received a copy of it. The French weekly Paris Match published a ten-page interview with Coste and included photographs of the prince holding and feeding the child. Coste also told Paris Match that she was living in the prince’s Paris apartment, and receiving an allowance from him while pretending to be the girlfriend of one of his friends in order to maintain privacy. She also said that the prince had last seen the boy in February 2005. A spokesman for Prince Albert had no comment, though upon news of Coste’s claims, the prince’s lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, announced that “A judicial strategy will be determined within the next few days”.
In mid-May 2005, Lacoste announced that as a result of the international publicity over the revelations of the prince’s son, Prince Albert was suing the Daily Mail, Bunte, and Paris Match for delving too deeply into his private life.
On 6 July 2005, a few days before he was enthroned on 12 July, Prince Albert officially confirmed via his lawyer Lacoste that the 22-month-old was his biological son.
Other alleged children
In an earlier paternity suit, Bea Fiedler, a German topless model whom the Daily Telegraph described as a “sex-film star”, claimed her son Daniel was the prince’s son. This suit was reportedly dismissed. A blood test, which was refused by the judge, did not prove that the prince was the father of Fiedler’s son.
Prince Albert married former South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock on 1 July 2011. They announced their engagement on 23 June 2010. They had been seen together since 10 February 2006, when Prince Albert was accompanied by Wittstock to the opening ceremony of the Torino Olympics. They were seen again together at the Monaco Grand Prix. The Prince and Wittstock attended the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and both the “Bal de la Rose”, and Princess Grace Awards Gala in 2009. They also attended the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympics. As a couple, they also attended the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling in Stockholm four days before their own engagement was announced and the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine Middleton on 29 April 2011. The wedding took place over two days: the civil marriage ceremony took place on 1 July 2011, followed by the religious ceremony on 2 July 2011.
On 30 May 2014, it was announced by the Prince’s Palace of Monaco that Princess Charlene was pregnant, with the couple later announcing Charlene was expecting twins The twins, Gabriella Thérèse Marie, Countess of Carladès and Jacques Honoré Rainier, Hereditary Prince of Monaco were born on 10 December 2014.
As Rainier III’s health declined, his son’s lack of legitimate children became a matter of public and political concern owing to the legal and international consequences. Had Prince Albert died without lawful heirs, it would have triggered Article 3 of the 1918 Franco-Monegasque Treaty, according to which the Principality of Monaco would become a protectorate of the French Republic. Prior to 2002, Monaco’s constitution stipulated that only the last reigning prince’s “direct and legitimate” descendants could inherit the crown.
On 2 April 2002, Monaco promulgated Princely Law 1.249, which provides that if a reigning prince dies without surviving legitimate issue, the throne passes to his legitimate siblings and their legitimate descendants of both sexes, according to the principle of male-preference primogeniture. Following Albert’s accession, this law took full effect when ratified by France, pursuant to the Franco-Monégasque Treaty regulating relations between the Principality of Monaco and its neighbor. Prince Albert’s sisters and their legitimate children thereby retained the right to inherit the Monegasque throne, which they would have otherwise lost upon the death of Prince Rainier.
Under the current constitution neither Jazmin Rotolo nor Alexandre Coste are in the line of succession as they are not Prince Albert II‘s legitimate children, and he emphasized their ineligibility to inherit the throne in statements confirming his paternity. Monegasque law stipulates that any non-adulterine child is legitimised by the eventual marriage of his/her parents, thereupon obtaining the rights to which that child would have been entitled if born in lawful marriage. Thus Alexandre would have become Monaco’s heir apparent under current law if Albert were to marry his son’s mother. But in a 2005 exchange with American reporter Larry King, Albert stated that this would not happen.
Prior to the birth of Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, Prince Albert’s elder sister, Caroline, was heir presumptive and, according to the Grimaldi house law, bore the traditional title of Hereditary Princess of Monaco. Following their birth, she is now third in line.
Year of the Dolphin
The year 2007 was declared as (International) Year of the Dolphin by the United Nations and United Nations Environment Programme. Prince Albert II served as the International Patron of the “Year of the Dolphin”, saying “The Year of the Dolphin gives me the opportunity to renew my firm commitment towards protecting marine biodiversity. With this strong initiative we can make a difference to save these fascinating marine mammals from the brink of extinction.”
The Zoological Garden of Monaco (Jardin Animalier) was founded by Prince Rainier in 1954. Rainier was petitioned unsuccessfully for many years by Virginia McKenna, founder of the Born Free Foundation, to release a pair of leopards at the zoo. Prince Albert met McKenna after his accession to the throne, and agreed to release the leopards as well the zoo’s hippo and camel. He intends to convert the Jardin into a zoo for children.
Expedition to Antarctica
In January 2009, Prince Albert left for a month-long expedition to Antarctica, where he visited 26 scientific outposts and met with climate-change experts in an attempt to learn more about the impact of global warming on the continent. During the trip he stopped at the South Pole, making him the only incumbent head of state to have visited both poles.
CITES and bluefin tuna
In June 2009, Prince Albert co-authored an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal with Charles Clover, the author of The End of the Line, a book about overfishing and ocean conservation issues that had recently been made into a documentary by Rupert Murray. In the piece, Prince Albert and Clover note that bluefin tuna has been severely overfished in the Mediterranean, and decry the common European Union practice of awarding inflated quotas to bluefin fleets. Albert also announced that Monaco would seek to award endangered species status to the Mediterranean bluefin Thunnus thynnus, (also called the Northern bluefin) under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). If upheld by the voting CITES delegates, this proposal would effectively ban the international trade in Mediterranean bluefin. This was the first time a nation had called for the inclusion of Mediterranean bluefin under CITES since Sweden at the 1992 CITES Conference, which was vehemently opposed by Japan who eventually threatened retaliation through trade barriers. Sweden withdrew its proposal.
On 16 July 2009, France declared that it too would seek to have Mediterranean bluefin listed as an endangered species. Only hours later, the United Kingdom followed suit.
Roger Revelle Prize
On 23 October 2009, Prince Albert was awarded the Roger Revelle Prize for his efforts to protect the environment and to promote scientific research. This award was given to Prince Albert by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Prince Albert is the second recipient of this prize.
In 1996, Prince Albert received the Eagle Award from the United States Sports Academy. The Eagle Award is the Academy’s highest international honor and was awarded to Prince Albert for his significant contributions in promoting international harmony, peace and goodwill through the effective use of sport.
In October 2017, Prince Albert received the Lowell Thomas Award from The Explorers Club, a non-profit group that promotes scientific exploration. The award is presented by the President of the Club on special occasions to groups of outstanding explorers. The Club cited Prince Albert’s dedication to the protection of the environment, and that he was the first head of state to reach both the North and South poles.
In popular culture
Albert II played Irishman James Kelley in the film One Man’s Hero.
In the film The Social Network, Albert II is played by actor James Shanklin.
Albert II is also portrayed as a child briefly in Grace of Monaco (2014).
As Monaco’s head of state, Prince Albert is depicted on coins, including collectors’ coins, with very rare exceptions. One of the most recent examples is the €5 silver Prince Albert II commemorative coin, the first commemorative coin with his effigy on it, minted in 2008. On the obverse, the prince is depicted in profile with his name on the top of the coin. On the reverse, the Grimaldi coat of arms appears; around it, the words “Principauté de Monaco” (Principality of Monaco) also appear along with the nominal monetary value of the coin.
- President, Monaco Red Cross
- President, Comité Olympique Monégasque
- Honorary President, Association Mondiale des Amis de l’Enfance
- Honorary President, The Automobile Club de Monaco
- Honorary President, The Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo
- Honorary President, Jumping International de Monte Carlo
- Honorary Board Member, International Paralympic Committee
- Patron, Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters
- Patron, Peace and Sport Organization
- Senator, Junior Chamber International
- Trustee, Al Oerter Foundation/ Art of the Olympians
Titles, styles, honours and awards
Titles and styles
Albert II, Prince of Monaco
|Reference style||His Serene Highness|
|Spoken style||Your Serene Highness|
- 14 March 1958 – 6 April 2005: His Serene Highness The Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux
- 6 April 2005 – 10 December 2014: His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux
- 10 December 2014 – present: His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco
As the prince, his official shortened title is “His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco”; this does not include the many other styles claimed by the Grimaldi family.
- Monaco: Colonel of the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (11 November 1986 – present)
- France: Capitaine de frégate de la Marine Nationale (2 April 1992 – present)
- Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Saint-Charles (Grand Cross, 13 March 1979; Grand Master since 6 April 2005)
- Grand Master of the Order of the Crown (since 6 April 2005)
- Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Grimaldi (Grand Cross, 18 April 1958; Grand Master since 6 April 2005)
- Grand Master of the Order of Cultural Merit (since 6 April 2005)
- Bulgaria: 1st Class decoration of the Order of Stara Planina (before 07/2011)
- Burkina Faso: Grand Officer of the National Order of Burkina Faso (17 February 2012)
- Costa Rica: Grand Cross with Gold Star of the National Order Juan Mora Fernández (es, 2003)
- Croatia: Knight Grand Cross of the Grand Order of King Tomislav (7 April 2009)[
- El Salvador: Grand Collar of the Order of the Liberator of the Slaves José Simeón Cañas (es, 2002)
- France: Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (2006)
- France: Grand Cross of the Ordre National du Mérite (25 July 1997)
- France: Commander of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (19 June 2009)
- Holy See: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre (27 January 1983)
- Italy: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (12 December 2005)
- Jordan: Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Renaissance (before 07/2011)
- Lebanon: Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit (before 07/2011)
- Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great (15 October 2012)
- Mali: Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali (12 February 2012)
- Niger: Grand Cross of the National Order of Niger (March 1998)
- Panama: Grand Cross of the Order of Vasco Núñez de Balboa (2002)
- Peru: Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun (2003)
- Poland: Member 1st class of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2012)
- Romania : Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania (2009)
- San Marino: Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Agatha
- Senegal: Grand Officer (May 1977), later Grand Cross (2012) of the Order of the Lion
- SMOM:Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion (15 October 1997)
- Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion (31 July 2011)
- Collar of the Order pro merito Melitensi (15 October 2009)
- Tunisia: Grand Cordon of the Order of 7 November (September 2006)
- Sweden: HM King Carl XVI Gustaf 50th Anniversary Medal (30 April 1996)
- Sweden: Recipient of the 70th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf (30 April 2016)
- House of Savoy: Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1 March 2003)
- House of Petrović-Njegoš: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Danilo I
- FIODS: Medal of the International Merit of Blood (12 March 1994)
- Pahang: College of Darjah Kerabat Diraja Pahang (7 November 1997)
- France: Grand Prix Humanitaire de France (6 March 2007)
- Pierre and Marie Curie University: Doctor Honoris Causa (23 March 2017)
Arms and Monograms