its small size, the country has the longest ruling
royal family in Europe. The House of Grimaldi has
ruled Monaco for over 700 years, beginning in 1297,
when Francois Grimaldi seized the fortress protecting
Monaco. Legend has it that he dressed as a monk,
and because of his disguise, he was able to overcome
the opposing troops. This event is so important
in Monaco's history that it is depicted on their
coat of arms.
the French Revolution of the 1700's, the Grimaldi
family was exiled for over 20 years. They returned
following the Treaty of Paris.
on the Mediterranean Sea, the principality of Monaco
is the second smallest country in the world, measuring
approximately one-half mile in width and three miles
in length. Only the Vatican City is smaller than
Royal Family of Monaco
the 20th century, Monaco was ruled first by Prince
Albert I then, starting in 1922, by his son Prince
Louis II. Unsuccessful in his attempts to keep Monaco
neutral during World War II, the country was occupied
first by the Italians, and later by the Germans.
Eventually Monaco was liberated by the Allied forces.
Rainier III became ruler of Monaco in 1949, succeeding
his grandfather, Prince Louis II, after his mother,
Crown Princess Charlotte, renounced her right to
succession in favour of her son. Prince Rainier
worked diligently to repair the war-torn country
and expand her interests beyond gambling. Indeed,
Prince Rainier succeeded in making Monaco a leader
in banking, financial services, and other business.
1956, Prince Rainier brought international interest
to the tiny country when he married American actress
Grace Kelly. Fascination with Monaco only increased
as three children were born to the couple: Princess
Caroline in 1957, followed by Prince Albert II in
1958, and Princess Stephanie in 1965.
Princess Grace died in a car accident in 1982 at
the age of 52. Princess Stephanie was seriously
injured in the same crash. Physically recovered,
she has admitted that the crash still haunts her.
Rainier died in 2005 at the age of 81, after 50
years as the country's well-loved ruler.
their younger years, the royal offspring were known
for their independent and headstrong ways. In 1978,
despite the disapproval of her mother, Princess
Caroline married Philippe Junot, an older man with
a reputation as a playboy. The marriage wasn't happy,
and in 1980, the couple divorced.
1983, Princess Caroline married Stefano Casiraghi,
an Italian businessman with whom she had three children.
Sadly, Stefano died in a boating accident in 1990,
leaving behind a grieving family. Princess Caroline
did not marry again until 1999. She was expecting
her fourth child when she married His Royal Highness
Prince Ernst August of Hanover, following his divorce
from his first wife.
Stephanie rebelled at an early age, and has stated
in the press that she was determined to enjoy life
to the full. Her romantic liaisons have been bumpy
and widely chronicled. In 1991 she began dating
her bodyguard, Daniel Ducruet. She had two children
with Daniel before marrying him in 1995. The couple
divorced in 1996.
1998, Princess Stephanie gave birth to a second
daughter, rumoured to be fathered by another bodyguard.
In 2003, Stephanie married Adans Lopez Peres, a
trapeze artist, but the union lasted less than a
Albert II succeeded his father as Sovereign in 2005.
He has two illegitimate children, but no legitimate
heirs. For this reason, in 2002 Monaco changed its
laws to ensure the continuation of the Grimaldi
family rule. If Prince Albert dies without producing
a legitimate heir, Princess Caroline, followed by
her children, will succeed him.
known for their independent thinking and perseverance
in the face of adversity, the Grimaldi family is
as much a part of Monaco as the rock on which the
country is built. For over 700 years, they have
enjoyed a close relationship with the people they
rule, and this unique and fascinating relationship
will undoubtedly continue for generations to come.