Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Little Prince Rainier

Yesterday's Tram Tuesday post, showing the scenic tramline between Nice and Monaco, made me want to post some more on Monaco. Here we have a card with the royal children of Monaco, Rainier and Antoinette, children of  Prince Pierre and Princess Charlotte. Unfortunately for Princess Antoinette (born in 1920),  her younger brother, born in 1923, would become the heir to the throne.

That's just the way it is. There's protocol, you know. Although I will say that the royal protocol in Monaco is particularly unusual.

Judge for yourself. Here's the condensed recent history of the Monaco's royal family starting with Prince Louis II:

1870 - Prince Louis is born to parents who don't like each other, Prince Albert I and Lady Hamilton. Shortly thereafter, Lady Hamilton leaves Monaco forever and raises Louis in Germany with her new husband.

1881 - Yikes, Louis is 11 and he's the only heir. He must return to Monaco and to the father he doesn't know to be trained for his royal duties.

About 1891 - Like his mother, Louis doesn't like it much in Monaco. He goes off to France to enroll in the St. Cyr Military Academy. After that, he opts to join the French Foreign Legion in Africa to avoid returning to Monaco.

1895 or so - Louis falls in love with a woman, Juliette Louvet, who is variously described as a washerwoman and a cabaret dancer. She is married to a 'girlie photographer' and already has two children.

1898 - Prince Louis and Juliette conceive a child.

1904 or thereabouts - Louis is informed that the Principality of Monaco will revert to a distant German relative if he does not produce an heir.  "Hmm", he says, "Well, I did have this illegitimate child with the washerwoman/cabaret dancer in Algeria, who was married to a girlie photographer and already had two children. There's my heir!"  (This is an approximate quote)

1919 - Charlotte, the daughter of his tryst with the washerwoman/cabaret dancer, is adopted by Louis, and declared Princess of Monaco.

1920 - Louis arranges the marriage of Charlotte with Count Pierre de Polignac of Guidel, who is by all accounts gay.  Pierre becomes Prince of Monaco. Somehow, they give birth to a daughter (Antoinette) the same year.

1923 - Charlotte and Pierre give birth to a son, Rainier.

1922 - Prince Albert I dies. Prince Louis takes over.

1944 - Princess Charlotte cedes her rights to her son, Rainier. 

1946 - The 75-year-old Prince Louis marries a French actress, divorced wife of some French actor. They leave Monaco for Paris.

1949 - Prince Louis dies. Prince Rainier becomes Sovereign Prince.

1949 - Rainier's mother, Princess Charlotte, is now free. She moves in with her lover, a noted French former jewel thief, and turns the family estate near Paris into a rehabilitation center for former convicts.

1940s/50s - Prince Rainier moves in with French film star, Gisele Pascal.

1940s - Prince Rainier's sister Antoinette has three children out of wedlock with a Spanish lawyer and international tennis champion.

1950s - Antoinette starts making sounds about her son becoming heir to the throne, since Rainier doesn't have any heirs.

1956 - Rainier takes the hint and marries American film star, Grace Kelly.

Allegedly, Rainier's sister, Princess Antoinette, was so unpopular and fixated on the hierarchy, that Princess Grace demanded she leave the country.

You're probably familiar with all of the more recent history of  Caroline, Albert, and Stephanie, so I'll stop here. And in case you think all this stuff is so unbelievable that I must have made it up, check the sources at the end of the post. In the meantime, here are some more views of Monaco.

Want to know more? Check out these links.,_Duchess_of_Valentinois,_Baroness_of_Massy,_Prince_of_Monaco


  1. You couldn't make up a history like that! I have some fond memories of Monaco in early 2000s, so really enjoyed these old postcards.

  2. It is a lovely place! What a wonderful timeline as well! The postcards are beautiful too.

  3. What a family! Great postcards though :o)

  4. Lovely postcards, especially the first one.
    A colourful history!

  5. Thanks for the laugh. I needed it today!

  6. Wow!!! That is some disfunction junction!!! Thanks for all the interesting info, it was definitely NOT boring, hee hee.
    Hope you are doing well Christine!

    Christine from the East Coast

  7. Thats a lot of twists and turns in the history but then thats the story of the rich and the famous.

  8. That was super interesting!!!

  9. I had no idea about the Monaco royals! thanks for this fascinating story.

  10. Too bad there were no reality show then, it would have made primo drama! It really seems as if Princess Grace were the calm in the storm over there.

  11. And the history isn't getting any less lurid as time goes by.

  12. The new head of monaco was married last year (after many affairs and a few children as a result) and his best man was someone who lives a stone's throw away from Bryn Mawr-the small world we live in!

  13. Goodness they make our UK lot look squeaky clean :-) Fascinating post, and interesting cards.

  14. Christine, I stopped in to catch up. Wow ---what a story! As always, thoroughly enjoyed your posts. I hope you're having a great time during your sabbatical!!!:)

  15. Amazing story! Beautiful postcards! And if someone see the current changes in the Monaco Princely family, they could imagine how interesting continue will have this story!!! ;-)



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