Albert II, Prince of Monaco
Albert II (Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi; born 14 March 1958) is the Sovereign Prince of Monaco and head of the Princely House of Grimaldi. He is the son of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.
Prince Albert in 2016
|Prince of Monaco|
|Reign||6 April 2005 – Present|
|Ministers of State||Patrick Leclercq|
Gilles Tonelli (acting)
|Born||14 March 1958|
Prince's Palace of Monaco, Monaco
|Father||Rainier III, Prince of Monaco|
|Service/||Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince|
|Years of service||1986–2005|
(end of active service)
He was born at the Prince's Palace of Monaco, and attended the Lycée Albert Premier before studying political science at Amherst College. In his youth, he competed in bobsleigh during Winter Olympic finals before retiring in 2002. Albert was appointed regent in March 2005 after his father fell ill, and became sovereign prince upon his passing a week later. Since his ascension, he has been outspoken in the field of environmentalism and an advocate of ocean conservation, and adoption of renewable energy sources to tackle global climate change, and founded The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006, to directly raise funds and initiate action for such causes and greater ecological preservation.
Albert is one of the wealthiest royals in the world, with assets valued at more than $1 billion, which include land in Monaco and France. He owns shares in the Société des Bains de Mer, which operates Monaco's casino and other entertainment properties in the principality.
In July 2011, Prince Albert married South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock. They have two children, the twins Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques. Prince Albert is also father to two children born prior to his marriage, American-born Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and French-born Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste.
Early life and military serviceEdit
Prince Albert was born in the Prince's Palace of Monaco on 14 March 1958, as the second child of the Prince and Princess of Monaco. At the time of his birth, he was heir apparent to the throne. He has Irish, German, and Monegasque ancestry. The Prince was a dual citizen of both the Principality of Monaco and the United States of America by birth, before renouncing his American citizenship in his early adulthood. He was baptized on 20 April 1958, by Monsignor Jean Delay, Archbishop of Marseille, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of Monaco. His godparents were Prince Louis de Polignac and Queen Victoria of Spain.
Albert graduated with distinction from the Lycée 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 princely duties before enrolling at Amherst College, in Massachusetts, in 1977 as Albert Grimaldi. He later joined Chi Psi fraternity. Albert spent mid-1979 touring Europe and the Middle East with the Amherst College Glee Club, and also undertook an exchange program with the University of Bristol, at the Alfred Marshall School of Economics and Management, in 1979. He graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.  He speaks French, English, German, and Italian. From September 1981 to April 1982, Albert trained onboard the French Navy's helicopter carrier Jeanne d'Arc, attaining the rank of Ship-of-the-Line Ensign (2nd class), and is currently a reserve Lieutenant Commander. From 1983 to 1985, he took training courses with companies J.P. Morgan & Co, LVMH, Rogers & Wells, and Wells, Rich and Greene in the United States and Europe, studying financial management, communication, and marketing. Since May 1993, the Prince has led the Monegasque delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations. In 2004, the Prince presided over the delegation of Monaco in Strasbourg, France, for the official accession of the Principality onto the Council of Europe.
Prince Albert's mother, Princess Grace died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in 1982. She was aged 52. In 2017, the Prince stated during an interview that his mother's death was a traumatic event for him and his family, revealing that his father was "never the same man" after the loss.
|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.
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. He also took part in the 1985 Paris–Dakar Rally, but did not complete it. 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 Olympic medalists in rowing. In 2017 Albert gained OLY post-nominal status under his competition name of Albert Grimaldi. He became a judo black belt in 2011.
On 31 March 2005, following consultation with the Crown Council of Monaco, the Palais Princier announced that Albert would take over the duties of his father as regent since Rainier was no longer able to exercise his royal functions. On 6 April 2005, Rainier 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 returned to the 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, and subsequently gave a speech. The evening ended with a fireworks display on the waterfront.
The second part of his investiture took place on 19 November 2005. Albert was enthroned at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. The Princely family was 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 dedicated performance at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.
In the early years of his reign, Prince Albert oversaw multiple judicial and legal reforms, including the regulation of custody, protections of the privacy of the individual in the face of technological growth, freedom of the press, legislative gender equality, and the protection of children's rights and handicapped students. In July 2005, in echo of Albert I, his great-great-grandfather, he travelled to Spitsbergen, Norway. During this trip, he visited the glaciers Lilliehöökbreen and Monacobreen. Prince Albert also engaged in a Russian Arctic expedition, reaching the North Pole on Easter, 16 April 2006. He is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the North Pole.
Since his ascension, the Prince has overseen the construction of various community facilities, including social housing, railway infrastructure, educational institutes for the hospitality industry, and secondary education. He currently heads an initiative to promote ethical economic activity, criminal liability, the adopting of systems to combat money laundering and organized crime, and the introduction of tax fraud into Monegasque criminal law. In 2006, Prince Albert created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which continues Monaco's commitment to supporting sustainable and ethical projects around the world. The foundation's focus has on three main objectives: climate change and renewable energy development, combating the loss of biodiversity, and improving universal access to clean water.
On 27 August 2015, Prince Albert apologized for Monaco's role in facilitating the deportation of a total of 90 Jews and resistance fighters to the Nazis in 1942, 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."
In 2016, Albert purchased Princess Grace's childhood home in the East Falls, Philadelphia, which was originally built by his grandfather, Jack Kelly. Upon acquiring his mother's childhood property, he stated the house might be used as a museum space or as offices for the Princess Grace Foundation. Prince Albert does not possess direct ownership of the Prince's Palace, but does possess personal homes in both La Turbie and Marchais.
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.
On 19 March 2020, amid the large-scale outbreak of COVID-19, it was announced that Albert II had tested positive for the infectious disease, which is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It was reported that he had begun to self-quarantine from within his apartment, performing his work and duties from there. This makes Albert II the first monarch and head of state to have contracted COVID-19. He is the second head of a royal house to contract the virus, after Karl von Habsburg. On 31 March, it was announced that he had made a full recovery and would begin to self-quarantine with his family.
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.
List of claimants with illegitimate childrenEdit
- Tamara Rotolo — In 1992, an American national filed a paternity suit against the Prince, claiming that he was the father of her daughter, Jazmin Grace. Prince Albert was reportedly listed as the child's father on her birth certificate, registered in Riverside County, California, United States of America. 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]", justifying the statements of the Prince's lawyer. On 31 May 2006, after a DNA test confirmed the child's parentage, Albert admitted, via statement from his lawyer, that he is Jazmin's father. He subsequently provided support and extended an invitation for her to study and live in Monaco.
- Nicole Coste — In May 2005, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo, claimed that her youngest son, whom she named Alexandre Coste, was Prince Albert's child, and stated that his parentage had been proven by DNA tests requested by the Monegasque government. She further declared that the Prince had signed a notarised certificate confirming paternity, which she had not received a copy of. The Paris Match published a ten-page interview with Coste, including photographs of Albert holding and feeding the child. Coste also told the publication 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 discretion. She also stated that the prince had previously last seen the boy in February 2005. The prince's lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, announced that as a result of the international publicity over these revelations, Prince Albert was suing the Daily Mail, Bunte, and Paris Match for privacy violations. On 6 July 2005, a few days before he was enthroned on 12 July, the Prince officially confirmed via his lawyer Lacoste that Alexandre was his biological son.
- Bea Fiedler — In an earlier paternity suit, 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 though a blood test, which was refused by the judge, did not prove that the prince was or was not the biological father of Fiedler's son. Fiedler rejects the DNA blood sample as truly belonging to Prince Albert. 
Prince Albert met South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2000 at the Mare Nostrum swimming meet in Monaco. They made their public debut as a couple at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics. She accompanied him to the weddings of the Crown Princess of Sweden in 2010 and of the Duke of Cambridge in 2011.
Their engagement was announced by the palace on June 10, 2010. The wedding was originally scheduled for 8 and 9 July 2011, but was moved forward to prevent a conflict with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Durban on 5–9 July, which they both attended. The couple had invited members of the IOC, including president Jacques Rogge, to their wedding.
The couple were married in a civil ceremony on 1 July 2011 in the Throne Room of the Prince's Palace. Wittstock was reported to be in tears during the wedding. The religious ceremony took place in the courtyard of the palace on 2 July, and was presided over by Archbishop Bernard Barsi. The couple honeymooned in Mozambique.
Charity work and patronagesEdit
Albert holds affiliations and patronages within numerous philanthropic organizations. He 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. Albert holds patronages with AS Monaco., the World Olympians Association, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the Peace and Sport Organization, and Junior Chamber International. He holds official and honorary presidencies within the Monaco Red Cross, Comité Olympique Monégasque, Association Mondiale des Amis de l'Enfance, The Automobile Club de Monaco, The Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo, and Jumping International de Monte Carlo. Albert is affiliated with International Paralympic Committee, Junior Chamber International, and Art of the Olympians. Albert is also a global adviser to Orphans International.
The year 2007 was declared as (International) Year of the Dolphin by the United Nations and United Nations Environment Programme. Prince Albert 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.
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.
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 have 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). 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 19 September 2017, Prince Albert expressed his great interest for the preliminary draft of the Global Pact for the Environment presented by French President Emmanuel Macron in the context of the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly. He added that he will be very attentive to the future of this Pact, which he qualified as a "universal, legally binding agreement, which recognises the right of future generations to sustainable development."
Titles, styles, honours and awardsEdit
Titles and stylesEdit
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
- 31 March 2005 – 6 April 2005: His Serene Highness The Prince Regent of Monaco
- 6 April 2005 – present: His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco
As the prince, his official primary title is "His Serene Highness Prince 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 – 6 April 2005)
- 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)
- Burkina Faso:
- Grand Officer of the National Order of Burkina Faso (17 February 2012)
- Costa Rica:
- El Salvador:
- Grand Collar of the Order of the Liberator of the Slaves José Simeón Cañas (2002)
- Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (9 July 2012)
- Holy See:
- Recipient of the King Willem-Alexander Inauguration Medal
- Grand Cross of the National Order of Niger (March 1998)
- San Marino:
- First Class of the Order of the White Double Cross (2017)
- Sovereign Military Order of Malta:
- House of Savoy:
- House of Petrović-Njegoš:
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Danilo I
- Two Sicilian Royal Family:
- Knight of the Order of Saint Januarius (7 November 2017)
- Bailiff Knight Grand Cross with Collar of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George (7 November 2017)
- 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)
- Finland University of Lapland: Doctor Honoris Causa (19 February 2019)
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.
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 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, commemorating his status as the first head of state to reach both the North and South poles.
On 14 October 2019 at the Comenius University in Bratislava, he received the honorary title "doctor honoris causa" for activities in the field of protection of natural and cultural heritage within his efforts to combat climate change.
As Monaco's head of state, Prince Albert II is depicted both standard-issue and collector's coins, such as the €5 silver Prince Albert II commemorative coin, the first commemorative coin with his effigy, 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.
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 succeeded his father and 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 in 2005 when ratified by France, pursuant to the Franco-Monégasque Treaty regulating relations between the Principality and its neighbour. 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 nor Alexandre are in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne as they are not Prince Albert's legitimate children, and he emphasised their ineligibility to inherit the throne in statements confirming his paternity. Monegasque law stipulates that any non-adulterine illegitimate 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, Princess of Hanover, 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.
|Ancestors of Albert II, Prince of Monaco|
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- Evening Standard article, 24 March 1993, page 20
- Monaco prince admits love child, BBC News, 6 July 2005. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
- "Bea in His Bonnet,The Daily Telegraph, 29 July 1987. Also Sunday Mirror, 8 March 1998, pages 1+
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- fr:Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince
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- Déjeuner au Palais Princier en l'honneur de LL. AA. RR. le Prince et la Princesse de Savoie à l'occasion du 1er Millénaire de la Maison de Savoie.1 March 2003 (French)
- S.A.S. le Prince reçoit le titre de Docteur Honoris Causa – website of the Palace of the Prince
-  – website of the University of Lappland
- "News 21/01/08 – FISU President Receives USSA Award". Fisu.net. 21 January 2008. Archived from the original on 2 July 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "San Diego gives Monaco's Prince Albert the royal treatment". Cbs8.com. 23 October 2009. Archived from the original on 23 February 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- Casey, Shannon (2 November 2009) A Prize Fit for a Prince, UCSD News.
- Scripps to Honor Prince Albert II of Monaco for his Environmental Efforts, Scripps News, 1 April 2009. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "The Explorers Club – News – Announcing the 2017 Lowell Thomas Award Winners". explorers.org. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "Albert II (silver) commemorative coin". The Euro Coins Store. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
- United Nations Treaty Series, 1975, vol. 981, Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1918. P. 360. "Should the throne become vacant, particularly for lack of a direct or adoptive heir, the territory of Monaco shall form, under the protectorate of France, an autonomous state under the name of the State of Monaco," United Nations translation.
- The Constitution (2002)
- Larry King Live. Interview with Prince Albert II. 25 October 2005. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
- The House Laws
- Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Fürstliche Häuser Band XV, Band 114 der Gesamtreihe, Limburg a. d. Lahn 1997, pp. 68–71. (in German)
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Albert II, Prince of MonacoBorn: 14 March 1958
| Prince of Monaco
| Hereditary Prince of Monaco
| Marquis of Baux
| Flagbearer for Monaco
1988, 1992, 1994