Stefano Casiraghi

Stefano Casiraghi (8 September 1960 – 3 October 1990) was an Italian speedboat racer, socialite, and businessman. He was the son of Giancarlo Casiraghi and Fernanda Biffi, and became the second husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco. He was famous for having set a speed record in speedboat racing and was, at the time of his death in a racing accident, the world champion of offshore powerboat racing.

Stefano Casiraghi
Stefano Casiraghi (in the middle), 1989
Born(1960-09-08)8 September 1960
Died3 October 1990(1990-10-03) (aged 30)
Resting placeChapel of Peace, Monaco
OccupationChairman, Cogefar France
Founder/Majority shareholder, Engeco
World Offshore Champion
Known forSon-in-law of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco
Spouse(s)Princess Caroline of Monaco
(m. 1983-1990, his death)
ChildrenAndrea Casiraghi
Charlotte Casiraghi
Pierre Casiraghi

Early lifeEdit

The son of Giancarlo Casiraghi (d. 1998), a businessman and Fernanda (née Biffi), Stefano Casiraghi grew up in the Casiraghi family's estate, Villa Cigogne, in Fino Mornasco.[1] He had two brothers, Marco and Daniele (died in 2016), and one sister, Rosalba.[1] He also developed an early passion for the speedboat races on Lake Como.[2] He followed the course of his brothers by enrolling at Milan's Bocconi University. However, his eagerness to work in business was stronger than his wish to have a degree, or his skills to obtain one,[3] and he left the university after only two years of study, to begin to work for his father and his oldest brother, Marco.[1]


He was involved in the real estate and retail export enterprises of the family business that his father had built up.[3] His obituary in The New York Times described him as a financier and said, at his death, Casiraghi was Chairman of "Cogefar France" (a construction subsidiary of Fiat). The same source said he had a majority interest in Engeco, a Monaco-based construction company which he founded in 1984.[3] At the time of his first child's birth, it was said that he was the director of the Christian Dior boutique in Monte Carlo.[1]

Speedboat racingEdit

A throttle man,[4] a role that requires control of the trim tab while observing water conditions to reach optimum speed, Casiraghi participated in eighty offshore races during his lifetime. Over a 20-year career, he won a dozen of those competitions and, at the time of his death, was the world champion of offshore speedboat racing, including the World Championship held off the coast of Atlantic City in 1989.[3] Casiraghi had set the record (since broken) for 277 km/h on Lake Como in 1984.[2] It is a very dangerous sport, but as Casiraghi once said, "There are more dangerous sports and I believe one should live life to the fullest."[2]

Marriage and familyEdit

On 29 December 1983 in Monaco, he and Princess Caroline married in a civil ceremony in the Hall of Mirrors of the Monegasque Princely Palace. They were not able to have a Catholic ceremony because Caroline had been divorced from Philippe Junot, and an annulment had not yet been obtained. However, as Caroline was over three months pregnant, the couple did not want to wait any longer.[citation needed]

Her father, Prince Rainier III was by all accounts initially suspicious of his new son-in-law as were many others. The Italian papers called Casiraghi "Carolino" and portrayed him as a mere plaything for his wife.[citation needed]

The couple had three children: Andrea (born 8 June 1984), Charlotte (born 3 August 1986), and Pierre (born 5 September 1987). The children are, respectively, fourth, eighth and eleventh in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne, after their twin cousins and their mother. Despite their parents' not having married in the Church as required for legitimacy under church (but not Monagasque) law, they were legitimised by Pope John Paul II in February 1993, eight months after their mother's marriage to Junot was annulled in June 1992.[5]


Casiraghi was killed in an offshore powerboat racing accident off the coast of Monaco near Cap Ferrat on 3 October 1990 while defending his world offshore title.[3] He was 30 years old and had planned to retire after the race. Only weeks earlier, he had escaped death when his boat blew up off the coast of Guernsey.[6]

There were three to four-foot wave conditions on the race course, which caused Casiraghi's 42-foot catamaran, Pinot di Pinot, to flip.[3] Traveling at ca. 150 km/h,[3] it did not have a full canopy, and experts who studied the accident have said that Casiraghi would most likely have survived the accident had the boat been equipped with such a canopy. As a result of his death, safety laws became more stringent; a safety harness and closed hull became compulsory, as was a twin hull design for boats. Races nowadays take place close to the harbor where waves are gentler, which is policed off for safety reasons as boats are no longer allowed to drive near the course.

Of the tragedy, Anne Edwards wrote that Casiraghi and his copilot, Patrice Innocenti, had been "trying to make up for time they had lost earlier in the race when they had stopped to rescue a pilot whose vessel had caught fire."[7]

Patrice Innocenti survived the accident. He was pulled from the water and taken to Monaco's Princess Grace Hospital.[3]

The funeral Mass was held in Monaco's Cathedral of St. Nicholas eight years after Princess Grace's funeral in the same place.[8]

Stefano Casiraghi is buried in the Chapelle de la Paix in Monaco, which is also the resting place of his wife's paternal grandfather, Prince Pierre of Monaco.


  1. ^ a b c d Biographie de Stefano Casiraghi.
  2. ^ a b c Reed, J.D.; Joel Stratte-McClure and Logan Bentley. "Another Tragedy for Monaco", People, 15 October 1990. Accessed 7 June 2010
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Fowler, Glenn. Stefano Casiraghi, 30, Husband of Caroline of Monaco, is killed, The New York Times, 4 October 1990. Accessed 7 June 2010.
  4. ^ Private Lives, published by Oxmoor House, 1991. ISBN 978-0-8487-1024-8
  5. ^ Knightley, Emma. Princely Monaco XXI: The House of Grimaldi in the 21st Century (Kindle ed.). ISBN 9780359058945.
  6. ^ Kurth, Peter. "In the House of Grimaldi" Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Cosmopolitan.
  7. ^ Edwards, Anne (1993). The Grimaldis of Monaco (Paperback ed.). HarperCollins. p. 17. ISBN 0006374697.
  8. ^ Tarraborelli, J. Randy :Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier . Warner Books, 2004. ISBN 978-0-446-61380-4

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