November 19 is not just a day-off like any other in the Principality. This is the moment for its sovereigns and subjects to unite, celebrating Monaco independence. Dating back to 1734, this day is particularly emotional for its residents and a major occasion for demonstrating their deep patriotism towards the Princely family.
Bad weather prior to the celebration, on Monday, was a bit of a worry: rain, wind and cold could well have spoilt this important day. Despite a gloomy morning, however, the clouds vanished and the sun came out for the traditional morning service. This was, perhaps, the work of our Monaco patroness, Sainte Devote, who managed to reason with and tame raging nature.
The festivities started, as per tradition, on the Palace Square of Honour with the award ceremony honouring Monaco law enforcement officials. It was attended by prominent political and cultural figures, including Prime Minister Serge Telle, President of the National Council Stephane Valeri, the President of Peace and Sport Joel Bouzou with his wife and, of course, the Grimaldi family members: Princess Caroline of Hanover, Princess Stephanie, Louis Ducruet with his wife Marie Chevalier, Andrea Casiraghi with Tatyana Santo Domingo, Pierre Casiraghi with his wife Beatrice Borromeo and Princess Alexandra of Hanover. Princess Charlene looked incredible in her white outfit by AKRIS. Following the award ceremony, all the Grimaldi clan members and guests proceeded to attend the festive morning mass.
This year, the festivities had a special historic significance. This Monaco Independence Day was also celebrating the 70th anniversary of Prince Rainier’s III ascension to the throne and the 90th anniversary of Princess Grace’s birth. The Archbishop of Monaco Bernard Barsi emphasized in particular the historic importance of religion to the Principality at the start his sermon in St. Nicholas’ Cathedral.
The mass was followed by the Palace Square parade as another commemoration of Prince’s Day. Speaking about this year’s novel ceremonial features, Prince Jacques the heir to the throne appeared on the Palace balcony dressed in a carabinieri uniform decorated with the Grimaldi Order Grand Cross he had been presented with at his christening. His sister Gabriella was wearing a red dress and a beret by AKRIS. You could also spot the princely twin’s cousins in the Palace windows: India, Kaya-Rose, Sasha, Stefano and Francesco. The children enjoyed watching the festivites, waving their red and white flags.
Another highlight of the day was a bagpipe performance of the famous Anglo-Saxon anthem “Amazing Grace” accompanied by the Prince of Monaco Carabinieri Orchestra.
This was evidently another tribute to Grace Kelly and her Irish roots. The Princess would have turned 90 this month.
On top of the traditional Princely guards’ parade, the US Air Force performed a breathtaking show of swapping weapons and tossing World War II guns, a dangerous ritual that required special concentration from the soldiers. Even loud applause from the audience could not deflect them from their task.
The people gathered in the main square, dressed up in red and white Grimaldi colours. They cheered “Hip-hip hurray!” wishing the Prince and Princess long years of life!
HelloMonaco also wishes Monaco residents and its rulers the very best on this important date! Viva Múnegu!