One year ago, on 17 March 2020, Prince Albert II first announced the historic implementation of a lockdown in the Principality to combat Covid-19. One year later, the Sovereign Prince came back in front of news cameras to discuss how the Principality has been managing the crisis since then. On Monaco Info, the Prince spoke about the pandemic’s trying times, how he feels after contracting the virus, spending quality time with his family, the environment, the economy and Monaco’s future.
“Could you have imagined that, one year later, the crisis would still be here?” was the first question asked on the twenty-minute interview.
“It was a disease we did not know much about, it was an unprecedented situation and we thought that it was going to last a few months and everything was going to go back to normal quite quickly and here we are, a year later,” Prince Albert said in the interview.
When a leader is faced with a situation without a projection into the short or long-term future it can be, understandably, a little scary. At the beginning of the pandemic, leaders across the globe were all confronted with the same problem: how to keep the population safe. The Prince said that he understands the frustration of many people and the desire to find a semblance of normalcy during the ongoing crisis.
“The health of the population is number one and it’s absolutely what has always guided my approach,” the Prince said during the interview.
The Prince thanked many people during the interview, including medical staff at the CHPG, the National Council, institutions and organizations like the Red Cross, the police force, firefighters and carabiners.
“There was a beautiful general mobilization of certain services that have made it easier to coordinate health and safety actions and protocols in Monaco,” the Prince said.
Monaco weathers the storm
Monaco’s stimulus policy has helped businesses and employees weather the storm.
“Economic aids and all the measures that the state could propose and bring to the table largely contributed to maintaining the economy in a satisfactory way,” the Prince said.
“The population has really listened to the messages that I transmitted. This understanding and discipline contributed to the virus not spreading as strongly in the Principality as in other areas,” the Prince said during the interview.
“I feel very good.”
The Prince was one of the first heads of state and one of the first people in Monaco to contract COVID-19. So, how does the Prince feel a year later?
“I feel very good. I have moments of fatigue, but they are in line with other patients who have recovered from the virus,” the Prince said during the interview, “like any illness, this virus affects people very differently. Studies on the virus are still ongoing.”
Much-needed family time
The slowing down of society that came with the pandemic also meant that the Prince could enjoy some quality time with his wife, Princess Charlene, and their two children, Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriela.
“Both children have a great sense of humour….Princess Gabriela loves to make jokes and Jacques is a little more reserved. There were good family moments during this change of rhythm which allowed us to do things we could not accomplish or dream of doing during other times when I had a lot of work,” the Prince said during the interview.
Benefitting the environment
As we come to the end (hopefully) of the crisis, humans as a species can now consider another way of functioning, one which places more importance on the environment and innovation.
“I think that we have an extraordinary opportunity to start from another mode of functioning. One which benefits nature, sustainability and the fight against pollution, which is extremely important,” the Prince said during the interview.
“We must not let our guard down”
The final message which the Prince wished to convey with Monaco was one of thanks and unity.
“Keep up this tremendous spirit which has animated us, don’t give up. Unfortunately it’s not over and I’m sorry that I am not more optimistic about the exit of crisis because the end of the pandemic does not necessarily mean the end of the virus. It is necessary to always keep up the same vigilance. We must not let our guard down. Stay united all together with strength.”