On March 31, 2005 — Monaco’s Crown Council transferred the regency of the tiny Principality to Prince Albert II, the heir to the throne. And if you take a look around you, no matter where you look the Principality has been transformed in this last 15 years and the pace continues.
The 21st Century Prince
Even the icons of the Principality are experiencing an enhancement including the Hôtel de Paris and Casino Square. And new icons have emerged, the luxury shopping district One Monte-Carlo, the beautiful Yacht Club and Monaco’s grand latest extension into the sea, Portier Cove. Portier Cove follows Fontvieille which was Prince Albert’s father Prince Rainier’s prior achievement in extending the territory of the Principality.
The fifteen year enrichment covers whole quarters of the Principality, for example, starting with a new resort Hotel, the Monte-Carlo Bay, and now Larvotto itself and the Commercial Centre of Fontvieille in a massive futuristic sustainable «greening» project.
The Renaissance is also transforming health care. Under the impetus of Prince Albert, the Prince’s Government commissioned a study for, and the construction of, an entirely new Hospital. This ambitious project targeted for completion in 2029 is already underway and will enable the Princess Grace Hospital to meet the technical, human, medical and scientific challenges of the 21st century.
If we look to the skyline, Europe’s second largest tower, the Odéon, has taken root and is crowned with the most expensive penthouse apartment in Europe overlooking Monte-Carlo. In the sky and in Space, Monaco has its own satellite with nano-satellites ever nearer to being launched — and collaborations with NASA creating the potential for Monegasques to train as astronauts.
The Sporting Prince
Monaco has always been a mecca for sports. Aristocracy, tennis, sailing and shooting were a constant part of the Principality’s leisure mix even in the late 1800’s. But never before has the Principality had two Olympians as Prince and Princess. Prince Albert himself, a judo black belt and avid athlete has participated in five Winter Olympics in the Bobsleigh in 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, and 2002 and continues his passion for sports on the International Olympic committee where he has been a member since 1985 and from 2014 — Chairman of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission. On October 7, 2013 he was even one of the first torch bearers for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
Princess Charlène has also leveraged her sporting background and Olympic stature through her foundation to save countless children from drowning.
In this last 15 years as Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert has been able to reign over indelible episodes in sports history. Hello Monaco has chosen three watershed events in particular that will remain among the most memorable:
ASM Monaco — May 20, 2017. Coach Jardim’s team celebrates the first title of Champions of France since 2000. Unstoppable in the 2016–2017 season the team including Falcao, Fabinho, Bernardo Silva, Glik, Mendy, Subasic and Mbappé also made the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis — Rafael Nadal makes history in 2018 with 11 wins — subsequently immortalized after 10 wins with his own personalized suite in the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort.
Charles Leсlerc’s Formula 1 Grand Prix win in Monza — What are the odds that a young Monegasque in Ferrari’s 90th anniversary year would win their home Formula 1 Grand Prix in the Ferrari SF90. Forever engraved in the history books!
It is notable that in 2007, only two years into his reign Prince Albert became Patron of the International Organization «Peace & Sport» and since 2011 Patron of the World Olympians Association — organisations that use sport to advance the greater good in society.
The «Green» Prince
Prince Albert’s reign started with him already focused on protecting the Oceans as chair of the Mediterranean Science Commission — an intergovernmental body with 24 member states that mostly border the Mediterranean coast. In addition, since 28th May 1993, the Prince had already led the Monegasque delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations. Already seated at the head of global institutions Prince Albert’s reign is subsequently continually punctuated with landmark events driven by his passion to protect the marine environment and sustain the global environment for future generations.
In 2006, Prince Albert created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The foundation focuses on three main challenges: climate change and renewable energy development; combating the loss of biodiversity; and water management (improving universal access to clean water).
Continuing in the same vein to highlight global warming, on April 16, 2006, Prince Albert travelled to the North Pole by dogsled.
A year later in March 2, 2007 — Prince Albert presided over the opening ceremony in Paris of International Polar Year, a research program with a focus on the Polar Regions involving 50,000 scientists from 63 countries.
Only two years into his reign Prince Albert was already being recognized globally for his indefatigable work to protect the environment for future generations. Thus, on January 28, 2008 — The Sovereign Prince is named as one of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) «Champions of the Earth».
Prince Albert II — the Polar Explorer
January 5–14, 2009 — Prince Albert II completes an expedition to the South Pole evaluating climate impact on Antarctica along the way. He is the only head of state to have visited both poles. For his work on climate change research and environmental conservation efforts on December 14, 2015 — Prince Albert is presented with the 2015 Global Advocate Award by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
At last the world acts and on 22 April 2016 Monaco signed the Paris Climate Accord.
In keeping with the spirit of the accord the Principality of Monaco has set itself a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. To that end, it has committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 % by 2030 from their 1990 levels. Following which the National Pact for Energy Transition was launched in early 2018 to fulfil the objective of a low-carbon Principality by 2050. And there is another landmark event to record — the celebration of a centenary. 100 institutions have now joined the National Pact for Energy Transition.
On the initiative of the sovereign and the Prince Albert II Foundation, and with the support of the businessman Milutin Gatsby, the first Ocean Gala was organized on September 28, 2017 on the Terraces of the Monte-Carlo Opera.
The Gala helps to raise funds and awareness to promote the sustainable management of marine and land resources. The gala now takes place each September during the Monaco Yacht Show, Europe’s biggest in-water display of large yachts — 4.5 billion euros of superyachts on display. Guests of the Ocean Galas have included Robert Redford, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Leonardo DiCaprio, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman and many others.
Moreover, this year the event has achieved a new level and became an international gala. The Global Ocean Gala presented by Chopard was held on February 6th 2020 in Hollywood where Prince Albert II of Monaco received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and commitment to the Planet and Ocean conservation. One cannot miss the thread that inexorably travels across time and links it with the present. Grace Kelly, Prince Albert’s mother, came to Monaco from Hollywood and found her destiny and home here, while today Monaco goes back to Hollywood with a green initiative to protect the Oceans led by the «Green Prince» Albert II.
The Diplomatic Prince
As regards its international presence, the Monegasque Government implements the policies of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince, who is the chief advocate of Monaco to the world, particularly through his official visits and ambitious positions in a community of nations confronted with important challenges.
The Principality of Monaco is a full member of the United Nations, and has its own embassies abroad, including 137 honorary consulates in 83 countries. Monaco counts 15 embassies accredited to twenty-eight states. Monaco takes part in many international conferences. The 140 different nationalities who live in harmony in Monaco and work to develop the country help to make its position known.
Monaco’s Royal welcome is extended also by Princess Charlène who is active hosting events to welcome global heads of state, such as China’s President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan. In March 2017, Xi made the first ever state visit to Monaco by a Chinese president.
The most noticeable progression of Monaco’s influence is due to Prince Albert II of Monaco’s strong commitment to issues of sustainable development and cooperation on the international scene.
Fifteen years into the stable, affluent reign of Prince Albert II with the world in political, social and economic flux in every direction you look, the constitutional monarchy and steady governance of Monaco with its reputation as a centre for philanthropy and ecological responsibility looks very reassuring — all the while maintaining its reputation as a Mediterranean paradise for tourists and residents alike, and a magnet for the rich and famous in every walk of life. The Principality is enriched by its residents, who represent at least 140 nationalities. French, Italian and British nationals make up the majority of the foreigners resident in Monaco.
Two Fairy Tales
It’s not easy to follow the fairy tale of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, royalty combined with the pinnacle of beauty, style and Hollywood. You can only do it by creating a fairy tale just as compelling — Royalty with beauty and style remaining a constant with two Olympians joined in marriage as standard bearers of the Principality. Two gorgeous twin children, including a princely heir complete the picture.
There are many accomplishments and victories to record over Prince Albert’s first fifteen years at the helm — but on a personal level, surely his family must give him an incomparable sense of accomplishment. Long live Prince Albert and a toast to the next 15 years!