70 years and as many balls and no-one can remember a more extravagant display of floral splendour than at the 71st Red Cross Gala. Twenty-five thousand flowers; not even a blazing field of lavender in Provence could turn heads in comparison. And to complete the choreography, seascapes by the famous Japanese artist Hokusai based on the Great Wave prints from 1830 adorned the walls reminding us of the blessings of our environment and the need to preserve it for future generations.
A feature of the Red Cross Gala that has been added under the Presidency of Prince Albert is the custom of the donation of an extraordinary piece of art each year by a famous artist. During this evening, the guests were able to admire this donated painting in the hall of the Sporting Monte-Carlo. It is the work of Marcello Lo Giudice, a generous gift by the Italian painter to the Monegasque Red Cross.
Competing with the beauty of the surroundings Princess Charlene wore a heavenly vivid green Marchesa Notte dress. The royal consort turned a sea-wave of heads as she arrived at the Red Cross Gala Ball accompanied by Prince Albert. As for jewels, Charlene sported her golden Repossi drop earrings with delicate pearls. Deliberately light on jewellery, a diamond ear-cuff and a winding bangle bracelet let her exquisite dress, which featured three cut-outs together with her gold clutch, say it all.
Princess Constance of Bourbon-Parme courageously chose a purple ballgown. And French actress Karin Viard looked stunning in a colour-contrasting purple with pink gown. The legendary diva Shirley Bassey showed that at age 82 she could grace the event as equally as she ever could with her glamour. Memorable for her interpretation of the James Bond themes Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever and Moonraker she accessorised her amazing look with a stunning silver necklace with an emerald pendant and emerald earrings. A silver bag completed the stylish image.
Monaco Red Cross Relieves An Enormous Amount of Distress
Did you know that the Red Cross Ball with its packed attendance at 1.200 euros a seat reportedly contributes upwards of 15% of the donations made by the Monaco Red Cross and sometimes as much as 25%? And that funds an enormous effort in relieving distress both locally and internationally. In fact, local efforts by the Monaco Red Cross extend across its borders into the surrounding local communities – never ending vital help is constantly provided in desperate situations. And the Red Cross is often involved in providing emergency crisis relief before other local agencies can rise to the challenge.
Just as its caring hand is extended locally so are distant communities benefiting. Burkino Faso is gearing up fast with its new Monaco Red Cross funded centre training first aiders. This has the potential to help the whole of West Africa. It is the Monaco Red Cross’ largest international project.
The Monaco Royal Table
Back to the Ball where this year, as always, the “tombola” raffle provided exciting moments and was entrusted to the able, two pairs of hands of Karin Viard and Michel Drucker. Three of the most fortunate of the seven winners went away with a beautiful rose gold diamond ring, an electric Smart car and a luxury cruise in South America. Karin and Michel when they were not hosting and entertaining the guests had the fortune to be seated at the Head Table.
It is a perfect spot as traditionally, the most coveted places are around the ruler and Princess Charlene. The Royal couple also had as convives on their table the basketball player Tony Parker and his wife, the singer John Legend; Pierre De Gaulle, grandson of the general and his wife; Francis Lui, CEO of Galaxy Entertainment Group and his wife; Pascal Grizot, creator of the golf Ryder Cup and his wife; Jean-Léonard Taubert de Massy and Elena Goglio; and last but not least Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of the Monegasque Red Cross.
Suave Johnny Legend
The Red Cross Gala is known for attracting the biggest names in the music industry, and this year’s event did just that attracting shining star in the galaxy EGOT winning Johnny Legend. (EGOT = Emmy +Grammy + Oscar + Tony! ). Critically acclaimed, multi-platinum singer songwriter, Johnny Legend has garnered 10 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award among others. Johnny, 40, looked suave in a white shirt underneath a cream blazer with chic bow tie as he sang to Monaco’s elite.
The Royal Couple Dance
But the finest image of all was of a couple dancing – all those heads that had turned when Prince Albert and Princess Charlene had entered the Salle des Etoiles turned again for the highlight of the evening when the Royal couple took to the dance floor.
The traditional fireworks light up the Monaco sky at the end of this wonderful ball that still exhilarates the dreams of so many.