The House of Grimaldi: HSH Prince Albert II
Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi; born 14 March 1958 in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco is the reigning Prince of Monaco and head of the princely house of Grimaldi. He is the son of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace, formerly Grace Kelly, the American actress. Prince Albert’s sisters are Caroline Princess of Hanover, and Princess Stéphanie. In July 2011, Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock, who became Princess Charlene of Monaco. On December 10th, 2014 the Royal couple gave birth to twins, heir apparent to the throne Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
On March 31, 2005 — Monaco’s Crown Council transferred the regency of the Principality to His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II, who became Sovereign Prince of Monaco.
Education and Military Career
Albert graduated with distinction from the Lycée Albert Premier, in 1976. He enrolled at Amherst College, in western Massachusetts, U.S. in 1977 as Albert Grimaldi, studying political science, economics, music, and English literature and also undertook an exchange program with the University of Bristol, at the Alfred Marshall School of Economics and Management in 1979. He graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
Currently formally Comander-in-Chief, Prince Albert trained onboard the French Navy’s helicopter carrier Jeanne d’Arc from 1981 to 1982, attaining the rank of Ship-of-the-Line Ensign (2nd class). He is currently a reserve Lieutenant Commander.
National honours include:
. Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Saint-Charles
. Grand Master of the Order of the Crown
. Grand Master and Grand Cross of the Order of Grimaldi
. Grand Master of the Order of Cultural Merit
Prince Albert is President of the Monaco Red Cross.
The 21st Century Prince
If you take a look around you, no matter where you look the Principality has been transformed in this first 15 years under Prince Albert’s reign and the pace continues.
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 celebrated 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 made 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 and counting have 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, in 2020 the event 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 Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health featured Sting as guest of honour at this fourth edition dedicated to the Ocean, Earth and Humanity. Accompanied by HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco chaired the Gala which took place this Thursday, September 24, 2020.
Sharing the Sovereign Prince’s commitment to the preservation of the Planet, Dame Helen Mirren, Kate Beckinsale and Andy Garcia were the Masters of Ceremonies. Singer Leona Lewis lit up the stage in the early evening, before Sting played and sang covers of some of the biggest hits of his career.
The gala auction raised funds for the Foundation’s actions in the field, in particular in fighting climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and access to water. The funds are particularly necessary in these difficult economic times.
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 completed the picture when on 10 December 2014, Jacques was born at Monaco’s Princess Grace Hospital Centre, two minutes after his sister Gabriella.
In subsequent celebrations forty-two cannon shots (twenty-one for each child) were fired from Fort Antoine and church bells rang for fifteen minutes, followed by boat horns. The twins were presented to the nation on 7 January 2015 in Monaco.
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.