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Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco (Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi; born 14 March 1958) is the head of the House of Grimaldi and the current ruler of the Principality of Monacomarker. He is the son of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco and his princess consort, Grace Kelly. His sisters are The Princess of Hanover and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco.

Early life

Born in the Prince's Palace of Monacomarker, Monacomarker, Albert attended the Albert I High School, graduating with distinction in 1976. Albert was a camper and later a counselor for six summers at Camp Tecumseh on Lake Winnipesaukeemarker, Moultonboroughmarker, New Hampshiremarker in the 1970s. He spent a year training in various princely duties, and enrolled at Amherst Collegemarker in Massachusettsmarker in 1977 as Albert Grimaldi, studying political science, economics, music, and English literature, and also joined Chi Psi fraternity.

He spent the summer of 1979 touring Europe and the Middle East with the Amherst Glee Club and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Albert also undertook an exchange program with the University of Bristolmarker, at the elite Alfred Marshall School of Economics and Management in 1979. Albert was an enthusiastic sportsman, participating in cross country, javelin throwing, handball, judo, swimming, tennis, rowing, sailing, skiing, squash and fencing. He is a patron of Monaco's football teams. He competed in the bobsled at the 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, and 2002 Winter Olympics. He has been a member of the International Olympic Committeemarker since 1985. (His maternal grandfather John B. Kelly, Sr., and maternal uncle John B. Kelly, Jr., were both Olympic medal winners in rowing and were actively involved in the Olympic movement.) The press reported the prince refused any special treatment during his Olympic stints, and lived in the same bare-bones quarters as all the other athletes .

On 25 October 2002, Albert visited Miami, Floridamarker for a World Olympians Association fund-raiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gablesmarker. The group's mission was to have the 100,000 Olympians get involved with their communities and talk to young athletes about dedication and training.


On 7 March 2005, Albert's father Rainier III, Prince of Monaco was admitted to a hospital in the principality; he was later moved to an intensive care ward. The Prince was being treated for breathing, kidney, and heart trouble. On 31 March 2005, the Palace of Monacomarker announced that Hereditary Prince Albert would take over the duties of his father as Regent since Rainier was no longer able to exercise his sovereign functions. This decision was reached by the Crown Council of Monaco, a body made up of notable local figures with residual powers to make judgments about certain constitutional matters. The 47-year-old prince spent his first day as regent of Monaco caring for his critically ill 81-year-old father, who was Europe’s longest-serving living monarch and the world's third-longest.

However, Albert's regency lasted barely a week.


On 6 April 2005, Prince Rainier III died and Hereditary Prince Albert became Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

The first part of Prince Albert II's enthronement as ruler of the Principality was on 12 July 2005, after the end of the three-month mourning period for his father. A morning Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral presided over by the Archbishop of Monaco, the Most Reverend Bernard Barsi, formally marked the beginning of his reign. Afterward Albert II returned to the princely palace to host a garden party for 7,000 Monegasques born in the principality. In the courtyard, the Prince was presented with two keys of the city as a symbol of his investiture. The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display on the waterfront.

The second part of his investiture was on 19 November 2005. Albert was enthroned at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. His family was there in attendance, including his elder sister (and now his heir) Princess Caroline with her husband Ernst, Prince of Hanover and three of her four children, Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte; as well as his younger sister Princess Stéphanie, his paternal aunt Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy, his godson, Baron Jean-Léonard Taubert-Natta de Massy, and his cousin Elisabeth-Anne de Massy. Royalty from 16 delegations were present for the festivities throughout the country. The evening ended with an opera performance in Monte-Carlomarker.

Albert's reign

continues the policy, initiated by previous rulers of the statelet, of using his position to draw the world's attention to the need to protect the (marine) environment. Just like his great-great-grandfather Albert I he traveled to Spitsbergenmarker in July 2005. During this trip, he visited the glaciers "Lillihöök" and "Monaco".Prince Albert II also engaged in a Russianmarker Arctic expedition, reaching the North Polemarker on Easter, 16 April 2006. As a result, he is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the North Pole.

Prince Albert is the Vice-Chairman of the American charity founded in 1982, after his mother's death, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, which supports, as Princess Grace did in her lifetime, emerging artists in theater, dance and film. Princess Grace Foundation-USA website

In 2006, HSH Prince Albert created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation which continues the Principality of Monaco's commitment by supporting sustainable and ethical projects around the world which focus on three main challenges: climate change and developing renewable energies; combating the loss of biodiversity; and water management (improving universal access to clean water) and fighting desertification. Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation website

HSH is also a Global Advisor to Orphans International.


Over the years, there has been much discussion of the prince's continual bachelor status. Although he has received much press attention for dating well-known fashion models and actresses, including Angie Everhart, Catherine Oxenberg, Brooke Shields, Claudia Schiffer, and Victoria Zdrok, his apparent disinclination to marry gave rise to rumors that he is homosexual. Prince Albert has consistently denied this suggestion, most notably in a 1994 interview published in the French magazine Madame Figaro. "At first it was amusing," he said, "but it becomes very irritating in the long term to hear people say that I am homosexual." He has since confirmed that he is the father of two children.

In October 2005, German magazine Bunte reported that Prince Albert was dating Telma Ortiz Rocasolano, a sister-in-law of Spain's Crown Prince Felipe. However, in November, 2005 the Prince instructed his lawyer, Thierry Lacoste to commence legal proceedings against French newspaper France Dimanche for violation of privacy and false information regarding the story.

On 10 February 2006, at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics, Prince Albert was accompanied by former South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock. They were seen again together at the Monaco Grand Prix. As of 2009, H.S.H. the Prince and Wittstock continue to attend the "Bal de la Rose" and the Princess Grace Awards Gala.

Children born out of wedlock

Jazmin Grace Grimaldi

In 1992, a Californiamarker woman, Tamara Rotolo, filed a paternity suit against the prince, claiming that he was the father of her daughter, whom she named Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. Prince Albert was also listed as the father on the child's Riverside County, Californiamarker, birth certificate. and the child was legally surnamed Grimaldi. However, the case, which went to trial in 1993, eventually was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Graham Anderson Cribbs, who claimed that there was "insufficient contact between Albert and the state of California to justify hearing a suit there" agreeing with an assertion by the prince's lawyer, Stanley Arkin, that the California court had no jurisdiction.

In court documents and legal depositions, Case#IND78459 in Riverside County Superior Court Family Law Division under Superior Court Judge Graham Anderson Cribbs, Prince Albert admitted that he had been with Tamara Rotolo, who was traveling with a friend, Barbara Welker (per her deposition filed with the court), in Monacomarker on "a couple of occasions" in July 1991. (The child had been born approximately nine months later, on 4 March 1992.) As reported by a local newspaper covering the case, "Arkin asserted that the Riverside County court had no jurisdiction in the case since the romantic encounter supposedly occurred in Monaco and Albert has had no contacts with California that relate to the issues in the suit."

On 31 May 2006, after DNA test results confirmed the child's parentage, Prince Albert admitted, in a statement from his lawyer, that he is Jazmin's father. He also extended an invitation for the girl to study and live in Monaco.

According to Le Figaro, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi is "mature, sweet and intelligent" and an honor student at Junipero Serra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, Californiamarker.

Alexandre Coste

In May 2005, Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togomarker, claimed that her youngest son, whom she calls Alexandre Éric Stéphane Coste, is Prince Albert's son, proven by DNA tests conducted by Swiss technicians working on orders from the Monegasque government. She further claimed the prince had signed a notarized certificate confirming paternity but that she had not received a copy of it. The French weekly Paris Match published a ten-page interview with Coste and included photographs of the prince holding and feeding the child. Coste also told Paris Match that she was living in the prince's Paris apartment and receiving an allowance from him while pretending to be the girlfriend of one of his friends in order to maintain privacy. She also said that the prince had last seen the boy in February 2005. A spokesman for Prince Albert had no comment, though upon news of Coste's claims, the prince's lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, announced that "A judicial strategy will be determined within the next few days."

In mid-May 2005, Lacoste announced that as a result of the international publicity over the revelations of the prince's son, Prince Albert is suing the Daily Mail, Bunte, and Paris Match for delving too deeply into his private life.

On 6 July 2005, a few days before he was enthroned on 12 July, Albert II officially confirmed via his lawyer Thierry Lacoste that the 22-month-old was his biological son.

Additional paternity suit

An earlier paternity suit, brought by Bea Fiedler, a German topless model whom the Daily Telegraph described as a "sex-film star", reportedly was dismissed. A blood test, which was refused by the judge, did not prove that the prince was the father of Fiedler's son, Daniel.

Succession issues

As Rainier III's health declined, his son's lack of legitimate children became a matter of public and political concern due to the legal and international consequences if Albert were to die without lawful heirs. Prior to 2002, Monaco's constitution specified that only the last reigning prince's "direct and legitimate" male descendants could inherit the crown.

On 2 April 2002 Monaco promulgated Princely Law 1.249 which provides that if a reigning prince dies without surviving legitimate issue, the throne passes to his siblings and their descendants of both sexes, according to the principle of male-preference primogeniture. In October 2005, (after Albert's accession to the throne) this law took full effect when ratified by Francemarker, pursuant to the 2002 Franco-Monégasque Treaty regulating relations between the Sovereign Principality and its powerful neighbour. His sisters and their legitimate children thereby acquired the right to succeed to the throne.

Under the current constitution, neither Jazmin nor Alexandre has a claim to the throne of Monaco because they are not legitimate. Alexandre would become Monaco's heir apparent under current law if Albert were to marry his mother in a legal marriage. But in a 2005 exchange with U.S.marker interviewer Larry King, Albert stated that this will not happen.

Albert's marrying Jazmin's mother would probably not legitimatize her nor grant her a place in the line of succession, as she would likely be considered an adulterous child. The man to whom Jazmin's mother had been married since 1987, David Schumacher, filed for a divorce from Rotolo on 13 September 1991 in California, according to a San Diego Union-Tribune article by Jeff Wilson of the Associated Press, citing as grounds "irreconcilable differences". Rotolo did not contest the petition, the couple having been separated since April 1989.

Albert specified that neither of these children is eligible for the throne in statements confirming his paternity. His older sister, Princess Caroline, remains first in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne. Though she is only the heiress-presumptive and not heiress-apparent, Caroline is the Hereditary Princess of Monaco, according to the Grimaldi house law.

Until Albert II should have legitimate descendants born of a recognized dynastic marriage, Caroline's eldest son, Andrea Casiraghi, is second in succession to the throne.

Environmental issues

Year of the Dolphin

The year 2007 was declared as Year of the Dolphin by the United Nations and United Nations Environment Programme. Prince Albert served as the International Patron of the 'Year of the Dolphin', saying "The Year of the Dolphin gives me the opportunity to renew my firm commitment towards protecting marine biodiversity. With this strong initiative we can make a difference to save these fascinating marine mammals from the brink of extinction."

Jardin Animalier

Monaco's Jardin Animalier, or zoo, was founded by Prince Rainier. Prince Albert has begun to return the animals to the wild, and intends to convert the Jardin to a zoo for children. This project, undertaken in conjunction with the Born Free Foundation, started after the Prince met the Foundation's founder Virginia McKenna for lunch.

Expedition to Antarctica

In January 2009, Prince Albert left for a month-long expedition to Antarcticamarker, where he visited 26 scientific outposts and met with climate-change experts in an attempt to learn more about the impact of global warming on the continent.

CITES and bluefin tuna

In June 2009, Prince Albert co-authored an open letter to the Wall Street Journal with Charles Clover, the author of The End of the Line, a book about overfishing and ocean conservation issues that had recently been made into a documentary by Rupert Murray. In the letter, Prince Albert acknowledges that bluefin tuna has been severely overfished in the Mediterranean, and decries the common European Union practice of awarding inflated quotas to bluefin fleets. He announced that Monaco would seek to award endangered species status to the Mediterranean bluefin Thunnus thynnus, (also called the Northern bluefin ) under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). If upheld by the voting CITES delegates, this proposal would effectively ban the international trade in Mediterranean bluefin. This was the first time a nation had called for the inclusion of Mediterranean bluefin under CITES since Sweden at the 1992 CITES Conference, which was vehemently opposed by Japan who eventually threatened retaliation through trade barriers. Sweden withdrew its proposal.

On 16 July 2009, France declared that it too would seek to have Mediterranean bluefin listed as an endangered species. Only hours later, the United Kingdom followed suit.

Roger Revelle Prize

On 23 October 2009, Prince Albert was awarded the Roger Revelle Prize for his efforts to protect the environment and to promote scientific research. This award was given to Prince Albert by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Californiamarker. Prince Albert is the second recipient of this prize.

Other roles


Albert has held two positions: As the prince, his official shortened title is His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco; this does not include the many other styles claimed by the Grimaldi family (see Sovereign Prince of Monaco for a complete list of titles).


Patrilineal descent

Albert's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.

Patrilineal descent is the predominant principle behind membership in royal houses - which means that genetically Albert II belongs to the house of Chalenconmarker.

Early descent from

House of Chalencon
  1. Bertrand de Chalencon, mentioned 1179
  2. Guillaume de Chalencon, d. 1229
  3. Bertrand de Chalencon, d. 1272
  4. Bertrand de Chalencon, 1240 - 1295
  5. Guy de Chalencon, 1279 - 1324
  6. Guiot de Chalencon
  7. Guillaume III, Baron de Chalencon, d. 1411
  8. Pierre Armand, Baron de Chalencon, d. 1447
  9. Louis-Armand, Viscount of Polignac
  10. Guillaume-Armand, Viscount of Polignac, d. 1473
  11. Guillaume of Polignac
  12. Francois-Armand of Polignac, 1514 - 1582
  13. Louis-Armand of Polignac, 1556 - 1584
  14. Gaspard Francois of Polignac, 1579 - 1659
  15. Louis-Armand of Polignac, 1608 - 1692
  16. Scipion Sidoine of Polignac, 1660 - 1739
  17. Louis, Marquis of Polignac, 1716 - 1792
  18. Jules, Duke of Polignac, 1745 - 1817
  19. Camille Henri, Count de Polignac, 1781 - 1855
  20. Count Charles de Polignac, 1824 - 1881
  21. Count Maxence de Polignac, 1857 - 1936
  22. Pierre de Polignac, 1895 - 1964
  23. Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, 1923 - 2005
  24. Albert II, Prince of Monaco, 1958 -

See also

As Monaco's head of state, Prince Albert is depicted on coins, including collectors' coins, with very rare exceptions. One of the most recent examples is the €5 silver Prince Albert II commemorative coin, the first commemorative coin with his effigy on it, minted in 2008. On the obverse, the prince is depicted in profile with his name on the top of the coin. On the reverse, the Grimaldi coat of arms appears; around it, the words "Principauté de Monaco" (Principality of Monaco) also appear along with the nominal monetary value of the coin.

External links


  1. Titles of Sovereign Prince of Monaco - Website of the late Prince Rainier III
  2. Biography of Prince Albert - Website of the Palace of Monaco
  3. Albert, à nouveau père
  4. "Madame Figaro", 1994; reported in Daily Mail, 13 August 1994, page 17
  5. according to the website of the Desert Sun, a newspaper in Palm Springs
  6. Evening Standard article, 24 March 1993, page 20
  7. Monaco prince admits love child, BBC News, July 6, 2005. Accessed September 18, 2009.
  8. "Bea in His Bonnet," "Daily Telegraph", 29 July 1987. Also "Sunday Mirror", 8 March 1998, pages 1+
  9. International Year of the Dolphin Website
  10. Gilchrist, Roderick. Leopards incredible journey to freedom, Daily Telegraph, January 26, 2008. Accessed September 18, 2009.
  11. Monaco's Prince Albert Heads to Antarctica Yahoo News, 5 January 2009
  12. Clover, Charles; Grimaldi, Albert. It's Not Too Late to Save the Tuna, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2009. Accessed September 18, 2009.
  14. France Supports International Trade Ban for Endangered Bluefin Tuna, NatGeo News Watch, July 16, 2009. Accessed September 18, 2009.
  15. Webster, Ben. Britain to support a ban on international trade in blue-fin tuna, The Times, July 17, 2009. Accessed September 18, 2009.
  16. San Diego gives Monaco's Prince Albert the royal treatment
  17. Scripps to Honor Prince Albert II of Monaco for his Environmental Efforts
  18. A Prize Fit for a Prince
  19. Albert to inherit lion's share
  20. Biography of Prince Albert - Website of the Palace of Monaco
  21. The PEDIGREE of Guillaume-Armand I (Vicomte) de POLIGNAC.

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