Black people live in Monte Carlo

Monaco: Grimaldi's conquest in monk's robe

Status: 11/17/2020 10:57 a.m.

The first Grimaldi entered Monaco disguised as a monk - more than 700 years ago. Magnificent balls and Formula 1 races through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo are now part of life in the miniature state.

by Matthias Stelte

Today the name Monaco is associated with the idea of ​​a glittering world in which the princely family Grimaldi, the European nobility, the international jet set and stars enjoy themselves. In fact, magnificent balls, Formula 1 races through the narrow streets of the city and elegant dinner parties on board the numerous luxury yachts moored in the Monte Carlo marina are part of the social life in Monaco.

Noble family with Italian roots

A shield and two monks adorn the Grimaldis coat of arms.

But in the more than 700-year rule of the Grimaldi family over Monaco, the world of glamor is only part of recent history. As luxurious as Monaco appears today, the first Grimaldis enter today's principality in simple monastic robes. The Grimaldi family, an old noble family from the Italian city of Genoa, are expelled from the city after power struggles. Francesco Grimaldi, known as "the clever one", then sets off with soldiers for Monaco. The fortress belongs to the same family that drove the Grimaldis out of Genoa. In 1297, Francesco Grimaldi arrived in Monaco with his soldiers. Disguised as Franciscan monks, they succeed in penetrating the fortress and conquering it. However, they can only hold Monaco for four years. The Grimaldis did not rule over the area permanently until 1341, and they also owned large estates in France. In the course of history, the principality has repeatedly come under the protectorate of foreign powers such as France, Spain or Sardinia.

Ascent to the principality

Monaco experienced its first heyday under the reign of Honoré II. In 1612 he assumed the title of prince. This first prince had the existing fortress expanded into a palace in its current form: the south wing was expanded and the courtyard was given its final appearance. In addition, Honoré lays the foundation stone for the Grimaldis' art and painting collection that still exists today.

Palace converted into a poor house

The most difficult times for the royal family are the years after the French Revolution in 1789. The Grimaldis lose their properties in France. The large neighboring country annexes Monaco and administers it as "Fort Hercules". The ruling prince, Honoré III, is arrested and taken to a Paris prison. He died there in 1795. Another victim of the revolution is the wife of his second son: at the age of 27, she dies in the guillotine. The remaining members of the family must live in France without their previous income from their lands. The princely palace is looted and converted into a barracks, then a hospital and finally the city poor house. Only with the restoration in 1814 did the family get their possessions back. The Grimaldis sign a treaty with Napoleon that secures Monaco independence.

Flowering in the 19th century

Source of wealth: the Principality's casino.

A few decades later, in the 1860s, the principality experienced under the rule of Charles III. the resurgence - that is also the beginning of glamorous Monaco. In 1863 Charles III founded the "Société des Bains de Mer". The company aims to attract wealthy foreigners to Monte Carlo with a casino and sophisticated hotels. Success began just a few years after the casino opened, so that in 1869 the direct taxation of the Monegasque was abolished. To this day, Monegasque do not have to pay any income tax, which is why the small principality is a popular residence for millionaires. The opera is inaugurated in 1879. The annual Formula 1 race in Monaco can also look back on a long tradition. The first competition of this kind, won by Briton William Williams, took place in 1929.

Gracia Patricia - Hollywood on the Riviera

In 1956 Prince Rainier III married. the actress Grace Kelly.

After the Second World War, Rainier III climbs. the Monegasque princely throne. He finally makes the small country a destination for the rich and famous of the world. His wife, American actress Grace Kelly, brings the glamor with her. The Prince and the Star marry in 1956, Grace Kelly becomes Princess Gracia Patricia. The couple have children Caroline, Albert and Stéphanie. But the royal family's happiness does not last. In 1982 the princess had a car accident: she succumbed to her serious injuries one day later. Stéphanie, who is also sitting in the car, survived the accident. Prince Rainier III. ruled Monaco for over 50 years.

Prince Albert II marries swimmer Charlene

He dies at the age of 81 on April 6, 2005. His son Albert now rules the small state on the Mediterranean coast as sovereign. In July 2011 he married his long-time friend Charlene Wittstock, a native South African and swimmer. In December 2014, the couple became parents for the first time: the twins Gabriella and Jaques see the light of day.

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Royalty | 07/02/2011 | 8:15 pm