Rainier III, Prince of Monaco

Rainier III, Prince of Monaco

Infobox Monegasque Royalty|monarch
name =Rainier III
full name =Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand
title =Prince of Monaco


imgw =200
reign =9 May 1949 - 6 April 2005
investiture =11 April, 1949
predecessor =Louis II
successor =Albert II
spouse =Grace Kelly
issue =Caroline, Princess of Hanover Albert II Princess Stéphanie of Monaco
princely house =House of Grimaldi
titles ="HSH" The Prince
"HSH" Prince Rainier of Valentinois
father =Prince Pierre, Duke of Valentinois
mother =Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois
date of birth =birth date|1923|5|31|df=y
place of birth =Monaco
date of death =death date and age|2005|4|6|1923|5|31|df=y
place of death =Monaco
place of burial=Saint Nicholas Cathedral|

Rainier III, Prince of Monaco (Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi; 31 May 1923 – 6 April 2005), styled His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco, ruled the Principality of Monaco for more than 50 years, making him one of the longest ruling monarchs of the 20th century. Though he was best known outside of Europe for having married American actress Grace Kelly, he was also responsible for reforms to Monaco's constitution and for expanding the principality's economy beyond its traditional gambling base. Gambling accounts for approximately three percent of the nation's annual revenue today; when Rainier ascended the throne in 1949, it accounted for more than 95 percent. Before his death, he was the world's second-longest reigning monarch with his 56 years of reign.

Ancestry

Rainier III was of French, Spanish, German, Scottish, English, Dutch, and Italian ancestry.

Through his great-grandmother Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton, who was briefly Princess of Monaco, he was a descendent of James IV of Scotland. His great-great-great-grandmother was Stéphanie de Beauharnais, the adopted daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte and later the Grand Duchess of Baden. Other ancestors include William Beckford, the scandalous 18th century English collector, tastemaker, writer, and eccentric. Rainier was also a descendent of Prince William "the Silent" of Orange-Nassau, the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Empire and ancestor to the current Dutch Royal Family; Hortense Mancini, the Duchess of Mazarin and mistress of King Charles II of England; Gabrielle de Polignac, a favorite of Queen Marie Antoinette of France; Joan of Kent, the first Princess of Wales; King Charles IX of Sweden; King Frederick II of Denmark and Norway; Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor; and Claude, Duke of Guise.

Early life

Rainier was born in Monaco, the only son of Prince Pierre of Monaco, Duke of Valentinois (né Count Pierre de Polignac) and his wife, Hereditary Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois. Born in Algeria, his mother was the only child of Prince Louis II and Marie Juliette Louvet; she was later legitimized through formal adoption and subsequently named heiress to the throne of Monaco. His father was a half-French, half-Spanish nobleman from Brittany who adopted his wife's surname, Grimaldi, upon marriage and was made a prince of Monaco by his father-in-law.

Rainier had one sibling, HSH Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy, an unpopular figure generally believed to be meddlesome enough regarding her children's place in the line of succession to have forced Princess Grace to demand that she leave the country.

Rainier was first sent to study at Summerfields School in St Leonards-on-Sea, England, [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article377941.ece Prince Rainier III of Monaco: The Times obituary] , "The Times", April 6, 2005. Accessed May 31, 2008.] and later at Stowe, a prestigious English public school in Buckinghamshire. From there, he went to the Institut Le Rosey in Rolle and Gstaad, Switzerland, before continuing to the University of Montpellier in France, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, and finally to the "Institut d'études politiques de Paris" in Paris.

Rainier's maternal grandfather, Prince Louis II, had been a general in the French army during World War I. During World War II, Rainier served as an artillery officer in the army. As a second lieutenant, he fought so courageously during the German counter-offensive in Alsace that he won the Croix de Guerre and Bronze Star and was given the rank of Chevalier in the Legion of Honor.

On 9 May 1949, Rainier became the Sovereign Prince of Monaco on the death of Prince Louis II, his mother having renounced her rights to the throne in his favor in 1944.

Early romance

In the 1940s and 1950s, the prince openly lived with the French film star Gisèle Pascal (née Gisèle Tallone, 1923–2007). The couple reportedly separated when a doctor declared the actress to be infertile; in fact, she later married and had a child.

Marriage and family

After a year-long courtship described as containing "a good deal of rational appraisal on both sides" ("The Times", 7 April 2005, page 59), on 19 April 1956, Prince Rainier married Oscar-winning American actress Grace Kelly (1929–1982). [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/19/newsid_2720000/2720723.stm 1956: Prince Rainier marries Grace Kelly] , "BBC: On This Day". Accessed May 31, 2008.] Their children are:

*Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite, born 23 January 1957 and now HRH The Princess of Hanover and heiress presumptive to the throne of Monaco
*Albert II, Prince of Monaco, born 14 March 1958
*Princess Stéphanie Marie Elisabeth, born 1 February 1965

Prince Rainier had nine grandchildren:

*Andrea, Charlotte and Pierre Casiraghi - children of Princess Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi;
*Princess Alexandra of Hanover - daughter of Princess Caroline and Ernst August V, Prince of Hanover
*Louis and Pauline Ducruet - children of Princess Stéphanie and Daniel Ducruet
*Jazmin Grace Grimaldi - the illegitimate daughter of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Tamara Rotolo
*Alexandre Coste - the illegitimate son of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Nicole Coste
* Camille Gottlieb - the illegitimate daughter of Princess Stéphanie.

He was a hands on grandparent which is unusal in a monarchy. He was often seen with Caroline and Stephanie's children.

After his wife's death in a car crash in 1982, he was romantically involved with his first cousin once removed, Princess Ira of Fürstenberg, a former movie actress turned jewellery designer who is also a Fiat heiress and the former sister-in-law of fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. Like him, she is a great-grandchild of Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton, the Scottish–German wife of Prince Albert I of Monaco, though by Lady Mary's second marriage.

Rainier III was also a football fan, having followed AS Monaco FC to the 2004 Champions League final. Monaco has for years hosted the European Super Cup.

Actions as Prince

After ascending the throne, Prince Rainier III worked assiduously to recoup Monaco's lustre, which had become tarnished through neglect (especially financial) and scandal (his mother, Princess Charlotte, took a noted jewel thief known as René the Walking Stick as her lover). According to numerous obituaries, the prince was faced upon his ascension with a treasury that was practically empty. The holder of 55 percent of the nation's reserves, the Societé Monégasque de Banques et de Métaux Précieux, was bankrupt. The small nation's traditional gambling clientele, largely European aristocrats, found themselves with reduced funds after World War II. Other gambling centers had opened to compete with Monaco, many of them successfully. To compensate for this loss of income, Prince Rainier decided to promote Monaco as a tax haven, commercial center, real-estate development opportunity, and international tourist attraction. The early years of his reign saw the overweening involvement of the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, who took control of the Société des Bains de Mer and envisioned Monaco as solely a gambling resort. Prince Rainier regained control of the Société in 1964, effectively ensuring that his vision of Monaco would be implemented.

As Prince of Monaco, Rainier III also was responsible for the principality's new constitution in 1962 which significantly reduced the power of the sovereign. (He suspended the previous Constitution in 1959, saying that it "has hindered the administrative and political life of the country.") The changes ended autocratic rule, placing power with the prince and a National Council of eighteen elected members.

At the time of his death, he was the world's second longest-serving head of state, ranking just below King Rama IX of Thailand. During the last two or three years of his life, Rainier was in the custom of asking his valet each morning, "Has Rama survived the night? Or did I just move up in the ranks?"

Illness and death

In the last three years of his life, Prince Rainier's health progressively declined. In early 2004 he was hospitalized for coronary problems. In October he was again in hospital with a lung infection. In November of that year, Prince Albert appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" and told Larry King that his father was fine, though he was suffering from bronchitis. [ [http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0411/18/lkl.01.html Interview With Prince Albert of Monaco] , "CNN", November 18, 2004. Accessed May 31, 2008.] On March 7, 2005, he was again hospitalized with a lung infection. Rainier was moved to the hospital's intensive care unit on 22 March. One day later, on 23 March, it was announced he was on a ventilator, suffering from renal and heart failure. On 26 March the palace reported that despite intensive ongoing efforts to improve the prince's health, he was continuing to deteriorate; however, the following day, he was reported to be conscious, his heart and kidney conditions having stabilized. His prognosis remained "very reserved". [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4385965.stm|title=Rainier's condition 'stabilises'|date=27 March 2005|publisher=BBC News|language=English|accessdate=2008-08-18]

On 31 March 2005, following consultation with the Crown Council of Monaco, the Palais Princier announced that Rainier's son, Hereditary Prince Albert, Marquis des Baux, would take over the duties of his father as Regent since Rainier was no longer able to exercise his royal functions. [ [http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7347372/ Son of ailing Prince Rainier takes over duties] , "MSNBC", March 31, 2005. Accessed May 31, 2008.]

On 1 April 2005, the Palace announced that Rainier's doctors believe his chances of recovery were "slim" [cite web|url=http://origin.www.cbc.ca/world/story/2005/04/01/rainier-050401.html|title=Rainier's recovery chances slim, doctors say|date=1 April 2005|publisher=CBC News|language=English|accessdate=2008-08-18] ; on 6 April it announced that Prince Rainier had died at 6:35 am local time at the age of 81. He was succeeded by his only son, who became Prince Albert II. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4415291.stm|title=Monaco's Prince Rainier, 81, dies|date=6 April 2005|publisher=BBC News|language=English|accessdate=2008-08-18]

He was buried on 15 April 2005, beside his wife, Princess Grace, at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the resting place of previous sovereign princes of Monaco and several of their wives [cite web|url=http://www.gouv.mc/devwww/wwwnew.nsf/1909$/b1c5425907fc1876c125706d0042ab74gb?OpenDocument&2Gb|title=Monaco Cathedral|date=28 July 2008|publisher=Service Informatique du Ministère d'Etat (Monaco Minister of State Information Service|language=English|accessdate=2008-08-18] , and the place where Prince Rainier and Princess Grace had been married in 1956.cite web|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/monaco/1487978/Monacos-farewell-to-its-sovereign-and-friend.html|title=Monaco's farewell to its sovereign and friend|last=Randall|first=Colin|date=16 April 2005|publisher=The Daily Telegraph|language=English|accessdate=2008-08-18]

Because his death occurred shortly after the death of Pope John Paul II, Rainier's passing was overshadowed in the media.

Titles

Rainier's official shortened title was His Serene Highness Rainier III, Sovereign Prince of Monaco; this does not include the many other hereditary titles acquired by the Grimaldi family (see Prince of Monaco for a complete list).

His other non-hereditary titles and awards included:
* Knight Grand-Cross of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta with Cross of Honorary Professed Member
* Colonel in the French Army
* Grand Master of the Order of Saint-Charles
* Grand Master of the Order of the Crown
* Grand Master of the Order of Grimaldi
* Knight Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour
* Member of the Pontifical Military Order of the Golden Spur
* Member of the Order of Seraphs
* Collar of Merit of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
* Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Savior (Greece)
* Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of George I (Greece)
* Grand Cordon of the Order of Léopold (Belgium)
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Golden Lion of Nassau
* Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of Saint-Martin
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Mohammed Ali
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Karageorgevitch
* Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of Saint-Jacques of the Sword
* Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Jose Matias Delgado (El Salvador)
*Lebanese Medal of Merit
* The French Cross of War ("Croix de Guerre")
*Cross of the Voluntary Combatant 1939-1945
* The Belgian Cross of War
* Gold Medal of the American Legion and the Golden Olympic Order
*Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile Gold Medal for Motor Sport
* Grand Collier of the Order of Manuel Amador Guerrero (Panama)

Philately

Rainier III created a postal museum in 1950 by using the collections of Albert I and Louis II. Since 1996 this museum has been called "Musée des timbres et monnaies".

Creator of the philatelic "Club de Monte-Carlo" in 1997, he organized with its members some exhibitions of rare and exceptional postage stamps and letters.

Throughout his reign, Rainier III surveyed all the process of creation of Monaco stamps. He liked stamps printed in intaglio and the art of engraver Czesław Słania.

Ancestry

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1= 1.Rainier III, Prince of Monaco
2= 2. Prince Pierre of Monaco, Count of Polignac
3= 3. Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois
4= 4. Count Maxence of Polignac
5= 5. Suzanne de la Torre y Mier
6= 6. Louis II, Prince of Monaco
7= 7. Marie Juliette Louvet
8= 8. Count Charles of Polignac
9= 9. Caroline Joséphine Le Normand de Morando
10= 10. Isidoro Fernando de la Torre y Gil
11= 11. Luisa de Mier y Celis
12= 12. Albert I, Prince of Monaco
13= 13. Mary Victoria Hamilton
14= 14. Jacques Henri Louvet
15= 15. Josephine Elmire Piedefer
16= 16. Camile Henri Melchior, Count of Polignac
17= 17. Marie Charlotte Le Vassor de la Touche
18= 18. Joseph Le Normand de Morando
19= 19. Anne Papin de Thevigné
20= 20. Francisco de la Torre
21= 21. Josefa Gil
22= 22. Gregorio de Mier
23= 23. Mariana de Celis
24= 24. Charles III, Prince of Monaco
25= 25. Antoinette de Mérode-Westerloo
26= 26. William Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton
27= 27. Princess Marie Amélie of Baden
28= 28. Jacques Antoine Louvet
29= 29. Marie Catherine Jouanne
30= 30. Pierre Piedefer
31= 31. Marie Anne Brunel

References

External links

* [http://195.78.19.77/wwwpalr.nsf/HomeFr2.htm Official website of the funerals]
* [http://www.palais.mc/wwwpal.nsf/c952eb3d974fc430c1256a1200532846/4a93d13ca1aae80ac1256ba400558819!OpenDocument Rainier's biography] , from the [http://www.palais.mc/ Palace's official website]
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article377941.ece Times obituary 6 April, 2005]
* [http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=36333 Cardinal Ratzinger sends condolences to Monaco on Prince Rainier's death]
* [http://www.panoramas.dk/fullscreen5/f15_monaco.html The Monte Carlo Royal Palace - 360 degree QTVR]
* : article of the French Wikipedia about Rainier III on stamps and as a philatelist.
* [http://www.prominentpeople.co.za/people/52.php Prominent People - Rainier III]

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Persondata
NAME = Rainier III, Prince of Monaco
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Prince of Monaco
DATE OF BIRTH = 31 May 1923
PLACE OF BIRTH = Monaco
DATE OF DEATH = 6 April 2005
PLACE OF DEATH = Monaco


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