Name: Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre GRIMALDI
Given Name: Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre
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 Winnipesaukee, Moultonborough, New Hampshire in the 1970s. He spent a year training in various princely duties, and enrolled at Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1977 as Albert Grimaldi, studying political science, economics, music, and English literature, and also joined Chi Psi fraternity.
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Birth: 14 MAR 1958 in Monaco
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 Bristol, 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 Committee 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, Florida for a World Olympians Association fund-raiser at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. 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 Monaco 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 second-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 led by the archbishop of Monaco, Monsignor 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-Carlo.
Albert 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 Spitsbergen in July 2005. During this trip he visited the glaciers "Lillihöök" and "Monaco". Prince Albert II also engaged in an Arctic expedition, reaching the North Pole on Easter, 16 April 2006. As a result, he is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the North Pole.
The prince 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 Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock. They were seen again together at the Monaco Grand Prix. In August 2006, she attended the annual Red Cross Ball in the presence of the Princely Family again fuelling speculation about their relationship.
French magazine Point de Vue reported in its March 2008 edition that Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock will marry in the summer of 2008. "While the date is not yet fixed, two undisclosed sources confirmed that preparations are under way for a royal wedding at the end of the summer, possibly in late September 2008." Despite these rumors both Charlene Wittstock and the royal palace have denied that a wedding is being planned as reported in the March 14, 2008 edition of the Times. Despite the denial that the two are making plans to wed, both H.S.H. the Prince and Wittstock continue to attend functions together and apart with other members of the Princely family.
Children born out of wedlock
Jazmin Grace Grimaldi
In 1992, a California 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, California, 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 friend, Barbara Welker (per her deposition filed with the court), in Monaco 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 St. Margaret's Episcopal School. Per the school website, she is currently enrolled in a private school in the San Juan Capistrano, California area and resides in San Juan Capistrano, California.
In May 2005, Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo, 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.
As Rainier III's health declined, his son's lack of legitimate children became a matter of public and political concern, as 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 France, 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.
Albert's illegitimate son Eric, or daughter, Jazmin, might acquire claims to the throne ahead of all others currently in the order of succession if Monaco's constitution were changed to that effect. In Eric Alexandre's case, he would also be legitimized and automatically become Monaco's heir apparent under current law if Albert were to marry Eric's mother in a fully dynastic (i.e., non-morganatic) marriage. But in a 2005 exchange with U.S. 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 Ms 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". Ms 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. As of November 2007, his eldest 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.
In the last two years there have been rumours now and then that Prince Albert of Monaco is to marry Charlene Wittstock, his longtime girlfriend. Until now the prince and Miss Wittstock do appear together at several social and family functions, but an official engagement has not been made public.
See Also: (International) Year of the Dolphin
The year 2007 has been declared as (International) Year of the Dolphin - (http://www.yod2007.org) by the United Nations and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). The UN Convention on Migratory Species, together with its specialized agreements on dolphin conservation ACCOBAMS and ASCOBANS and the WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) have proposed 2007 as the Year of the Dolphin ('YOD')).
(International) Patron of the 'Year of the Dolphin' is H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. He has launched the start of the year on 17 September 2006: "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."
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.
Albert has held two positions:
His Serene Highness The Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux (1958-2005)
His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco (2005-)
As 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).
Albert's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.
Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations - which means that if Albert II were to choose an historically accurate house name it would be Polignac (or Chalencon), as all his male-line ancestors have been of that house.
Early descent from House of Polignac
Guillaume de Chalencon, d. 1229
Bertrand de Chalencon, d. 1272
Bertrand de Chalencon, 1240 - 1295
Guy de Chalencon, 1279 - 1324
Guiot de Chalencon
Guillaume III, Baron de Chalencon, d. 1411
Pierre Armand, Baron de Chalencon, d. 1447
Louis-Armand, Viscount of Polignac
Guillaume-Armand, Viscount of Polignac, d. 1473
Guillaume of Polignac
Francois-Armand of Polignac, 1514 - 1582
Louis-Armand of Polignac, 1556 - 1584
Gaspard Francois of Polignac, 1579 - 1659
Louis-Armand of Polignac, 1608 - 1692
Scipion Sidoine of Polignac, 1660 - 1739
Louis, Marquis of Polignac, 1716 - 1792
Jules, Duke of Polignac, 1745 - 1817
Camille Henri, Count de Polignac, 1781 - 1855
Count Charles de Polignac, 1824 - 1881
Count Maxence de Polignac, 1857 - 1936
Pierre de Polignac, 1895 - 1964
Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, 1923 - 2005
Albert II, Prince of Monaco, 1958 -
Prince of Monaco
Father: Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand GRIMALDI b: 31 MAY 1923 in Monaco
Mother: Grace Patricia KELLY b: 12 NOV 1929 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
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