The Royal House of Grimaldi

Principality: Monaco
Royal House Name: Grimaldi
Current Head: HSH Prince Albert II (born: March 1958)
Reigned: Since April 5, 2005
Consort: Single (engaged to Charlene Wittstock)
Heir Presumptive: HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover

Monaco is a sovereign state in Southern France on the Mediterranean Coast near the French Riviera. It is one of the smallest independent states in the world with a land area of only 40 hectares, but it gains a status of being one of the most progressive independent states and one of the most visited places in the world. Its gross domestic product relies mainly on tourism and fashion.

The Monegasque throne was founded in the late part of 13th century through Lanfranco Grimaldi, a merchant-turned pirate who descended from the Genoan Guelphic family in Italy. During this time Monaco is not yet a principality as Grimaldi only used the title, Lord of Monaco. In 1309 he died without a direct successor so the throne was passed to his first cousin, Rainier I. Unlike Lanfranco Grimaldi, Rainier’s trading activities were legitimate so the French Monarch at that time appointed him Grand Admiral of France before he became the Lord of Monaco.
              
In 1612, the subsequent ruler, Honoré II, assumed the title of prince, thus, giving the Monaco a status of principality. Monaco was a Spanish protectorate but in 1641, the principality allied with France through the Treaty of Peronne.

During the French revolution, the royal family of Grimaldi was forced to flee the principality in 1793 and was allowed to return only in 1815 following the Treaty of Paris. Since then, Monaco assumed the status of being a self-governing state but due to its limited power and resources, the state relies on France for its armed forces.

The reigning sovereign of Monaco is His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II who ascended the Monegasque throne in April 5, 2005 on the death of his father, Prince Rainier. As with most principalities in Europe, the royal family of Monaco used a courtesy title of His or Her Serene Highness which is inferior to His or Her Royal Highness. 


Albert is still single and his status has been the subject of so much controversies and speculations, it’s still hard to believe that at 52, the dashing Prince is still unmarried, but in June 2010 the palace announced his official engagement to Charlene Wittstock, a South American Olympian whom he started dating in 2006. They will tie a knot on July 2011.

Unless he sired legitimate children, the Sovereign Prince’s heir is his older sister, Princess Caroline who assumed the title "The Hereditary Princess of Monaco" in 2005. Caroline is married to His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August of Hanover, a descendant of Queen Victoria of England and King Christian IX of Denmark. Through this marriage, the Princess acquired a title of His Royal Highness which is much grander than her previous HSH style.

ROYAL FAMILY OF MONACO

HSH Prince Albert II, the Sovereign Prince
HRH Princess Caroline of Hanover, Hereditary Princess
HRH Prince Ernst August
  Mr. Andrea Casiraghi
  Mr. Pierre Casiraghi
  Miss Charlotte Casiraghi  
  HRH Princess Alexandra
HRH Princess Stephanie

The three children of Princess Caroline from her second marriage could not be called royalty because their father, Stefano Casiraghi, was not royal, he was an Italian businessman. Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte are all commoners with no royal title. Only Princess Alexandra who is royal by birth because her father, Prince Ernst August, descended from the royal House of Hanover. 


Ernst August is the current head of the House of Hanover and a direct descendant of King George III of Great Britain. He was removed in the line of succession to the British throne because he married a Catholic, but his daughter and two sons from the previous marriage remained in the line of succession because they raised as protestants.

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