Louis II, Prince of Monaco

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Louis II
Prince Louis II of Monaco 05670r.jpg
Prince of Monaco
Reign26 June 1922 – 9 May 1949
Predecessor Albert I
Successor Rainier III
Born(1870-07-12)12 July 1870
Baden, Grand Duchy of Baden
Died9 May 1949(1949-05-09) (aged 78)
Prince's Palace, Monaco
Burial
Spouse Ghislaine Dommanget
Issue Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois
Full name
Louis Honoré Charles Antoine Grimaldi
House Grimaldi
Father Albert I, Prince of Monaco
Mother Mary Victoria Hamilton

Louis II (12 July 1870 – 9 May 1949) was Prince of Monaco from 1922 to 1949.

Contents

Early years

Born Louis Honoré Charles Antoine Grimaldi in Baden-Baden, Germany, he was the only child of Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848–1922), and Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton (11 December 1850 – 14 May 1922). His mother was a daughter of William Alexander Anthony Archibald Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton, and his wife, Princess Marie Amélie Elizabeth Caroline of Baden.

Baden-Baden Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Baden-Baden is a spa town in the state of Baden-Württemberg, south-western Germany, at the north-western border of the Black Forest mountain range on the small river Oos, ten kilometres east of the Rhine, the border with France, and forty kilometres north-east of Strasbourg, France.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Albert I, Prince of Monaco Prince of Monaco

Albert I was Prince of Monaco and Duke of Valentinois from 10 September 1889 until his death. He devoted much of his life to oceanography. Alongside his expeditions, Albert I made reforms on political, economic and social levels, bestowing a constitution on the Principality in 1911.

Within a year of his parents' marriage Louis was born, but his mother, a strong-willed 19-year-old, disliked Monaco and was unhappy with her husband. Shortly thereafter, she left the country permanently, and the princely couple's marriage was annulled in 1880. Louis was raised in Germany by his mother and stepfather, Count (later Prince) Tassilo Festetics von Tolna, along with his eldest half-sister, Maria-Mathilde (later grandmother of Princess Ira von Fürstenberg), and did not see his father until age 11 when he was obliged to return to Monaco to be trained for his future princely duties.

Louis' father, Prince Albert I, was a dominating personality who had made Monaco a center of cultural activity and whose intellectual achievements were recognized around the world. Unhappy to be living with his cold and distant father, Louis went to France as soon as he was old enough to enroll in Saint-Cyr, the French national military college. Four years later, after graduating, he asked to be posted with the French Foreign Legion, fighting wars in the African colonies.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

The École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr is the foremost French military academy – often referred to as Saint-Cyr – located in Coëtquidan in Guer, Morbihan, Brittany, along with the École militaire interarmes. Its motto is Ils s'instruisent pour vaincre, literally meaning "They study to vanquish" or, more freely put, "Training for victory". French cadet officers are called saint-cyriens or cyrards.

French Foreign Legion military service branch of the French Army

The French Foreign Legion is a military service branch of the French Army established in 1831. Legionnaires are highly trained infantry soldiers and the Legion is unique in that it was, and continues to be, open to foreign recruits willing to serve in the French Armed Forces. When it was founded, the French Foreign Legion was not unique; other foreign formations existed at the time in France.

While stationed in Algeria, he met Marie Juliette Louvet (1867–1930), a cabaret singer. [1] Juliette was already the mother of two children, Georges and Marguerite, by her former husband, French "girlie" photographer Achille Delmaet. Reportedly, Prince Louis fell deeply in love but, because of her ignominious station in life, his father would not permit the marriage. It has been asserted that Louis ignored his father and married Juliette in 1897: there is, however, no evidence for this allegation. Their illegitimate daughter, Charlotte Louise Juliette, was born on 30 September 1898 in Constantine, Algeria. There is no mention of Marie Juliette Louvet in the authorized biography of her grandson, Prince Rainier III, who is Monegasque by nationality but whose ancestors include people of French, Mexican, Italian, German, Scottish and English nationality.

Algeria country in North Africa

Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. The capital and most populous city is Algiers, located in the far north of the country on the Mediterranean coast. With an area of 2,381,741 square kilometres (919,595 sq mi), Algeria is the tenth-largest country in the world, the world's largest Arab country, and the largest in Africa. Algeria is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia, to the east by Libya, to the west by Morocco, to the southwest by the Western Saharan territory, Mauritania, and Mali, to the southeast by Niger, and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea. The country is a semi-presidential republic consisting of 48 provinces and 1,541 communes (counties). It has the highest human development index of all non-island African countries.

Marie Juliette Louvet was the lover of the then unmarried Prince Louis II of Monaco and was the mother of his only child, Princess Charlotte of Monaco.

Cabaret event venue

Cabaret is a form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, song, dance, recitation, or drama. It is mainly distinguished by the performance venue, which might be a pub, a restaurant or a nightclub with a stage for performances. The audience, often dining or drinking, does not typically dance but usually sits at tables. Performances are usually introduced by a master of ceremonies or MC. The entertainment, as done by an ensemble of actors and according to its European origins, is often oriented towards adult audiences and of a clearly underground nature. In the United States striptease, burlesque, drag shows, or a solo vocalist with a pianist, as well as the venues which offer this entertainment, are often advertised as cabarets.

For ten years, Louis served in the military with distinction, being awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor. In 1908 he returned home, leaving behind his mistress and daughter. At the outbreak of World War I, he re-enlisted in the French Army, proving to be one of the Fifth Army's most outstanding soldiers.[ citation needed ] He was made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and eventually became a Brigadier General.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

French Army Land warfare branch of Frances military

The French Army, officially the Ground Army to distinguish it from the French Air Force, Armée de l'Air or Air Army, is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of France, along with the other four components of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of Staff of the French Army (CEMAT) is General Jean-Pierre Bosser, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA). General Bosser is also responsible, in part, to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for organization, preparation, use of forces, as well as planning and programming, equipment and Army future acquisitions. For active service, Army units are placed under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA), who is responsible to the President of France for planning for, and use, of forces.

Solution to succession aspects in 1911–18

A political crisis loomed for the Prince because without any other heir, the throne of Monaco would pass to his first cousin Wilhelm, the Duke of Urach, a German nobleman who was a son of Prince Albert's aunt, Princess Florestine of Monaco. To ensure this did not happen, in 1911 a law was passed recognizing his illegitimate daughter, Charlotte, as Louis's acknowledged heir, and making her part of the princely family. This law was later held to be invalid under the 1882 statutes. Thus another law was passed in 1918 modifying the statutes to allow the adoption of an heir, with succession rights. Charlotte was formally adopted by Louis in 1919, and became Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi, Princess of Monaco, and Duchess of Valentinois.

Wilhelm, 2nd Duke of Urach, thus placed further back in the line of succession to the throne of Monaco, was chosen as King of Lithuania for a few months in 1918, being known as Mindaugas II. It is thus a moot point whether it would have been possible for him to be the sovereign of two European countries simultaneously, had he in fact succeeded to the throne of Monaco, but he had several sons. In any case he renounced his claim to the principality in 1924, passing it to other French cousins that were also descended from the Grimaldi family, the counts of Chabrillan.

On 17 July 1918, largely because of the von Urach potential claim, France and Monaco had also signed a brief but far-reaching treaty requiring prior French approval of all future Monégasque princes. Article 2. specified: "Measures concerning the international relations of the Principality shall always be the subject of prior consultations between the Government of the Principality and the French Government. The same shall apply to measures concerning directly or indirectly the exercise of a regency or succession to the throne, which shall, whether by marriage or adoption or otherwise, pass only to a person who is of French or Monégasque nationality and is approved by the French Government." Under article 3 Prince Albert agreed "...for himself and his successors the commitment assumed towards the French Government not to alienate the Principality, in whole or in part, in favour of any Power other than France." [2]

Reign

Portrait by Philip de Laszlo, 1928 Le prince Louis II (1870-1949).jpg
Portrait by Philip de László, 1928

On 26 June 1922, Prince Albert I died in Paris. Louis Grimaldi ascended to the throne as Louis II, Prince of Monaco. While his reign never achieved the grandeur of his father, Louis II left an indelible imprint on the tiny principality. In 1924 the Monaco Football Club was formed and in 1929, the first Grand Prix of Monaco automobile race was held, won by Charles Grover (aka "Williams") driving a Bugatti painted in what would become the famous British racing green color. He collected artefacts belonging to Napoleon I which are now assembled and displayed in the Napoleon Museum attached to the Royal Palace in Monte Carlo.

Particularly in the earlier years of Prince Louis' reign, he acquired the reputation for administrative probity: he obtained the departure of Camille Blanc who had long managed Monte Carlo Casino, about whom there were increasing questions as to his administration of the Casino's affairs.

In 1931, the prestige of Monaco's cultural life received a boost when René Blum was hired to form the "Ballet de l'Opéra à Monte-Carlo." Just before the outbreak of World War II in 1939, a modern large football stadium had been built where the Universiade were staged at the newly named "Stade Prince Louis II."

While Prince Louis' sympathies were strongly pro-French, he tried to keep Monaco neutral during World War II but supported the Vichy France government of his old army colleague, Marshal Pétain. Nonetheless, his tiny principality was tormented by domestic conflict partly as a result of Louis' indecisiveness and also because the majority of the population was of Italian descent and they supported the fascist regime of Italy's Benito Mussolini. In 1942, the Italian Army invaded and occupied Monaco. Shortly thereafter, following Mussolini's collapse in Italy, the German army occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population. Among them was René Blum, founder of the Opera, who died in Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp. Under Prince Louis' secret orders, the Monaco police, often at great risk to themselves, warned people in advance that the Gestapo was about to arrest them[ citation needed ].

However, throughout the War, Prince Louis' vacillation caused an enormous rift with his grandson Rainier, the heir to the throne, who strongly supported the Allies against the Nazis.

For a number of months in 1944, communists participated in the Liberation administration of Monaco and it is a moot point to debate how strong a position Louis II was in, in 1944, to resist any attempts to abolish the monarchy in Monaco[ citation needed ].

Following the liberation of Monaco by the Allied forces, the 75-year-old Prince Louis did little for his principality and it began to fall into severe neglect[ citation needed ]. By 1946, he was spending most of his time in Paris and on 24–27 July of that year, he married in Monaco for the first time. His wife was Ghislaine Dommanget (1900–91), a French film actress and former wife of actor André Brulé. Absent from Monaco during most of the final years of his reign, he and his wife lived at Marchais, the family estate near Paris[ citation needed ].

Death and succession, 1949

Prince Louis II died in 1949 in the Prince's Palace and is buried at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monte Carlo, Monaco. His widow, Ghislaine, Dowager Princess of Monaco, died on 30 April 1991 in Paris, where she was interred in the Passy Cemetery.

Hereditary Princess Charlotte ceded her succession rights to her son, Rainier, in 1944, at which time he became Hereditary Prince. When Louis died five years later, he was succeeded by his grandson, Prince Rainier III.

Titles and honours

Royal Monogram of Prince Louis II of Monaco Royal Monogram of Prince Louis II of Monaco, Variant.svg
Royal Monogram of Prince Louis II of Monaco
National honours
Foreign honours

Ancestry

Notes

  1. Confused versions of this story claim that either Marie Juliette Louvet or her mother was laundress or "washerwoman" to Louis' regiment: in fact, Marie Juliette Louvet's stepmother, not her mother, had been Louis' laundress in Constantine, Algeria.
  2. 1918 Franco-Monegasque Treaty text
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-22. Retrieved 2014-10-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. Category:Officers of the French Foreign Legion
Louis II, Prince of Monaco
Born: 12 July 1870 Died: 9 May 1949
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Albert I
Prince of Monaco
1922–1949
Succeeded by
Rainier III
Monegasque royalty
Preceded by
Albert
Hereditary Prince of Monaco
1889–1922
Succeeded by
Charlotte
Marquis of Baux
1889–1944
Succeeded by
Rainier
French nobility
Preceded by
Albert I of Monaco
Duke of Estouteville
Duke of Valentinois

1922–1949
Extinct

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