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|Prince of Monaco|
|Reign||26 June 1922 – 9 May 1949|
|Born||12 July 1870|
Baden, Grand Duchy of Baden
|Died||9 May 1949 78) (aged|
Prince's Palace, Monaco
|Issue||Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois|
|Father||Albert I, Prince of Monaco|
|Mother||Mary Victoria Hamilton|
|Years of service||1895-1899 |
(end of active service)
Louis II (Louis Honoré Charles Antoine Grimaldi; 12 July 1870 – 9 May 1949) was Prince of Monaco from 26 June 1922 to 9 May 1949.
Born in Baden-Baden, (Germany), he was the only child of Albert I, Prince of Monaco (1848–1922), and Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton (1850–1922). His mother was a daughter of William Hamilton, 11th Duke of Hamilton, and his wife, Princess Marie Amelie of Baden.
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 was attached to the French Foreign Legion before serving with a regiment of Chasseurs d' Afrique (African Light Horse) in Algeria.
While stationed in Algeria, he met Marie Juliette Louvet (1867–1930), a cabaret singer.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.
Louis served in the French Army for four years from 1895 to 1899, reaching the rank of lieutenant. He was awarded the médaille coloniale (Colonial Medal) and the Cross of the Legion of Honor. At the conclusion of his military service he returned to Monaco, leaving behind his mistress and daughter. At the outbreak of World War I, he re-enlisted in the French Army as a volunteer, serving as a staff officer under General Franchet d’Espèrey. Louis was made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and eventually became a Brigadier General.
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 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."
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.
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 ].
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.
|Ancestors of Louis II, Prince of Monaco|
Louis II, Prince of MonacoBorn: 12 July 1870 Died: 9 May 1949
| Prince of Monaco |
| Hereditary Prince of Monaco |
| Marquis of Baux |
Albert I of Monaco
| Duke of Estouteville |
Duke of Valentinois
Rainier III was the Prince of Monaco from 9 May 1949 to his death in 2005. Rainier ruled the Principality of Monaco for almost 56 years, making him one of the longest ruling monarchs in European history. Though internationally known for his marriage to American actress Grace Kelly, he was also responsible for reforms to Monaco's constitution and for expanding the principality's economy from its traditional casino gambling base to its current tax haven role. Gambling accounts for only approximately three per cent of the nation's annual revenue today; when Rainier ascended the throne in 1949, it accounted for more than 95 per cent.
Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois, was the daughter of Louis II, Prince of Monaco, and the mother of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. From 1922 until 1944, she was the Hereditary Princess of Monaco, heir presumptive to the throne.
Albert I was Prince of Monaco from 10 September 1889 until his death. He devoted much of his life to oceanography, exploration and science. Alongside his expeditions, Albert I made reforms on political, economic and social levels, bestowing a constitution on the principality in 1911.
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.
Princess Antoinette of Monaco, Baroness of Massy, was a member of the princely family of Monaco and the elder sister of Prince Rainier III and aunt of Albert II, Prince of Monaco. Her parents were Count Pierre de Polignac and Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois.
Albert II is the reigning Prince of Monaco and head of the princely house of Grimaldi. He is the son of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace. Prince Albert's sisters are Caroline, Princess of Hanover, and Princess Stéphanie. In July 2011, Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock. They have two children, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques.
Caroline, Princess of Hanover, is the eldest child of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and the American actress Grace Kelly. She is the elder sister of Prince Albert II and Princess Stéphanie. Until the births of her niece and nephew, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, in December 2014, she had been heiress presumptive to the throne of Monaco since 2005, a position which she previously held from 1957 to 1958.
Prince Pierre of Monaco, Duke of Valentinois was the father of Rainier III of Monaco. He was a promoter of art, music, and literature in Monaco and served as the head of the country's delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and to the International Olympic Committee.
The succession to the throne of the Principality of Monaco is currently governed by Princely Law 1.249 of 2 April 2002.
The House of Grimaldi is associated with the history of the Republic of Genoa, and of the Principality of Monaco. The Grimaldi dynasty is a princely house originating in Genoa, founded by the Genoese leader of the Guelphs, Francesco Grimaldi, who in 1297 took the lordship of Monaco along with his soldiers dressed as Franciscans. In that principality his successors have reigned to the present day. During much of the Ancien Regime the family spent much of its time in the French court, where from 1642 they used their French title of Duke of Valentinois. The current head of the family is Albert II of Monaco, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, son and successor of Prince Rainier III and the princess consort Grace of Monaco, formerly Grace Kelly.
Prince Wilhelm of Urach, Count of Württemberg, 2nd Duke of Urach, was a German prince who was elected in June 1918 as King of Lithuania, with the regnal name of Mindaugas II. He never assumed the crown, however, as German authorities declared the election invalid; the invitation was withdrawn in November 1918. From 17 July 1869 until his death, he was the head of the morganatic Urach branch of the House of Württemberg.
Charles III was Prince of Monaco and Duke of Valentinois from 20 June 1856 to his death. He was the founder of the famous casino in Monte Carlo, as his title in Monegasque and Italian was Carlo III. He was born in Paris, the only son of Florestan, Prince of Monaco, and Maria Caroline Gibert de Lametz.
The Sovereign Prince or Princess of Monaco is the reigning monarch and head of state of the Principality of Monaco. All reigning princes and princesses have officially taken the name of the House of Grimaldi, although some have belonged to other families in the male line. The present reigning prince is Albert II.
Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste is the illegitimate son of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Nicole Coste. Since his parents have never married, Grimaldi-Coste is not in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne.
Baroness Elizabeth-Ann (Noghès) de Massy was the daughter of Princess Antoinette of Monaco and Alexandre-Athenase Noghès. She was a first cousin of the reigning Prince Albert II and niece of Prince Rainier III. She was the godmother of her first cousin Princess Stéphanie of Monaco.
The Monaco succession crisis of 1918 arose because France objected to the prospect of a German national inheriting the throne of the Principality of Monaco. Prince Albert I had only one legitimate child, the Hereditary Prince Louis, then heir apparent to the principality. As World War I drew to a close, Prince Louis, at the age of forty-eight, remained (legally) childless, unmarried, and unbetrothed.
The Prince's Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress, during its long and often dramatic history it has been bombarded and besieged by many foreign powers. Since the end of the 13th century, it has been the stronghold and home of the Grimaldi family who first captured it in 1297. The Grimaldi ruled the area first as feudal lords, and from the 17th century as sovereign princes, but their power was often derived from fragile agreements with their larger and stronger neighbours.
Baron Christian Louis de Massy is the son of Princess Antoinette of Monaco, Baroness de Massy, and her husband, international tennis champion Alexandre-Athenase Noghès. His grandfather, Antony Noghès, created the world-famous Monaco Grand Prix. He was one of the two page boys at the wedding of his uncle Rainier III with Grace Kelly.
Princess Florestine Gabrielle Antoinette of Monaco was the youngest child and only daughter of Florestan I, Prince of Monaco, and his wife, Maria Caroline Gibert de Lametz. Florestine was a member of the House of Grimaldi and a Princess of Monaco by birth and a member of the House of Württemberg and Duchess consort of Urach and Countess of Württemberg through her marriage to Wilhelm, 1st Duke of Urach.
Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux, is the heir apparent to the Monegasque throne. He is the son of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene and twin brother of Princess Gabriella. He also holds the title of Marquis de Baux; which all the heirs apparent to the crown of Monaco have held since 1643.