In honour of Prince Albert’s 60th birthday, a new book titled ‘Albert II of Monaco, The Man and The Prince’ will be released on 14 March – the day of his birthday.
The book -written by journalists Isabelle Rivère and Peter Mikelbank- is made of interviews of Prince Albert, Princess Charlene, Princess Caroline, Princess Stéphanie and people who know the Prince well, like his childhood nanny Maureen Wood.
French magazine Point de Vue shared some very interesting extracts from the book in this week’s edition. These quotes are extracts from Princess Caroline’s, Princess Stéphanie’s and Maureen Wood’s interviews.
Princess Caroline said that she and Albert weren’t close to their parents when they were little, they were way closer with their nanny. She said: “Until we were 14, we wouldn’t eat with our parents. […] But for my brother and I, Maureen was the key figure in our life. […] When we were little, we were probably closer to our nanny than to our parents.”
She also shared an anecdote that shows this secure attachment to their nanny (who was nicknamed ‘Nana’ by the kids). As children, Princess Caroline and Prince Albert weren’t really bothered by their parent’s many trips during the year. However, they were always very sad when their nanny left for her only vacation of the year during the summer: “When she was leaving Rocagel, Albert and I would yell “Don’t go, don’t go!”. We were sad for days. Most often than not, our mother would end up calling her to ask her to come home earlier than planned.”
Princess Caroline says that during the planning of the wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, she had to play the mean girl role. Indeed, “There was a big “Monaco fever”, everyone wanted to have a say in the planning. With Charlène, it made us laugh a lot. […] But Albert and Charlène didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by saying no to them. So we used to have meetings where I would say ‘Okay, I will go find this person and tell them this will not work. This way, you’ll stay nice, and I will be the mean one.’ […]But we had a lot of fun planning the wedding!“
Princess Stephanie said that she’s her brother “city spy”, just like she was her father’s. Since she has never been involved in the state/princely affairs has much as Prince Albert and Princess Caroline, people talk to her comfortably in the streets because they don’t really see her as a Princess, so she always knows the multiple versions of the same story. She said that she recognises how people behave in the streets and then how they behave when they are received by Prince Albert at the Palace, and she doesn’t hesitate to tell Albert when she thinks someone is faking it. Prince Albert appreciates it.
She also said that she misses the closeness she has with her brother when he was not Monaco’s Sovereign: “After becoming the Sovereign, he stayed the same, although much more tired! […] We had so many good times together. Sometimes, I would like him to tell me: ‘I’m coming to lunch or dinner at your place today,’ like he used to do before. Sometimes he doesn’t even have the time to call me back so yes, I miss him.”
Prince Albert and Princess Caroline’s childhood nanny, Maureen Wood, also shared a funny anecdote. When Prince Rainier and Princess Grace went to King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie’s wedding in 1964, their children were disappointed that they weren’t invited too, so Maureen Wood found a way to cheer them up: “I decided that we would have our own gala dinner at the Palace. The Chef cooked a special menu, Caroline wore one of her mother’s gown, Albert wore a uniform, and I wore a gown too. Then we put on music, and we danced.”
Another funny anecdote in these extracts- this time shared by Princess Caroline – is about Prince Albert dressing up as a carabinier when he was three and staying on the Palace’s balcony to wave to the passers-by. At some point, Princess Grace told him to stop because it was time to get inside, he ignored her, she asked again, and he said: “Carabiniers don’t have mothers.”
In December 2014, Prince Albert and Princess Charlène had the huge joy of welcoming their twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella into the world. How their birth changed Prince Albert is one of the big focuses of this book.
Princess Caroline joked that she would be the cool aunt as a payback to Prince Albert because when her two eldest children Andrea and Pierre were little, Prince Albert was the cool uncle and he was always saying that she was too strict. Now that he is a father, he understands his sister better so Princess Caroline said she would give sweets to the twins at night as a gentle payback to her brother.
Princess Stéphanie had very kind words to share about her brother: “After the birth, he was really emotional, happy and it was like he was illuminated from the inside and for me, as his sister, it was really emotional to see him like that.”
Maureen Wood said she called Prince Albert a few days after the birth and he was pleased to hear from her! She told him he’d have to help Princess Charlène and change the diapers and he said he would.
Finally, another large focus of the book is obviously the tragic death of their mother Princess Grace in a car accident in 1982.
Princess Stéphanie said that it was slightly harder for her as she was physically injured for a few months, but that it brought the siblings even closer as they were helping their father cope: “The three of us stuck together because we needed to support our father, whose pain was immense. He is the one who suffered the most, who felt empty and lost. Helping cope was what was the most important to us at the time. And I believe it helped us deal with our own grief too.”
More extracts of the book should be available soon, but this book promises to be interesting and to offer the readers a better perspective of Prince Albert as a man and as a Prince.