Prince Albert II of Monaco marks the 15th anniversary of his accession as Sovereign Prince of Monaco this year. Prince Albert, son of Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly, succeeded his father on 6 April 2005, only five days after he had been called by the Crown Council of Monaco to take over as Regent due to his father’s failing health.
This week marks fifteen years since the first event in connection with the Prince’s accession. On 12 July 2005, a mourning Mass was held at Saint Nicholas Cathedral which was presided over by the then Archbishop of Monaco. This Mass marked the end of the official mourning period for Prince Ranier and was the first time that the Princely Family had appeared in public since Rainier III’s funeral.
The mass was the occasion on which Albert was proclaimed as the Principality’s ruler and formally ascended to the throne. His sisters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stéphanie, were present, as was Caroline’s husband, Prince Ernest August of Hanover. Later that day, public ceremonies took place at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, including the handover of the keys of the city by the Mayor of Monaco.
The enthronement ceremonies resumed in November 2005. There was a formal event at the Prince’s Palace to record the official transition between reigns, followed by further ceremonies the next day, 19 November, Monaco’s national day. Both the Mass held at Saint Nicholas Cathedral and the national day gala at the opera in Monte Carlo were attended by the extended Princely Family and foreign royals, including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Joachim of Denmark.
Single at the time of his accession to the Monegasque throne, Prince Albert II married Charlene Wittstock in 2011. The couple welcomed twins Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques in December 2014. Jacques is the heir despite being the younger child due to the rules governing succession in Monaco.
The Prince of Monaco has two older children, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, who bear no titles and have no succession rights in Monaco because their father wasn’t married to either of their mothers.