Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene enjoyed a night amongst the stars Friday as they attended the 71st annual Red Cross Gala at the Salle des Etoiles of the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club. The event is a major fundraiser for the Monaco Red Cross and attracts high society and celebrities from around the world.
The benefit dates back to 1948 when Prince Albert’s father, Prince Rainier III, chaired the first annual ball. His wife, Princess Grace, took over as president and successfully ran the gala for years, drawing in a crowd from her Hollywood days and bringing in millions in donations for the Red Cross. Prince Albert took over as president of the Red Cross Gala after her death in 1982.
“I remember we would see Mom and Dad get ready for it when we were kids,” Prince Albert told People magazine. “It was always something to see. I didn’t attend it until I was 16. But I haven’t missed too many years since then.”
For the gala’s 71st year, Princess Charlene made a statement in a bright green caped gown by Marchesa Notte with cutout details at the neckline. The always fashion-forward princess paired her gown with a pair of dangling pearl statement earrings by Repossi.
Some of the high-profile names seated with the royal couple were singer John Legend, who performed at the gala; basketball player Tony Parker; Pierre De Gaulle, grandson of Charles De Gaulle; Francis Lui, CEO of Galaxy Entertainment Group; Pascal Grizot, creator of golf’s Ryder Cup; and Elhadj As Sy, Secretary-General of the International Federation of the Monegasque Red Cross.
The stunning setting featured 25,000 flowers along with seascapes by the Japanese artist Hokusai decorating the walls. Since 1989, well-known artists have been invited to offer up their interpretation of the Red Cross symbol and the artwork is displayed at the gala each year. This year’s work was “Red Volcano” by Italian painter Marcello Lo Giudice.
Traditionally, the gala includes an auction and dinner, followed by a concert with a special celebrity musical guest. In addition to John Legend, this year’s performers included country music band MamaDear, the South African rock Prime Circle, and the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio.
The royal couple then took to the dance floor to officially open the party, and after guests enjoyed a night of dancing, fireworks lit up the night sky to end the gala.
The black-tie event is said to bring in 15 to 25% of the annual donations made to the Monaco Red Cross, according to Hello Monaco. This money assists the Red Cross in its disaster relief efforts both in Monaco and abroad.