Royal Central is taking a look at the princess consorts of Monaco in a new series. This edition focuses on Antoinette de Mérode.
Born on 28 September 1828, Antoinette Ghislaine de Merode was born in Brussels, Belgium, to Count Werner de Merode and Countess Victoire de Spangen d’Uyternesse.
The day she turned 18, a “golden-haired” Antoinette married Prince Charles III of Monaco on 28 September 1846 in a double wedding in Brussels with her older sister, Louise, who married Carlo Emanuele dal Pozzo, 5th Prince della Cisterna.
As a result of their marriage and Antoinette’s wealthy family, a large dowry was given to the Grimaldi family. This significant sum allowed the Grimaldi family to purchase the Château de Marchais, a home that remains in the family to this day. It also helped create the Monte Carlo casino that would bring many tourists into the tiny principality, and in turn, this helped the country turn around its financial situation.
The Prince and Princess of Monaco received a warm welcome when they arrived in Monaco after their union; however, they did not stay in Monaco for long. They returned to Paris where Antoinette gave birth to their only child, Prince Albert on 13 November 1848.
Princess Antoinette was close to her mother-in-law, Princess Caroline, who helped show her the ropes of in France’s imperial high society. The family would spend most of their time in Paris, France, with the Princess becoming close friends with Empress Eugénie and a close member of her court.
The autumn of 1862 saw Her Serene Highness diagnosed with cancer. The disease was terminal, and she was moved to Marchais with the hope that the country air would help her. However, the Princess was not happy there and wanted to return to Monaco to be with her husband and his mother. So, she returned to Monaco by coach with a doctor and two maids.
The Princess of Monaco died at the age of 35 on 10 February 1864 in Paris. She is interred in Monaco’s Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate. Her husband, who was said to be devastated by her death, would live for over two decades longer, dying in 1889. Their son, Prince Albert I, succeeded him on the throne.