The ill-health of Princess Charlene of Monaco in 2021-2022 was just the latest in a series of bad luck for the Princely Family of Monaco, and according to a legend, it is all because of a witch’s curse.
Legend has it that the Grimaldi family has been cursed for around 700 years, going back to 14th-century Europe. There are different versions of the story, but the most famous says that a witch cursed the family so that they would never have happy marriages.
The story goes that Prince Rainier I, the first Grimaldi ruler of Monaco, won the Battle of Zierikzee and was appointed the Admiral of France. To celebrate his victory, he kidnapped a Flemish woman. As revenge, she cursed him and his family, saying: “Never will a Grimaldi find happiness in marriage.”
Another story says a witch cursed the family after Prince Rainier I ordered her to be burned at the stake.
There has been no doubt that since Rainier I, those in the Grimaldi family have been unlucky in love. Prince Louis I married Catherine Charlotte de Gramont, who had many affairs in Paris, including one with King Louis XIV of France. She later left Prince Louis I to become Louis XIV’s mistress.
Princess Charlotte, the grandmother of reigning Prince Albert II, was in an arranged marriage to then Count Pierre de Polignac of Hennebont in France. They had two children together, Prince Rainier and Princess Antoinette, in their unhappy marriage that saw Charlotte have affairs as Pierre was homosexual. They separated in 1930 and divorced in 1933. Charlotte then went to live with an Italian lover.
In more recent memory, Prince Rainier III married American actress Grace Kelly. They had three children together: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert and Princess Stéphanie. All was well until the Princess had a stroke while driving on 13 September 1982 with Princess Stéphanie. Princess Grace lost control of her car and drove off a mountainside. She suffered a fractured femur and injuries to her thorax and brain. Princess Stéphanie had a hairline fracture in her neck and a concussion. Princess Grace died on 14 September 1982 at the age of 52.
The children of Grace and Rainier haven’t fared well in love either. Princess Caroline married Philippe Junot in 1978; they divorced in 1980. She married for a second time to Stefano Casiraghi in 1983. They had three children together: Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte. Tragedy struck in 1990 as Stefano was killed in a speed-boating accident at only 30-years-old. Princess Caroline married for a third time to Prince Ernst August of Hanover in 1999. They have one daughter, Princess Alexandra. The couple reportedly separated in 2009 but have not divorced.
Princess Stéphanie dated several celebrities and had two children, Louis and Pauline, with her bodyguard, Daniel Ducret. The pair married in 1995 but divorced in 1996. She had a third child, Camille Gottlieb, in 1998 with the head of her security, Jean Raymond Gottlieb. The couple never married. Stéphanie married for the second time in 2001. At that time, she married circus trainer Franco Knie and took her children into his circus caravan. They divorced in 2002. Her third marriage was to Portuguese acrobat Adans Lopez Peres, but again it ended in a 2004 divorce after just over a year of marriage.
Reigning Prince Albert has not been without issues in love. He dated an American named Tamara Rotolo and had a daughter, Jazmin Grace, with her in 1992. He did not recognise Jazmin as his daughter until 2006 after a paternity suit and a DNA test proved he was the father. He also dated an Air France flight attendant, Nicole Coste, with whom he had a son, Alexandre, in 2003. He admitted he was the father of Alexandre in 2005.
Albert was hit with another paternity suit in 2020 by a Brazilian woman claiming he fathered her daughter, born in 2005. Prince Albert has claimed he is not the father.
Albert revealed his relationship with South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2006. They married in 2011 and have twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, born in 2014. There have been constant rumours of an unhappy relationship between the couple since the day of the wedding when it was reported Charlene tried to run away and took refuge in her embassy. The Princely Palace and couple have denied issues in their marriage on several occasions.