Prince Albert II has been the Sovereign Prince of Monaco since his accession in 2005. Unlike some of the other monarchs in Europe, Prince Albert could exercise greater powers over the day-to-day politics of the principality.
The Constitution of Monaco vests executive, legislative and judicial power in its Sovereign Prince, though it is shared with others.
In the Executive Branch of Monaco, Prince Albert has executive power, but the Prime Minister—either a French or Monegasque citizen—presides over a Council of Government consisting of six people who debate bills on behalf of Prince Albert.
The members of the Council of Government always include the Counsellor for Internal Affairs, the Counsellor for Finance and Economy, the Counsellor for Public Works, the Environment and Urban Planning, the Counsellor for Social Affairs and Health, and the Counsellor for Foreign Relations and Cooperation.
The Council of Government advises Prince Albert and is responsible for enforcing the laws that come out of its sessions; however, Prince Albert retains a veto power that he can use at any time to overrule the Council, as does a 24-person National Council, which is the principality’s Parliament.
Judicially, all justice in Monaco is carried out in the Sovereign Prince’s name, and Prince Albert is alone responsible for appointing the justices.
As with other monarchs, Prince Albert alone has the power to grant titles of nobility, orders and other honours on behalf of Monaco. Prince Albert and members of the Monegasque Princely Family receive funding from the government to subsidise their public duties.
The Constitution of Monaco was updated in 2002 to account for the line of succession. At the time, Prince Albert was a bachelor without legitimate children. Prince Rainier III, his father, made constitutional changes that would see the Grimaldis remain in power should Albert remain unmarried and without an heir.
Before the 2002 change, succession was limited to descendants of the reigning monarch, which meant that Princesses Caroline and Stéphanie and their children would have lost their places in the line of succession upon Prince Albert’s accession. With the changes, the succession is limited to the reigning monarch, his heirs, and his siblings and their descendants.
Prince Albert is also Commander in Chief of Monaco’s military service, which is called the Public Service within the principality. Unlike in other European countries, Prince Albert is not head of any religious branch in Monaco, though he is Roman Catholic like the majority of Monegasque citizens.