On March 14, 2023, Prince Albert will celebrate his 65th birthday. The busy bachelor has become a responsible ruler.
He was never as good as today. This may be due to the fact that Albert II, Prince of Monaco, is getting on a bit. On March 14 he will be 65 years old.
To the astonishment of his subjects, a busy bachelor has become a responsible and level-headed regent and father of a family who, unlike his father and predecessor Rainier III. (1923-2005) reigns over Monaco as the prince of fairy tales and whose personality shows different sides.
Prince Albert, the title holder
Although Albert is not counted among the European aristocracy, the number of his titles (28) is impressive: Albert II Grimaldi, by the grace of God Prince of Monaco – official address: Son Altesse Sérénissime le Prince Albert II (His Highness…) , unofficially “Monseigneur” – is also: Duc (Duke) of Valentinois, Marquis (Marquis) des Baux, Comtes (Count) de Carladès, Baron du Buis, Seigneur de Saint-Rémy, Sire de Matrignon, Comte de Torigni, Duc d’Estouteville, de Mazarin et de Mayenne, Prince (Prince) de Château-Porcien, Barion d’Altkirch, Marquis de Chilly, Comte de Longjumeau, Baron de Massy and Marquis de Guiscard.
Albert is also, among others: Grand Officer of the French Legion of Honour, Grand Officer of the Senegalese Order of the Lion, Knight of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Collar Knight of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and double honorary doctorate from the Universities of Sorbonne (Paris) and Bern (Switzerland).
The head of state
Albert is the head of a constitutional monarchy Monaco, with around 39,000 inhabitants and a total area of just over 208 hectares, is the second smallest country in the world. The reigning prince is the head of state and shares power with the National Council. The executive consists of a four-member government council headed by a state minister who the prince can choose. Although Monaco is a sovereign state, its foreign, economic and defense policies are closely aligned with neighboring France.
In addition, as head of government, Albert succeeded in initiating reforms, especially in social and economic policy: he promoted the construction of social housing, for example, and wants to change the image of his state as a tax haven. Step by step, he signaled cooperation in the fight against tax evasion and exchange of information in the prosecution of tax fraud, money laundering and corruption. The graduate political scientist, who speaks fluent German in addition to his mother tongues French and English (with an American accent), acquired a very special service by graduating from the renowned Amherst College (USA) in environmental policy. Albert is considered to be close to the people and prefers to celebrate with his Monegasques rather than with the international jet set. That’s why his subjects call him “prince with a heart”.
The family man
To the astonishment of many contemporary witnesses, the easy-going heir to the throne, who was out and about with the jet set, has become a level-headed family man. After his long-awaited marriage to South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock, 45, in 2011, twins Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques, both 8, were born three years later.
As early as 2006, Prince Albert recognized two extramarital paternities. In 2003 his son Alexandre Coste, 19, was born, whom he has with a flight attendant from Togo. His daughter Jazmin, 31, was born in 1992, whose mother is the US waitress Tamara Rotolo. Both illegitimate children are excluded from the line of succession, but there are family contacts.
Albert has been actively involved in environmental protection for over two decades. A year after his inauguration, he took part in a North Pole expedition – like his great-great-grandfather and role model Prince Albert I had done 100 years earlier. He was the first sitting head of state to set foot on the North Pole to draw attention to global warming. Three years later he launched the same mission to the South Pole.
He fights against overfishing of the seas and against the hunt for seals, sharks and whales. And he founded the “Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation”. With this foundation, which maintains liaison offices in Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Canada, Switzerland, Singapore and the USA, he finances projects against “worrying threats to the environment of our planet”.
In an interview with “ntv” he said: “Ironically, Monaco has the best air quality when Formula 1 takes place in the city. Because that’s when we only have around 20 cars on the streets driving at the same time. We promote on a large scale Style electromobility and the use of electric cars. That’s why we also host the world championship of e-mobility, Formula E, with us in Monaco. A single vehicle with the performance of a Formula 1 car can people inspire people to be enthusiastic about electromobility.”
Prince Albert is friends with England’s King Charles, 74, and admires his fight “for energy sustainability, against deforestation and for a range of environmental issues. These are issues that we have frequently exchanged”.
In his private life, he makes sure that he only eats meat every two to three weeks. He compensates for the miles he has flown on his private jet with donations to climate protection projects. It is important to him that a love of nature is awakened when raising his two children, Gabriella and Jacques. “I’m very happy that we have a large property in the mountains of Monaco where they have access to a vegetable garden where they can experience animals like they are on a farm… It’s a lifelong learning about what nature means to us and where we have our place in this nature.”
He’s probably even a billionaire, as the latest estimates of his fortune in 2021 were said to be over $900 million. His main source of income is likely to be the Grimaldi stake in the Societé des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Étrangers à Monaco (SBM). In addition to the casino in Monte Carlo, this billion-dollar company operates four luxury hotels, the Monaco Opera, discotheques, star restaurants, the Thermes Marins spa, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club and the famous Beach Club. In addition, the Grimaldis owns the northern French Château de Marchais plus lands and estates.
Albert also inherited from his mother’s side: the family of his American mother, Princess Patricia, formerly Grace Kelly (1929-1982), is one of the richest in Philadelphia. Grandfather John B Kelly Sr. had a large construction company. And Grace Kelly had earned over $60 million as a movie star and Oscar winner before marrying in Monaco in 1956 and retiring at 26. Her old childhood home in Philadelphia is also owned by Albert.
You don’t see it (anymore), but as heir to the throne, Albert was a real sports cannon. From 1988 to 2002 he represented Monaco as a bobsledder at five Winter Olympics. Best place: 25th place. He took part in international combined golf and sailing competitions and drove the dreaded Paris-Dakar Rally. He also has the black judo belt. Apparently he inherited his sporting talents from his maternal Kelly family: his grandfather John B. Kelly Sr. was a three-time Olympic champion in rowing, his uncle John B. Kelly jr. won the bronze medal in rowing. Albert’s wife Charlène was also an outstanding high-performance athlete: she competed in the South African swimming team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney (5th place in the 4 × 100 meter medley relay), and in 1999 she won three gold medals and one silver at the All Africa Games.