The city-state of the Côte d’Azur also hosts a sumptuous annual nautical show and it is estimated that 1 in 3 people is a millionaire. But where is he and who is running the oligarchs’ playground with only 40,000 people?
Monaco is it in France?
Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco, is not part of France.
It is its own sovereign city-state, with five districts and ten districts, located on the Côte d’Azur, surrounded by France.
They speak French as an official language but Monegasque, a dialect of Genoese, closer to Italian than French, as well as Italian are national languages.
Why is Monaco a principality?
A principality, also a “principality”, is a state ruled by a prince. The monarch and head of state of Monaco is currently Albert II who ascended in 2005.
And if you are wondering why it is ruled by a prince and not by a king, the answer as Albert II explained in 2002 on Week-end Larry King it is that, as small as it is, it would rather ally itself with other kingdoms, like France before becoming a republic.
He explained that in the 17th century, the King of France recognized it as an autonomous principality of the Kingdom of France.
The beginning of the principality would have started in 1297.
The powerful Genoese family, Maison Grimaldi, settled on the Côte d’Azur after being exiled from Genoa by other rival families.
Legend has it that they marked the beginning of their eighth century of reign by seizing the Palace of Monaco, disguised as monks.
They invited other noble families to join the new state and share equal sovereign powers.
But thanks to the political turmoil that followed, they secured their royal rule until 1419 and have remained independent from France and Italy ever since.
Who is the royal family of Monaco?
The Grimaldi are the oldest European royal family, allegedly founded in 1160 by Grimaldo Canella, the son of a Genoese consul.
During his lifetime, the family grew to be one of the richest and most powerful families in Genoa, resulting in his descendants honoring him as an eponymous ancestor.
But it was Francesco Grimaldi, his descendant a hundred years later, who brought the Grimaldis to Monaco.
Francesco Grimaldi had a childless marriage, with his successive cousins, and whose descendants remain the reigning monarchs today.
The current ruler is Albert II, or Albert Grimaldi, who is the only son of Rainier III and Grace Kelly.
Albert II has four children, two out of wedlock and therefore not in line for the succession to the throne.
Jazmin Grimaldi, now 29, is the daughter of an American waitress, Tamara Rotolo. She didn’t meet her father until she was 11, after the prince claimed he wanted to protect her identity.
The second is the result of an affair with Nicole Coste, a Franco-Togolese flight attendant, who gave birth to Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, now 17 years old.
The prince tried to sue a French magazine for publishing details about the child in love, but later admitted that the baby was his.
In 2000, he married Charlene Wittstock and had twins in 2014, hereditary prince of Monaco who succeeds the throne, Jacques and Princess Gabriella.