Figure 1.--It is unclear what Prince Rainier is wearing here in a photograph taken about 1928. It looks like he may be wearing a smock, but the photograph is unclear. He is with his mother and sister Antonitte.

Monaco Royalty: Prince Rainier III (1949-2005)

Although Monaco is only a small principality along the French Rivierra, Prince Ranier is among the most recognizable modern royals. The Prince after World War II was one of the world's most eligible bachelor. He made handlines all over the world when in 1955 he married the beautiful American movie star Grace Kelly. The transition from movie star to princess was a difficult one, but she successfully made the transition. At the time of her tragic death she had become beloved by the people of Morocco. Prince Rainer, now over 70, is reportedly worried about who will succeed him as head of Europe's longest reigning ruling family.



I know very little about Prince Rainier's boyhood and would be interested in any details HBC visitors might have. Prince Ranier had an unsettled childhood. He was bounced back and forth among relatives. He was a puggy boy.

Childhood Clothes

HBRC has collected some informaion concerning the clothes Prince Rainier wore as a boy.


A young Prince Rainier of Monaco (aged about 18 months) wore a light blue smocked cotton jumper with a white collar and white socks and shoes.

Younger boy

One reader reports pictures of a young Prince Rainier aged about 18 months wearing a light blue smocked cotton jumper with a white collar and white socks and shoes.


As a child, Prince Rainier often wore grey, black and brown serge shorts with a corresponding jacket and white shirt. A HBRC reader reports that he occassionally wore an Eton collar, although we have not yet npted this. The Prince as a school age boy wore conventional short pants suits. The suits were stlish jackets with lapels, little different than the suits worn by other European boys. The Prince does not seemed to have been dressed in the fancy Fauntleroy outfits that other European royals were often outfitted in. See for examole the outfits worn by Belgian princes just a few years earlier. Prince Rainers short pants tended to be rather long and he wore kneesocks with patterened turn over tops.

Figure 2.--Prince Rainier is pictured here with Lord Baden Powell and his father Pierre de Polignac and his sister Antoinette about 1928. The eldely gentleman at the left is Prince Louis II, Prince Rainier's grandfather. Note the strap shoes he and his sister are wearing.

He does appear to have worn strap shoes at age 5 or 6. I'm not sure when he switched entirely to more mature lace up shoes. One 1928 photograph shows him and his sister wearing identical strap shoes, I think black, and white kneesocks. Even so he wears a rather mature looking grey suit--quite a contrast to what some other European royals were wearing at this age.

Older Boy

As an older boy he often wore grey, black and brown serge shorts with a corresponding jacket and white shirt with an Eton collar. His Eton suit was the traditional Eton suit with a stiff white collar worn by English schoolboys and not the collarless jackets made for little boys in America. This was the style, however, that his American wife to be would choose for his son, Albert. Prince Rainier for his First Communion, foe example, wore a suit with an Eton collar. I'm not sure what year this was oe whether he wore long or short pants for the ceremony. It was a dark suit and not a white suit like some boys wore.

Figure 3.--Prince Rainier is pictured here with his father Pierre de Polignac and his sister Antoinette about 1930. Note the long short pants and kneesocks with paterened turn over tops.


I do not at this time have detasils on the Prince's eduvation. I do know he developed a great interest in oceanography. He told friends later that he would have preferred to have been an oceanographer than a prince. I'm not sure how serious he was.

World War II

I am unsure at this time precisely what happened to Monaco during the World War II German occupation. Germany defeated France (June 1940). Monacco was in the unoccupied Vichy zone, but afer the Torch North african invasion, the Germans occupied the rest of France. Prince Raineer had joined the French Army as a volunteer during the War. H.S.H. Prince Rainier III was mentioned in Brigade Orders with the award of the War Cross and in 1947 he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor, military division.


Friends describe the Prince's wondeerful sence of humor.

The Prince Crowned

Prince Rainier III assended to the throne in 1949. During the course of his reign, one of the longest in the history of Monaco, the Prince intensified, expanded and diversified the enterprises committed to during the preceding three reigns: from the political, diplomatic, international, economic and social domains, to the educational, scientific, cultural, communications and sports domains. the Sovereign has devoted himself to the development of the various sectors of Monegasque activity (industry, tourism, scientific research, sport and culture) as well as to the reclamation from the sea of land to be added to the limited surface area of the Principality. Monaco has thus become a center for business, up-to-date industry and art, leaving far behind its traditional image as a holiday resort and gambling paradise and printer of postage stamps.

Figure 4.--Princess Grace always insured that the children were smartly dressed in classic styles, especially for formal photographs. Albert was about 3 or 4 in this photograph.


The most significant political reform due to the initiative taken by Prince Rainer III, consists of the promulgation of a new constitution, establishing modern principles without repudiating tradition. The Principality has become a member of numerous international organizations. Monaco was admitted to the United Nations on May 28, 1993. In the economic sector, Prince Rainier III has taken measures to protect and enrich the hospitality sector. The infrastructure for tourism is modern and the technical installations necessary to host international conferences and professional congresses are excellent. Adding to the touristic and business activities, Prince Rainier III further develops the economic tapestry by encouraging the growth of the industrial and service business sectors, which today account for a major portion of the national income. Meanwhile, major construction projects are underway : enhanced harbor installations, underground placement of the train station and railway tracks, construction of administrative offices, land retrieval from the sea, renovation and extension of the hospital, modernization of urban equipment, piercing of tunnels to facilitate traffic circulation, construction of parking houses, building of a nautical stadium, construction of a new stadium and installation of another Heliport. A new law for educational training has been designed for modern and diverse skills training at school. New schools are opening to increase capacity and improve conditions responding to the increasing need for scholastic establishments, as well as fulfilling the need for numerous and varied sports activities. In the scientific sector, the endeavors of Prince Albert I, are pursued at the Oceanographic museum, the Prehistoric Anthropology Museum, the Observatory Grotto, the Exotic Gardens, and at the CIESM. The creation of the Scientific Center, the radioactive marine laboratory, the underwater reserve and the establishment of the RAMOGE project (see text in annex) complete the program. Music and dance retain the privileged position they have always had in Monaco. Prince Rainer III created an award for musical composition and will open the Honorary Court of the Palace for Monaco's Philharmonic Orchestra's summer concerts. Princess Grace created the Art Festival, Princess Caroline created a new ballet troop. Prince Rainier III founded the literary prize awarded to French authors. In 1954 he inaugurated the Monte-Carlo television station and created the International Television Festival in 1961.

Foreign Policy

Prince Ranier was a great supporter of the United States. DeGualle as he realihned France refused to allow the U.S. Navy to enter French ports. Not Prine Ranier. American ships were welcome in Monaco and often called there.

Early Attachment

Prince Ranier lived for some time with a French movie star. It was said at the time that he left her because she could not have children. He denies this pointing out that she laster did hve children. He says they simply fell out of love.

Figure 5.--Albert in this photograph wears a smart Eton suit. This was at the time a popular American style for little boys in affluent families. He is still wearing white kneesocks with his suits.

Grace Kelly

Grace Patricia Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1929 into a staunchly Catholic Irish American family. Her parents were John and Margaret Kelly. John B. Kelly was a wealthy contractor. Grace was the third of four children. Grace from an early age wanted to be an acrtress. She grew to be one of the beautiful women in the world. She was the most popular movie stars at the time. She made seberal notable films with the leading men of her era. The films she made with motion picture director Alfred Hitchcock are perhap[s his best. He never found an actresses that projected the same image. She gave up her career to be a princess and mother. Even today, Grace Kelly is seem as setting an almost Grecian ideal for standards of beauty and grace.


Grace came to France to attend the Cannes Film Festivl. She was offered a tour of Monaco. There she was intoduced to the Prince. That was the beginning. The Prince 6 months later came to America to meet her family.


Prince Rainier III on April, 18, 1956, married Grace Kelly. It proved to be a strong and loving marriage. Prince Ranier adored Grace throughout their marriage. Many at the time wondered how Princess Grace could ever make the transition from glamerous movie star to princess in a postage-stamp principality. She proved everyone wrong and was a glorious success in her new role. When the now her Royal Higness, Princess Grace, arrived back from her honeymoon, she learned that she was pregnant. It was a difficult time for her; alone in a strange country and pregnant for the first time.

The Royal Family

Three children were born of this marriage H.S.H. Princess Caroline, born in Monaco on January 23, 1957, H.S.H. Prince Albert, Heir to the Throne, Marquis of Baux, born in Monaco on March 14, 1958, and H.S.H. Princess Stephanie, born in Monaco on February ??, 1965. Princess Grace through herself into her new role as Princess of Monaco. She made most of the decisions for the renovations of the palace, and she lovingly created the nursury for her children. Princess Caroline was born on January 23, 1957. Grace was delighted with her new baby. The Principality was delighted to hear they had a heir to secure the throne for the future. A year later, on March 14, 1958 Prince Albert was born. Seven years later, on February 1, 1965 the baby of the family, Princess Stephanie was born. Grace certainly loved her children. Perhaps she loved them too much, but that never got in the way when it came to disciplining them. In fact she was the diciplinarian in the family. Grace was fair. She tried hard to have her children grow up as normal as any child in the royal lime light could. Vacation time was usually spent back in Philadelphia and for several years Prince Albert attended summer camp with his American cousins.

Grace Kelly as Princess

To keep herself busy as Princess, Grace was President for The Red Cross , Monaco's masthead charity. With Grace's Hollywood connections, Monaco's Red Cross Ball brought in many movie stars and performers such as Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant. She involved herself in many other activities. In her first year as Princess she started a yearly Christmas party for the children of Monaco, no parents were allowed. It was a great success. She became the honerary president of AMADE. AMADE helped underdevelopped countries with medicine and education. She also had an active part in La Leche League. La Leche League was an organization that encouraged breast feeding. Near the end of her life Grace took up the art of dried flower arrangements. She even had her art dispalyed in a Paris gallery and sold some of her pieces as well (the money went to charity of course).

Princess Grace Takes a Renewed Interest in Films

Around 1978 Grace started reading poetry. She attended many poetry reading recitals. Also around the same year, Princess Grace worked closely with Robert Dornhelm on two films. The Children of Theater Street was a film where Grace narrated. The second film was Rearranged, where she played herself.

Princes Grace Killed

Tragedy struck the story-book principality in 1982. Typical of Princess Grace, she was driving because he didn't want to inconvenience her chofer. Princess Grace's Rover sped through a crash barrier to the bottom of the Corniche and was killed. There is no truth to the rumor that Stephanie was driving. Princess Grace had an embolism and briefly lost consciouness. The Prince never blamed Stephanie. She later remarked, "My father is the only man in my life that did no betray me." Prince Ranier never got over Grace's death. He later said "Half of me died". He never considered remarried. He is said to have said that Grace is everywhere and it wouldm't be fair to the children. Prince Rainer was left on his own to raise the three children. The girls in particular proved to be a real challenge.

The 1990s

Prince Rainier in 1997 led his family onto the famous pink balcony of the palace to mark the 700th anniversary of the Grimaldis' continuing rule. While their principality is small, no other family has ruled over such an extended period. Some tabloids suggest there was a hollow ring to the frastivities and pealing bells which launched the year-long festivities. There was little to celebrate in their increasingly turbulent lives of the Prince's children. Prince Rainier, now over 70, is reportedly worried about who will succeed him as head of Europe's longest reigning ruling family. He has refused to abdicate, fearing that none of his children is capable of leading Monaco into the 21st century. The personal problems in 1998 took back seat to a brewing scandal invoving stamps, another important source of income in the Principality.


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Created: June 6, 1998
Last updated: 5:38 AM 4/17/2005