Long live Prince Albert!
It was back on March 31, 2005, that it was announced that Prince Albert II, then 47 years old, would take over his father’s post as regent, only a week before the Monarch’s death aged 81 on April 6, 2005, after a long illness. The formal coronation took place after the mourning period on Tuesday, July 12, 2005, with Albert becoming the new Sovereign Prince of Monaco and the 32nd ruler of the Principality. A few months later on November 19, National Day, he was enthroned at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. The Monegasques outside greeted him with cries of “Long live Prince Albert!”.
Seven years later, on July 2, 2011, Prince Albert married Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock who became Princess Charlene of Monaco. And on December 14, 2014 the royal twins Gabriella and Jacques were born to coronate their union.
On July 11 and 12, 2015, the Prince will celebrate the anniversary of his reign with his people in the Palace Square. On Saturday the Prince and his Princess will host the Monegasques with a cocktail party from 16:00 to 19:00. Monegasque singer Olivia Dorato, percussionists Dulumba and Miss America group will perform, and Georges Marsan, Mayor of Monaco will present a gift to the couple in honor of the arrival of their royal twins. On Sunday the festivities will continue with a concert offered to the population with British pop star Robbie Williams and Justin Caldwell on the stage.
Prince Albert meets the press
On Monday, July 29, 2015, Noel Mettay, President of the Monaco Press Club (MPC), and Bernard D’Alessandri, Director of the YCM, welcomed Prince Albert and invited him to respond to questions from the journalists of Monaco for an assessment of his first 10 years of reign. The event took place at the Yacht Club of Monaco, the state of the art Norman Foster’s building inaugurated during Prince Albert’s tenure. As a prelude to the conference conducted by Francois Chantrait, there was a projection of extraits of a film by journalist Jean-Louis Filc, recounting the last ten years of the Prince’s reign in images. The film will be unveiled to the Monegasques during the festivities planed for Saturday, July 11 on the Palace Square.
It was the perfect occasion for the MPC to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the creation of their association in the presence of the Prince.
An assessment of his first 10 years
The questions by the press covered a wide range of subjects including his personal life, sports and the environment, that are contemplated in the paragraphs below. As the conference organised by the MPC was really meant to honor the Prince than to bombard him with all sort of questions, the difficult situation concerning the plethora of ongoing real state projects, that many believe are strangling the tiny Principality and damaging its present quality of life, was not really examined, as some of the journalists would have liked to. But you may read about this issue in the interview by Monaco Hebdo of Jean Louis Grinda, Director of the Opera of Monte-Carlo and member of the Monaco National Council.
A family man
He also talked about his new life as married man and his role as father of twins Jacques and Gabriella who the proud father was quoted saying: “Jacques is very energetic while Gabriella is very calm.” And he added: “both are very curious and smile all the time.” The Prince really makes an effort to be with his small family as much as possible in spite of his many compromises as Head of State.
Regarding his love of sports, he talked about the good results of the AS Monaco Football Club and his very good relationship with the club’s President Dmitry Rybolovlev, and the great job Portuguese coach Leonardo Jardim is doing with young players.
He was also asked about the upcoming movie about his youthful bobsleld victories titled “Royal Ice”. Albert and Mark Thomas, former Welsh rugby player and a member of the original Monaco bobsled team found in 1986, have come up with the story, while the latter will write the screenplay. It will recount the story of how Prince Albert persuaded his father of the benefits of bobsledding, resulting in participating in five editions of Olympic Games, starting in Calgary in 1988, Albertville 1992, Lillehammer in 1994, Ngano in 1998 and Salt Lake City in 2002. Prince Albert is member of the International Olympic Committee since 1985. Princess Charlene participated in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
He said sports has always been an important part of his growing up. Bobsleigh, foot, tennis, ski judo, natation, his parents always encouraged him to practice sports. His grandfather Jack Kelly was Olympic champion of rowing (gold medal OG 1920 and 1924). Guy de Polignac from his father’s side was member of the Bobsleigh French team in the 20’s. And Pierre de Polignac (grandfather) was member of the IOC and a golfer.
The Environmental Prince
The sovereign talked about his ongoing work towards protection of our habitat, having donated millions through the Prince Albert II Foundation to finance various environmental projects. His trips to the Arctic in 2006 and the Antartic in 2009 in the company of South African explorer Mike Horn, attest to his constant battle about creating awareness on global warming and its prevention. Furthermore, he will actively participation in the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) to be held in Paris from November 30 through December 11, 2015, with the objective to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. The Prince’s personal commitment to sustainable development and the promotion of renewable energies is paramount, and one of the examples is the hosting of the Mission Control Center in Monaco, with engineers, technicians and communications specialists, pilots and aviation experts committed to support the Solar Impulse Airplane project. Also well known is his support for the Solar Cup races, harnessing the nergy of the sun, with the second edition taking place July 9-11, 2015. His battle for the protection of the environment has no limits, and is an example for the rest of the world making everybody living in the Principality really proud!
“We have to move away from a society that is obsessed with consumption and consumerism, so perhaps we need to reexamine our lifestyles and consider how our actions and daily life are affecting our world.” HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco