Last modified: 5 April 2015

The country

The state is known as Principauté de Monaco in its national language. This means the Principality of Monaco. The country is being reigned by the Grimaldi dynasty.

Monaco now is the smallest monarchy in Europe. At the end of the 12th century the counts of Provence became landlords of Monaco, but already in 1162 and 1191 the Emperor gave Monaco to Genoa which built a fortress on the rock above the Mediterranean Sea. In 1297 the power in Genoa came in new hands and the supporters of the former reigning family, amongst them the Grimaldi family, were forced into exile. Francesco Grimaldi tried to gain land for his family and set his eye on Monaco. With Christmas 1306 Francesco and his brother Rainier dressed as monks were able to enter Monaco and let their armed troups in. Since 1331 the Grimaldi’s named their selves Lord of Monaco. For two centuries Genoa tried to get Monaco back. Not earlier than 1482 King Louis XI of France put the land under protection. He recognized the independency of Monaco that was confirmed again in 1489 and 1512, also by the count of Savoy. In 1524 the Emperor himself recognized the country. The title Prince of Monaco appears for the first time in an official document in 1612 and was formally recognized by France in 1641. The Princes of Monaco had obtained Menton and Roquebrune around this time. King Louis XIII also gave Prince Hercule of Monaco the titles of Duke of Valentinois, Marquess of Les Baux and Count of Carladès. In 1731 the Grimaldi family became extinct in male line for the first time, with Antoine I. His daughter Louise-Hippolyte, who was married to Jacques de Goyon-Matignon, succeeded him.

The Princes of Monaco lived in Paris most of the time and visited Monaco almost never. In 1792 Monaco declared itself loyal to the French Republic. Prince Honoré III was captured, also his oldest son. The youngest son fled out of the country and the Prince’s wife ended her life at the guillottine. Finally in 1815 the Grimaldi’s got back the power in Monaco again. The revolution of 1848 also reached Monaco. Menton and Roquebrune came to France. Under Prince Charles III the modernization of Monaco began. In the second half of the 19th century a new town was built, Monte Carlo, and Monaco tried to attract tourists. A casino was built and also hotels and theatres. Albert I followed and stimulated sciences. He also founded Interpol, the international organization for criminal police. In 1919 the dynasty was in danger of becoming extinct again. The heir to the throne, Louis, adopted his illegitimate daughter Charlotte who became Princess of Monaco and Duchess of Valentinois. She married Pierre Count de Polignac, who became Prince of Monaco, and had two children: Antoinette (1920) and Rainier (1923). Charlotte abdicated in 1944 in favour of her son who succeeded her father Prince Louis II in 1949.

Photo & Copyright: E. Mathon / Palais princier


The current sovereign is Albert II Alexandre Louis Pierre Reigning Prince of Monaco. He was born at Monaco on 14 March 1958.

He is the son of Reigning Prince Rainier III of Monaco (1923-2005) and his wife Grace Kelly (1929-1982).


Albert succeeded his father after his death on 6 April 2005.

The inauguration took place at Monaco on 12 July 2005.

Other details

The Prince’s motto is Deo Juvante, which means With the help of God.

The Prince is a Roman Catholic.

Marriage and descendants

Reigning Prince Albert II is married to Charlene Wittstock (born 1978) since 2011. She is known as Princess Charlène.

Their children:

  • Princess Gabriella, Countess de Carladès (born 2014)
  • Prince Jacques, Marquis des Baux (born 2014)

Albert has an illegitimate daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi (born 1992) by Tamara Rotolo. He confirmed his paternity on 1 June 2006. He also has an illegtimate son, Alexandre Coste (born 2003) by Nicole Coste. Prince Albert officially confirmed his paternity of Alexandre on 6 July 2005.

Heir to the throne

The heir to the throne of Monaco is Prince Jacques Honoré Rainier of Monaco, Marquis des Baux, born at the maternité du Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace de Monaco in Monaco on 10 December 2014.

Postal address

Palais Grimaldi
B.P. 518
98015 Monte Carlo


The Principality of Monaco is a hereditary and constitutional monarchy. The throne of Monaco is hereditary in direct and legitimate line of the reigning prince, by order of primogeniture. Male heirs take precedence of female heirs within the same degree of kinship. If a prince has no direct legitimate heirs, the brothers of the prince and their direct and legitimate children succeed, and if there is no brother, the eldest sister or her direct and legitimate children succeed. If an heir to the throne dies or renounces his rights to the throne, the succession passes to his direct and legitimate descendants. If there is no heir at all, a council of regency will take power until the Crown Council selects a new reigning prince from among the more distant descendants of the House of Grimaldi. Only persons with the Monegasque nationality are eligible. The Prince’s person is inviolable. He will reach his adulthood upon the age of eighteen. Until then or in case the Prince is unable to exercice his powers, the powers are being exercised by a Regent.


The titles of the Prince of Monaco come under the French law. According to this French law the titles are not hereditary in female line and are in fact already since a long time legally lost for the family. Seen legitimate Prince Rainier III should only have had the right to bear the title of his father: Count de Polignac. However the titles he and the Prince bear are Prince of Monaco, Duke of Valentinois, Estouteville, Mazarin, Mayenne, Prince of Château-Porcien, Marquis des Baux and of Chilly, Count of Carladès, Torigni, Ferrette, Belfort, Longjumeau, Thann and Rosemont, Baron of Le Buis, Altkirch, and Saint-Lô, Lord of Saint-Rémy, Matignon and Isenheim. The oldest son is titled Hereditary Prince and is Marquis des Baux. Each family member who bears the name of Grimaldi by birth, marriage or adoption is Prince(ss) of Monaco. They are His/Her Serene Highness.

Royal residences

In 1191 a fortress was build when German Emperor Heinrich IV ceded the area that is now Monaco. Under Honoré I, Lord of Monaco (1522-1581) the old fortress structures were transformed into the princely palace. The palace was restored under Prince Rainier III of Monaco in the 20th century. It is the residence of the princes of Monaco. From June to October the palace is open to visitors.

The Princes of Monaco

Louise-Hippolyte (1697-1731)1731
Jacques I (1689-1751)1731-1733
Honoré III (1720-1795)1733-1795
Honoré IV (1758-1819)1795-1819
Honoré V (1778-1841)1819-1841
Florestan I (1785-1856)1841-1856
Charles III (1818-1889)1856-1889
Albert I (1848-1922)1889-1922
Louis II (1870-1949)1922-1949
Rainier III (1923-2005)1949-2005
Albert II (1958- )2005-