Today’s Birthday, March 14: Albert II, Prince of Monaco (1958 – )
For many years the perennial bachelor status of Albert II, Prince of Monaco baffled the press and the public.
But the son of Rainier III and Grace Kelly, one of the world’s most enduring icons of elegance, once pointed out that any woman he dated would face a comparison to his beloved late mother. That in itself “has not only scared me but also many women I have known,” he has said.
And when the prince, who was one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, did finally tie the knot in 2011, it was true his bride did not escape the eyes of the world – but not for the reason he may have feared.
As the couple’s wedding date approached, rumours swirled that the bride-to-be, former Olympic South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock, had tried to flee Monaco three times and had her passport confiscated by officials.
The rumours were not helped by the tears of the bride as she wed her prince – but speculation she was unhappy was quickly dismissed by the palace.
Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi was born on March 14, 1958 to the reigning monarch of Monaco Prince Rainier III and his wife, former Hollywood actress Grace Kelly.
He was the second child born to the couple, who had welcomed his sister Princess Caroline 13 months earlier and who would go on to add another girl to their brood with the arrival of Princess Stephanie in 1965.
After finishing his schooling in Monaco, Prince Albert enrolled at Amherst College in Massachusetts to study political science, before going on to spend a year in the French Navy and time learning about finance at the Morgan Guaranty Trust of New York.
The athletic royal excelled at sports and would go on to compete at five Winter Olympic games as part of the Monaco bobsled team.
He and his family were devastated by the loss of wife and mother Princess Grace in a car accident in 1982.
Prince Albert succeeded his father to the throne of Monaco in 2005 after Prince Rainier’s death. As the leader of his country, he is known for his pro-environmental stance and has established himself as a dedicated humanitarian.
The prince’s ascension to the throne was marred by an article revealing he had fathered an illegitimate son with a former Air France flight attendant in 2003. He later acknowledged the child, Alexandre Coste as his own in a statement.
Prince Albert also fathered an illegitimate daughter Jazmin Grimaldi, who was born in 1992. While both the children are ineligible to inherit the throne they will receive portions of their father’s estate.
After his marriage to Princess Charlene, Prince Albert has also fathered twins Jacques and Gabriella in 2014.