A Monegasque tradition dating back to 1857, Prince’s Day is an annual occasion that celebrates the bond between Monegasques and the Princely Family.

Every year, November 19 is a public holiday and the streets are decked out with red and white flags in honour of the Princely Family. But do you know how it came about? How do we celebrate it this year? Monaco Tribune has all the answers!

November 19, the traditional date for Prince’s Day?

If you thought the date of November 19 was set in stone for Prince’s Day, you’d be wrong! In fact, the celebration was originally held… on November 4th! It all began in 1857, during the second year of Prince Charles III ‘s reign. He decided to make November 4, St. Charles’ feast day, the “Sovereign’s Day”. In doing so, he wanted to reassert Monaco’s sovereignty.

33 years later, on the death of Prince Charles III, Prince Albert I decided to change the date. It then became November 15, St. Albert’s feast day. On June 26, 1922, Prince Albert I died and his successor, Louis II, was faced with a problem. Saint-Louis is celebrated on August 25, meaning that Sovereign’s day would fall in the middle of the summer break.

To overcome the problem, Prince Louis II set the date of January 17, St. Anthony’s day, in honour of his granddaughter, Princess Antoinette. The celebration was then called “National Day” in Le Journal de Monaco.

After the death of Prince Louis II in 1949, Prince Rainier III ascended to the throne on November 19 of the same year. The Prince originally chose April 11 as the National Day, but in 1952, April 11 fell on Good Friday. The National Day was therefore postponed to November 19, date of the Prince’s investiture , but also the feast day of Blessed Rainier d’Arezzo. Subsequently, Prince Albert II decided to keep the date of November 19, as a tribute to his father.

How to take part in Prince’s Day?

The Principality is already being decked out with red and white flags, in preparation for November 19. For eight days and nine nights, town hall services installed no fewer than 610 banners, 62 pennants and 680 flags, which will remain in situ until 6 December.

Monaco National Day
© Monaco Town Hall

The Town Hall invites all Monegasques and residents to do the same for their balconies, facades and windows. Don’t forget! the red part of the flag must always be above the white. For pavilions and banners, looking from the outside, the red part must be to the left of the white part.

Once your decorations are in place, you’ll be able to enjoy the events that have been planned for the occasion. The festivities will begin at 9:30 am, at the Cathedral of Monaco with the solemn thanksgiving mass and traditional Te Deum. At 11 a.m., the Princely Family, with the exception of Princess Charlene, will attend a medal ceremony in the Cour d’Honneur at the Palace, followed by a review of the troops at 11:30, accompanied by the Orchestre des Carabiniers du Prince. 

The evening will be marked by an invitation-only gala at the Grimaldi Forum, where renowned tenor Plácido Domingo will perform a Spanish Night, and dancers from the Antonio Gades Company will also grace the stage.

Monegasques and residents who have booked their seat will also be able to enjoy a humorous and musical show at the Espace Léo Ferré : “The improvised musical comedy”

Of course, the Attractions will still be in full swing at Port Hercule, with all the fun of the fair!  But naturally, health regulations must be complied with.  Wearing a mask remains compulsory, as is the health pass.

What about you? What memories do you have of National Day? Watch this space: Monaco Tribune is preparing a new competition, and we’ll be wanting to see your best shots!