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Interview

Prince Albert II: “My father was demanding rather than harsh”

rainier-III
Prince's Palace via Facebook

The Sovereign shared his fondest memories in an interview. 

Prince Albert II agreed to an interview with Hello Monaco as Monaco celebrates the Centenary of Prince Rainier III’s birthday this year.

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In the interview, the Sovereign shared his most vivid memories with his father. “On top of accompanying him to various events, I do remember moments of relaxation with the family, those of real intimacy. Trips away to Switzerland for winter sports among them. We were a skiing family. Then in summer, we would all go on short cruises aboard a yacht. My father was the captain. He did have a deckhand, but we were all helping him with daily jobs. I was the one washing the deck. Do you think we were couch potatoes? No way!”

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Prince Albert II also spoke about his father’s legacy, and how it has influenced his own reign. “When he succeeded his grandfather, Prince Louis II, the Principality was emerging from the Second World War. Monaco was, if not impoverished, then definitely faced with a lack of infrastructure… it was a small country in need of prospects for the future. My father was the main architect of the Principality’s development, growth and economic diversification. My parents’ marriage, of course, also contributed to Monaco’s opening up to the world. It was not at all an easy ride, however. A French crisis was underway and, in addition, the one related to SBM governance… My father then endowed our country with a new constitution. He contributed to our entry into the United Nations in 1993 and into the Council of Europe in 2004, which I personally ratified in 2005 shortly after his passing away.”

The Sovereign also confided that, thanks to his father, he had learned that it takes time to solve a problem. “You do need to hear all the parties, all the opinions before settling on a decision that has to be seen to be objective by most…(…) My father was a man of details,” he continued. “He closely supervised his files, his projects…”

Prepared for the duties of a Prince from an early age, Prince Albert II also remembers the encouragement of his parents: “My nickname was rather given to me by the American family. It was actually a diminutive, Albie. It wasn’t used since my teenage years, obviously. My parents were always there [for us]. They took time to listen to us. It’s true that I would more spontaneously go to my mother. Father was a little intimidating, demanding rather than harsh. People who knew him well do say that sometimes he was not easy. In fact he was impulsive, at other times almost close to exhibiting a type of shyness… I did see him uncomfortable with people he didn’t really know, for example.”

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Hello Monaco also asked the Sovereign about Prince Rainier III’s influence on the way he raised his children.  “Jacques and Gabriella have never been particularly boisterous until now,” Prince Albert II replied. “I let them flourish and open up to the world. They are very cheerful, very curious and fairly easy going. Charlène and myself, we don’t really have to tell them off much.”