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Interview

Prince Albert II and Princess Stéphanie talk about their childhood with Prince Rainier III

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Prince Albert II and Princess Stéphanie spoke in the run-up to the Centenary Ball - © Frédéric Nebinger / Prince's Palace

The Sovereign and the Princess reminisced on the occasion of the Centenary Ball.

On Wednesday 25 October, the well-known Point de Vue magazine published an exclusive interview with Prince Albert II and Princess Stéphanie, carried out by journalist Emmanuel Cirodde, who was invited to the Prince’s Palace for the occasion.

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When asked about the celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of Prince Rainier III, the Sovereign and Princess Stéphanie spoke first about the organisation of the commemorations. “Each event triggered a lot of emotions through the memories and anecdotes that came back to us. We wanted to organise these commemorations to reflect what our father loved and to be able to thank him (…) We were keen to show that he wanted to give Monaco legitimacy and credibility. He couldn’t stand the term ‘Operetta Principality’,” Princess Stéphanie began.

He was the “builder prince” of concrete projects such as amenities and infrastructure, but also the “builder prince” of the constitution in 1962 and many other initiatives,” added the Sovereign.

They both also talked about their early attendance of the major events in the Principality, such as the Rose and Red Cross balls. “When I was a teenager, I didn’t want to go! At a certain age, it’s not that much fun to find yourself in a dress, in your Sunday best, sitting at a table for four hours and being scrutinised by everyone. But we often went as a family, and it became our own time,” said Princess Stéphanie.

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It’s true that when you’re 16 or 17, you might want to be doing something else. And these events can be very daunting and intimidating,” confirmed the Sovereign.

Princess Stéphanie “more pampered” as the youngest child

The Prince also recalled his initiation into the role of Sovereign “in small steps.” “It was a gradual apprenticeship. I attended  government councils and cabinet meetings [at my father’s side](…) Then, if you’ll pardon the expression, it was my turn to get my hands dirty,” he said.

Princess Stéphanie acknowledged that she got special attention because of her status as the youngest member of the family. “She was spoiled,” says the Prince.

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Journalist Emmanuel Cirodde was received at the Prince’s Palace – © Frédéric Nebinger / Prince’s Palace

Being seven and eight years younger than my brother and sister made a difference. My brother was adorable, he always put up with me, I always wanted to play with him. He was unfailingly patient with me and I thank him for that. I didn’t have a brother or sister my own age, so I always used to turn to him and his friends,” says the Princess.

Princess Stéphanie also recalls the time she spent with her father when she was a child: “I wanted to be with him whenever possible. I remember that around midday he would go to the zoological garden. I finished school at half past eleven, and I would run so I could spend time with him. (…) Perhaps being the youngest, I was more pampered, or I got away with more things. But I don’t think I took advantage too much. And I must admit my brother was very patient with me, especially as I was a bit hyperactive as a child…”

Prince Rainier III: “so proud and happy to be a grandfather”

The Prince and Princess also revealed the games they played as children, such as Monopoly and construction games.. “I used to steal your Action Man figures to organise weddings with my Barbies ,” Princess Stéphanie reminded the Sovereign.

As for Prince Rainier III’s parenting, Prince Albert II and Princess Stéphanie are adamant that the Builder Prince was a “very loving father and always in a good mood,” who “would leave his concerns at the office” and who had “an incredible sense of humour.”

While Prince Rainier III was described as “demanding but fair,” Princess Grace showed great compassion for others. “They taught us to be honest and upright. To know how to stick to our guns while remaining open to the world,” said Princess Stéphanie.

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The Princess also spoke about Prince Rainier III as a grandfather: a man who was very important to his grandchildren. Not only for Camille Gottlieb, who remembers their Wednesday get-togethers: “my son Louis also has a lot of love and admiration for his grandfather, as do my daughter Pauline and Princess Caroline’s children. He was so proud and happy to be a grandfather,” says Princess Stéphanie.