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Interview

Prince Albert II first trip to Mayenne, in May

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Prince Albert II on his traditional tour of the stalls at the Grimaldi 2023 Historic Sites gathering - © Communication department / Frédéric Nebinger.

The visit will take place on 5 and 6 May, when the town in western France joins the Grimaldi Historic Sites Association.

For the past ten years, Prince Albert II has regularly visited places that have historic links to his family and the Principality. There are about 100 of these «Grimaldi Historical Sites», officially recognised by the association of the same name, which was created on July 10, 2015, and soon Mayenne will be part of the big family. Membership “can help create new partnerships, promote and attract attention, be mutually beneficial,” said the Prince in an interview for lamayenne.fr.

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With the growth in membership, a separate Italian section was created, along with a federation governed by Monegasque law to coordinate the whole, and to organise the famous Rencontres des Sites historiques Grimaldi  in Monaco, a friendly gathering where the best of these regions’ culture and gastronomy is on display in the square in front of the Prince’s Palace.

The city and département of Mayenne will be invited to the emblematic June event, probably in 2026 for the 7th meeting of the Grimaldi Historical Sites, said the Prince, who is also Duke of Mayenne following the marriage in July 1777 between his ancestor, the Duke of Valentinois (the future Prince Honoré IV) and Louise d’Aumont Mazarin, Duchess of Mayenne.

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A full and varied programme

On Sunday, in Mayenne, the Sovereign will unveil a plaque cementing the city’s membership of the Grimaldi Historical Sites Association. After a stroll through the city and a visit to Mayenne castle, he will be the guest of honour at the international piano competition, where he will present an award. The next day will involve visits to companies, the Departmental Archives and a reception at the Hôtel du Département, hosted by President Olivier Richefou.

“Mayenne evokes for me the good life of a dynamic rural community. A strong agricultural and agri-food tradition, which still provides employment for the population, with some fine businesses, and great successes. But also specialist small industry. Not forgetting Laval football club, which has played against AS.Monaco FC on many occasions,” said the Prince.

Again on the theme of sport, as a member of the IOC and having taken part in several winter Olympics, the Prince was asked about what it will be like for him to experience the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. His answer: “I’ll be encouraging the Principality’s athletes along with my wife, Princess Charlene, and our children. My family history is obviously entwined with that of the Olympic Games. The centenary of the Paris Games, 1924–2024, also marks a family anniversary: it was there that my grandfather John B. Kelly won his third and final gold medal in rowing, with his cousin Paul Costello. I have signed up to present the medals for the same rowing event, and I think other members of the Kelly family will be in the stands.” 

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