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Princess Caroline
Princess of Hanover

Hereditary Princess of Monaco

Photo of Princess Caroline
Spouse Philippe Junot
(m. 1978, div. 1980)
Stefano Casiraghi
(m. 1983, died 1990)
Ernst August, Prince of Hanover
(m. 1999)
Issue
Andrea Casiraghi
Charlotte Casiraghi
Pierre Casiraghi
Princess Alexandra of Hanover
Full name
Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi
House House of Hanover
House of Grimaldi
Father Rainier III, Prince of Monaco
Mother Grace Kelly
Born

(1957-01-23) 23 January 1957 (age 57)
Prince's Palace, Monaco


Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Hereditary Princess of Monaco (Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi; French: princesse de Hanovre, princesse héréditaire de Monaco; German: Prinzessin von Hannover, Erbprinzessin von Monaco; born 23 January 1957) is the eldest daughter of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco and American actress Grace Kelly, and the elder sister of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco. She has been heiress presumptive to the throne of Monaco since 2005, a position which she previously held from 1957 to 1958.

Caroline is the wife of Ernst August, Prince of Hanover, the head of the House of Hanover and pretender to the former throne of the Kingdom of Hanover, as well as senior male-line descendant of George III of the United Kingdom.

Family and early lifeEdit

Caroline was born Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi on 23 January 1957 in the Prince's Palace, Monaco. She is the eldest child of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and his wife, the former American actress Grace Kelly. By birth, Caroline belongs to the House of Grimaldi, and was the heiress presumptive from her birth to 14 March 1958, when her brother Prince Albert was born. On 1 February 1965, her younger sister Princess Stéphanie was born. Caroline is a legitimate patrilineal descendant of the Dukes of Polignac, and as such belongs to the historical French nobility. Through her mother, she is of Irish and German descent.

As a child, she spent most of her time at the home of her maternal grandparents John B. Kelly, Sr. and Margaret Major in Philadelphia. In an interview for the People in April 1982, shortly before her death, Grace described Caroline and Stéphanie as "warm, bright, amusing, intelligent and capable girls. They're very much in tune with their era. Besides being good students, they are good athletes — excellent skiers and swimmers. Both can cook and sew and play the piano and ride a horse. But, above all, my children are good sports, conscious of their position and considerate of others. They are sympathetic to the problems and concerns in the world today." She died on 14 September 1982 after suffering a stroke while returning from France to Monaco with Princess Stéphanie. After her funeral, which was watched by an estimated 100million people around the world, Caroline adopted her mother's role as a de facto first lady of Monaco.

EducationEdit

The princess received her French baccalauréat degree in 1974 with honors. She was also educated at St Mary's School Ascot. Caroline continued her studies at the Sorbonne University, where she received a diploma in philosophy and minors in psychology and biology. She is fluent in French, English, Spanish, German and Italian.

Official appearancesEdit

Royal dutiesEdit

Following her mother's death in 1982, Caroline served as de facto first lady of Monaco until her brother married Charlene Wittstock in 2011. She regularly attends important social events in Monaco related to the Monegasque Princely Family, such as the National Day celebrations, the annual Rose Ball, the Red Cross Ball and the Formula One competition Monaco Grand Prix.

In 2007, Caroline travelled to the Republic of South Africa to meet its former president Nelson Mandela.

Philanthropy and patronagesEdit

In 1979, Princess Caroline was appointed by her father and her mother as the president of the Monegasque Committee for the International Year of the Child. Two years later, in 1981, she founded her own foundation Jeune J'écoute. Other philanthropic organizations Caroline has been involved with include the World Association of Children's Friends (AMADE), the Princess Grace Foundation, the Prince Pierre Foundation, the Peter Le Marchant Trust and the UNICEF. Her other patronages include the International School of Paris, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, which she also founded, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Association des Guides et Scouts de Monaco, the Monte Carlo Garden Club and The Spring Arts Festival.

Due to her commitment to philanthropy and arts, Caroline was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador on 2 December 2003. The UNICEF honoured her with Children's Champion Award on 20 May 2006. In December 2011, the World Association of Children's Friends honoured her for "tireless endeavours in continuing the organisation's legacy". Her personal friend and the Chanel head designer Karl Lagerfeld presented her the award. Caroline had also previously been given the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Charles, and had been appointed as the Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit.

Personal and media lifeEdit

Caroline's personal interests include horse riding, swimming and skiing. Since her youth, she has been considered as an international fashion icon and as one of the best dressed women in the world. In November 2011, an exhibition honouring Princess Caroline was opened at the National Museum of Monaco.

Caroline was romantically linked to many famous men, including Mark Shand, the younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Sebastian Taylor, who had previously dated Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia; Jonathan Guinness, the son of Jonathan Guinness, 3rd Baron Moyne; Henri Giscard d'Estaing, the son of former President of France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing; and French singer Philippe Lavil. Following her divorce from Philippe Junot, she was briefly engaged to Robertino Rossellini, the son of Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman. Between her second and third marriage, Caroline had a relationship with French actor Vincent Lindon.

First marriageEdit

Princess Caroline's first husband was Philippe Junot (born 19 April 1940), a Parisian banker. They were married civilly in Monaco on 28 June 1978, and religiously on 29 June 1978. Their lavish wedding ceremony was attended by some 65 guests, including Hollywood stars Ava Gardner, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. The couple divorced on 9 October 1980, without having had issue. In 1992, the Roman Catholic Church granted the princess a canonical annulment.

Second marriageEdit

Her second husband was Stefano Casiraghi (8 September 1960 – 3 October 1990), the sportsman heir to an Italian industrial fortune. They were married in Monaco on 29 December 1983, and had three children:

The two younger children are named for their maternal great-grandparents, Princess Charlotte of Monaco and Prince Pierre of Monaco, whilst Andrea was named for a childhood friend of his father's. Stefano Casiraghi was killed in a speed-boating accident in 1990, aged 30 years.

Third marriageEdit

Hanoverian Royal Family

Hanover Monogram

Caroline's third and present husband is Ernst August Prinz von Hanover the dynastic head of the House of Hanover and great-grandson of the last reigning duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Ernest August II, duke of Cumberland, a great-grandson of British King George III. In addition, Ernest's wife was Victoria Louise, daughter of German Emperor William II.

The two married in Monaco on 23 January 1999. Ernst August had previously divorced his first wife Chantal Hochuli, with whom she had sons Prince Ernst August and Prince Christian, and who had been Caroline's friend.

Princess Caroline and her third husband have one child together:

Her husband's family titles had been abolished by the Weimar Republic in 1918, along with all royal and noble German titles. Neither she nor her husband has any royal rank in Germany, but Monaco recognizes her German royal titles and her style as a Royal Highness. On 11 January 1999, shortly before Caroline and Ernst's wedding, his distant cousin Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issued this Order in Council, "My Lords, I do hereby declare My Consent to a Contract of Matrimony between His Royal Highness Prince Ernst August Albert of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg and Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline Louise Marguerite of Monaco...". Without the Royal Assent, the marriage would have been void in Britain, where the groom's family owned substantial property, because Ernst August is subject to the Royal Marriages Act 1772. Likewise, the Monégasque court officially notified France of Caroline's contemplated marriage to Prince Ernst August and received assurance that there was no objection, in compliance with Article 2 of the 1918 Franco-Monégasque Treaty.

In 2009, it was reported that Caroline had separated from Ernst August and returned to live in Monaco. In January 2010, photos emerged of Ernst August kissing a woman who was not identified as Caroline, leading press to speculate that the couple are divorcing.

Defense of privacyEdit

Caroline has had a bad relationship with media and paparazzi since her youth, when she complained she "could not live the life of a normal student". On 24 June 2004, the Princess obtained a judgement from the European Court of Human Rights condemning Germany for non-respect of her right to private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned, for instance, the publication of pictures of her taken secretly at the Beach Club in Monte Carlo.

However the absence of an implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgement in Germany led to a second round of proceedings before the Strasbourg Court. This time five NGOs filed their observations in support of paparazzi, and the Princess lost her case.

Line of succession issuesEdit

Princess Caroline is heiress presumptive to the crown of Monaco because her brother Prince Albert II has no legitimate children. If Albert leaves no legitimate dynastic issue and should she outlive Albert, Caroline will one day become the second Sovereign Princess in Monaco's history. Her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother Louise-Hippolyte Grimaldi held that title for a few months in 1731 with a regent as at the time women could not succeed the throne.

There is precedent for a Monégasque prince to adopt his own illegitimate child and thereby place that child at the head of the line of succession to the Monegasque throne, as was done for Caroline's grandmother, Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois. However, due to the changes to the constitution of Monaco in 2002, this is no longer an option. Although Albert has publicly acknowledged two children born out of wedlock, Alexandre Coste and Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, unless Albert were to legitimize Alexandre by marrying his mother, Caroline cannot constitutionally be displaced in the succession order by either child.

Albert's lack of legitimate children prompted Prince Rainier to change the constitution so as to ensure there would be a successor to the throne, which strengthened the places of Caroline and her descendants in the line of succession. On 2 April 2002, Monaco passed Princely Law 1.249, which provides that if the Sovereign Prince assumes the throne and then dies without a legitimate direct heir, the throne will pass to his dynastic siblings and their descendants according to the rule of male-preference primogeniture. The law was then ratified by France, as required by a 1918 Franco-Monégasque Treaty, on 4 October 2005. Before this change, the crown of Monaco could pass only to a direct descendant of the last reigning prince, excluding such collateral relations as siblings (e.g., Caroline) , nephews, and nieces.

Titles, styles and honoursEdit

Titles and styles

  • 23 January 1957 — 14 March 1958: Her Serene Highness The Hereditary Princess of Monaco
  • 14 March 1958 — 23 January 1999: Her Serene Highness Princess Caroline of Monaco
  • 23 January 1999 — 6 April 2005: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover, Princess of Monaco
  • 6 April 2005 — present: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover, Hereditary Princess of Monaco

Contrary to usage in most other monarchies, not only is the heir apparent to the Monégasque throne titled Hereditary Prince, but whenever there is no heir apparent the heir presumptive legally bears the title of Hereditary Prince(ss). Therefore, Caroline first became the Hereditary Princess of Monaco at birth. From the birth of her only brother until his accession to the throne as Albert II, she was legally Princess Caroline of Monaco; at Albert's accession she resumed the position of heiress presumptive and Hereditary Princess. So long as Prince Albert remains without legitimate heirs, Princess Caroline remains first in line to succeed him on the throne. However, Albert's firstborn legitimate child would displace her in the line of succession and become Hereditary Prince/ss, either as Albert's heir apparent if male, or as his heir presumptive if female.

In Monaco and other monarchies, Caroline is usually referred to and addressed by the female form of the style attributed by tradition to her husband, i.e. Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover, rather than by her own legal title (Her Serene Highness the Hereditary Princess of Monaco). Historically, styles associated with kingdoms, such as Ernst August's, have been deemed of higher rank and status than those associated with principalities.

Should Caroline succeed Albert and become reigning Princess of Monaco, she would become Her Royal Highness (by virtue of her married title) Caroline I, Princess of Monaco, although her father and brother both bore the lower style of Serene Highness because Monaco is a principality, not a kingdom. She would retain the attribute of Royal Highness consistent with the tradition that conferred that style, for example, upon descendants of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg as a result of her 1919 marriage to HRH Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma, member of a deposed dynasty that once reigned over a kingdom. As reigning princess, however, Caroline would re-assume her dynastic maiden name of Grimaldi, pursuant to Article I of the principality's 2002 law on the sovereign family. However, Caroline's successor (e.g., her eldest son, Andrea Casiraghi) would not be entitled to use the style Royal Highness, since styles are normally passed only through the male line, and would assume the traditional style of Serene Highness.

HonoursEdit

  • Monaco: Grand Cross of the Order of Saint-Charles
  • Monaco: Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit

Other honours and awardsEdit

  • UNESCO: UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador (2 December 2003)
  • UNICEF: Children's Champion Award (20 May 2006)

IssueEdit

Name Birth Marriage Issue
Andrea Casiraghi 8 June 1984
Charlotte Casiraghi 3 August 1986
Pierre Casiraghi 5 September 1987
Princess Alexandra of Hanover 20 July 1999

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