Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Born Today in 1895, Prince Pierre of Monaco, Father of Prince Rainier

Prince Pierre of Monaco, Duke of Valentinois was born today,  October 24, in 1895. He was a promoter of art, music, and literature in Monaco and served as the head of the country's delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and to the International Olympic Committee.

He married civilly on March 19, and religiously on March 20, 1920, in Monaco, Princess Charlotte of Monaco, the illegitimate but adopted daughter of Louis II of Monaco by Marie Juliette Louvet.  

According to James Lees-Milne, a British writer and friend of Prince Pierre, his unhappy arranged marriage was complicated by his homosexuality and Princess Charlotte's affairs. In the mid-1920s, the couple unofficially separated, with Prince Pierre living in his Paris apartment and on an estate near the city. Prince Pierre and Princess Charlotte were divorced on February 18, 1933. 

One magazine story reported that "The union ended ... under circumstances which prompted the temperamental father-in-law to vow he would call out the Monégasque army if the prince ever set foot in the principality again." The banishment from Monaco was lifted in April 1933, and Prince Pierre thereafter received an annuity of 500,000 francs a year.

He and his wife had two children: Princess Antoinette of Monaco and Rainier III of Monaco, who married Grace Kelly.

In 1947, Life magazine described Prince Pierre as "a slender and graceful gallant who wears his coat cape-fashion across his shoulders. His manners are exquisite; his voice so cultivated as to be practically inaudible."

Prince Pierre died at age 69 on November 10, 1964, of cancer, in Paris.

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