Here’s a look at the life of His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II. He was formally invested as Monaco’s ruler on July 12, 2005, following the death of his father, Prince Rainier.
Birth date: March 14, 1958
Birth place: Monte Carlo, Monaco
Birth name: Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi, His Serene Highness, the Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Marquis of Baux
Father: Prince Rainier III
Mother: Princess Grace, formerly the actress Grace Kelly
Marriage: Charlene Wittstock (July 1, 2011-present)
Children: with Charlene Wittstock: Princess Gabriella Therese Marie and Prince Jacques Honore Rainier; with Nicole Coste: Eric Alexandre Stephane; with Tamara Rotolo: Jazmin Grace Rotolo.
Education: Amherst College, BA, 1981
Military service: French Navy
He is interested in environmental issues, alternative energy and hybrid vehicles.
An avid athlete, he has competed in five Winter Olympics (1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002) in the sport of bobsledding but has not won any medals.
He has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1985.
His two oldest children are not in line for the throne because they were born out of wedlock.
March 31, 2005 – Monaco’s Crown Council transfers the regency of the tiny kingdom to Prince Albert, the heir to the throne, saying that Prince Rainier can no longer carry out his duties as monarch.
April 6, 2005 – Prince Rainier III dies of organ failure and Prince Albert becomes Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.
July 6, 2005 – Publicly acknowledges paternity of his son, Alexandre, born to Nicole Coste, a flight attendant from Togo.
July 12, 2005 – Part one of the formal investiture as Monaco’s ruler is Mass at St. Nicholas Cathedral, marking the end of the mourning period for Prince Rainier.
November 17, 2005 – Part two of the formal investiture is the enthronement ceremony at St. Nicholas Cathedral.
April 16, 2006 – Travels to the North Pole by dogsled to highlight global warming.
June 1, 2006 – Acknowledges paternity of his daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, born to an American former waitress, Tamara Rotolo.
March 2, 2007 – Presides over the opening ceremony in Paris of International Polar Year, a research program with a focus on the Polar Regions involving 50,000 scientists from 63 countries.
January 28, 2008 – Is named as one of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) “Champions of the Earth.”
April 22 2008 – Receives the UNEP award which recognizes individuals who show extraordinary leadership on environmental issues.
January 5-14, 2009 – Completes an expedition to the South Pole evaluating climate impact on Antarctica along the way. He is the only head of state to have visited both poles.
June 23, 2010 – The palace announces Prince Albert’s engagement to Charlene Wittstock, 32, a former Olympic swimmer and school teacher from South Africa.
July 1, 2011 – Prince Albert marries Charlene Wittstock in a civil wedding ceremony in the throne room of the Palace of Monaco.
July 2, 2011 – A second wedding, a religious ceremony including Mass, is held in the main courtyard of the Palace of Monaco. The ceremony is broadcast to the 3,500 invited guests who could not fit inside the palace.
October 2013 – Loans pieces of his private collection of Olympic torches for the Russian exhibition of Olympic torches.
October 7, 2013 – Is one of the first torch bearers for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
December 14, 2015 – Prince Albert is presented with the 2015 Global Advocate Award by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for his work on climate change research and environmental conservation efforts.
October 2016 – Buys his mother’s childhood home in Philadelphia, with the idea of turning it into a museum or offices for foundation work.
Monaco is a sovereign principality, meaning it is ruled by a prince.
It is the second smallest country in the world, after the Vatican. At 2.02 sq km (77 sq miles), Monaco is about half the size of New York’s Central Park.
It sits on the French Riviera and is bordered on three sides by France. It is a popular tourist destination, famous for its casino and luxury hotels.
Monaco is also the capital of the principality. The official language is French. The other major languages spoken are English and Italian.
Monegasque, a mixture of the French Provencal and Italian Ligurian dialects, is also spoken there.