||Prince Rainier once reflected that the day his daughter Caroline was born was the happiest of his life. And given the strength of his feelings for his first child, it is not surprising she continues to hold such a pivotal position in Monegasque affairs.
The princess has faced many travails in the course of her life. Her first marriage, to French banker Philippe Junot, fell apart after just two years. Shortly afterwards, at the age of 25, she faced the untimely death of her mother in a road accident. The tragedy put particular pressure on Caroline as she instantly became Monaco's unofficial first lady. "After Grace's death a miracle happened," Rainier later observed. "Princess Caroline stepped into her mother's shoes."
Though she acknowledges the pressures of her position have not always brought contentment, the princess did experience happier times when she remarried, to Italian industrialist Stefano Casiraghi, in 1983. The couple had three children, Andrea, Charlotte and Pierre, and for a time it seemed she had found lasting happiness.
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