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Caroline dazzling at Rose Ball but Rainier absent

March 21, 2004
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Monte Carlo has rung in the spring with its traditional Rose Ball, and as always, the glamorous social event created as much interest by who was absent as by who attended.

While Princess Caroline, gorgeous in a sparkling silver gown, headed up the evening, the most notable absentee was her father, Prince Rainier. The 81-year-old monarch, who has had several heart operations including a bypass, has suffered ongoing health problems this winter and a spokesperson said that as a precaution, he preferred to stay in the palace on the evening of the Ball.

Caroline, who arrived at the rose-decked Sporting Club accompanied by both her brother Prince Albert and her husband Prince Ernst of Hanover, was hostess to several regular attendees including a close friend, the designer Karl Lagerfeld, and actress Gina Lollabrigida.

But her younger sister Stephanie was not among those present. Both princesses attended last year's Ball, silencing rumours that their relationship was going through a rocky patch, and it seems that this year, Stephanie was absent simply because she is currently abroad with her husband and young children.

The 2004 Ball's theme was imperial China. As well as the thousands of roses traditionally used to decorate the venue at the specific request of Princess Grace, who founded the event, there were hanging Chinese lanterns, dragon-shaped lamps and hundreds of yards of richly-coloured satin ribbons.

Proceeds from this, the outstanding event on the principality's social calendar, go to the Princess Grace Foundation, which helps Monaco's children.

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Photo: ©
Dazzling in a sparkling silver gown, Caroline arrived to host the evening with her brother Albert (left) and her husband Prince ErnstPhoto: © AFPy
Photo: ©
Regular attendee Karl Lagerfeld enjoyed the evening at the side of his close friend CarolinePhoto: © AFP

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