Royalty and statesmen




Elegant in a white trouser suit, Stephanie accompanies her big brother Albert to Thursday's Circus Festival opening ceremony
Photo: © AFP
Click on photos to enlarge

Both siblings have inherited their father's love of the circus, with Stephanie not missing a single year since the festival began in 1974
Photo: © AFP


19 JANUARY 2007

When the Big Top rolls into town in Monaco, you can bet the Monegasque royals will not be far away. The circus is a passion for Albert and his sisters - as it was for their late father, Prince Rainier.

Present ruler Prince Albert and his sibling Princess Stephanie certainly seemed to be enjoying the entertainment as they joined a group of clowns and performers to help launch this year's Circus Festival.

The festival, which was established by Prince Rainier in 1974, is a key date on the principality's calendar. One of the largest and most famous events of its type it attracts the best performers from around the globe, resulting in a spectacle filled with all the glitz and glamour Monaco has come to be associated with.

Albert and Stephanie, both of whom sported brightly coloured Circus Festival scarves, were attending the festival opening ceremony. The prince's younger sister - who was briefly married to Portuguese trapeze artist Adans Peres Lopez - is now president of the event, and has not missed the annual gathering since it was first inaugurated.

"Circus is very special. Itís in our blood," she once explained. "It's not something you learn to enjoy. Like everything in life, you have that passion or you don't. You have to be open to accept the magic, and have your eyes light up and become a child again."

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