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Monaco royal wedding: Hopes for a stable future after divorce and ill-fated marriages

June 14, 2011
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When Prince Albert confirmed, with days to go before his coronation, that he had fathered a little boy with a Togolese air hostess the news sent shock waves through Monaco society.A year later came a similar admission: the Monegasque royal also had a daughter by American real estate agent  Tamara Rotolo. The children Alexandre and Jazmin Grace are now eight and 19 respectively.And their father is on the cusp of beginning a new life with statuesque Olympian Charlene Wittstock. While they are clearly deeply committed to each other, the prince is all too aware that his marriage means more than that in the principality. It must usher in a new era of stability.

 The history of the Grimaldis has sadly seen its fair share of controversy and marital woes, stretching back to the 13th-century and the reign of Rainier I.  

Honore III (1720-1795) was the first Grimaldi to divorce. He wed Maria Catalina de Brignole in 1757, divorcing her 13 years later.The marriage produced two children, one of whom was Honore IV (1758-1819). His union with Louise d'Aumont de Mazarom, who bore him two offspring, lasted 27 years before they too went their separated ways.Honore V never reached the altar, but had two illegitimate children with his mistress, the Marquess de Baux.His brother Florestan I took his place on the throne. Never expecting to reign, Florestan had been following a career as an actor in Paris where he met and fell in love with actress Marie Caroline Gibert de Lametz, with whom he was to share power.After their efforts to govern proved largely unsuccessful, the couple handed power to their son Charles II, the founder of the Monte Carlo Casino.

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His wife Antoine de Merode gave him one son – Albert I 1848-1922 who married twice. His grandmother Marie Caroline arranged a match with Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton, the daughter of a Scottish duke.Strong-willed and just 19 years old, Mary disliked Monaco and everything about it and she left soon after the birth of their son Luis II (1867-1930). Eight years later Albert married Marie Alice Heine, the young widow of the Duc de Richelieu.She turned the principality into a fashion Mecca with an opera, theatre, and a ballet under the direction of the famed Russian impresario, Sergei Diaghilev.Unfortunately, Marie Aice also cuckolded her husband with composer Isidore de Lara.Her stepson Luis II was madly in love with an actress named Ghislaine Dommanget. Their wedding took place on July 24, 1946. He cheated on her with a young peasant woman named Marie Juliette Louvet, who bore him a daughter called Charlotte.Since there was no legitimate issue from his marriage to Ghislaine, Charlotte took the throne, marrying Pierre de Polignac in 1920.Charlotte and Pierre were the parents of Ranier III and Princess Antoinette. Shortly after tying the knot they began leading separate lives. Their divorce was finalised in 1930.

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Rainier and his wife Grace Kelly had a fairytale union, lasting 26 years and producing three children: Albert II, Caroline and Stephanie.Caroline has been married three times. Her first husband was Philippe Junot, her second was Stefano Casiraghi, the father of her three eldest children and her current partner is Ernst of Hanover, the father of her youngest, Alexandra.After having two children with her bodyguard Daniel Ducret, Stephanie tied the knot with him in 1995, only to divorce a year later.She has never identified the father of her third child, a girl named Camille.In September 2003, she secretly wed circus performer Adans Lopes Peres. Their marriage last nine months.

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