Prince Rainier III of Monaco

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Prince of Monaco Rainier III Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco

Hebrew: רנייה לואי גרימלדי, Prince of Monaco, Spanish: S.A.S. Príncipe Raniero III Grimaldi, de Mónaco
Also Known As: "הנרי Henri מקסנס Maxence ברטרנד Bertrand"
Birthplace: Monaco City, Monaco-Ville, Monaco
Death: April 06, 2005 (81)
Principality Of Monaco, Municipality Of Monaco, Monaco (Infarto agudo de miocardio)
Place of Burial: Monaco
Immediate Family:

Son of Prince Pierre de Monaco, duc de Valentinois and HSH Princess Charlotte de Monaco, Duchess of Valentinois
Husband of Grace Kelly
Father of Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Princess of Monaco; Albert II, Prince of Monaco and Princess Stéphanie of Monaco
Brother of S.A.S. la Princesse Antoinette Louise Alberte Suzanne Grimaldi, Baroness of Massy

Occupation: Prince of Monaco, Príncipe de Mónaco
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Prince Rainier III of Monaco

Rainier III (Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi; 31 May 1923 – 6 April 2005) ruled the Principality of Monaco for almost 56 years, making him one of the longest ruling monarchs of the 20th century. Though he was best known outside of Europe for having married American actress Grace Kelly, he was also responsible for reforms to Monaco's constitution and for expanding the principality's economy beyond its traditional gambling base. Gambling accounts for only approximately three percent of the nation's annual revenue today; when Rainier ascended the throne in 1949, it accounted for more than 95 percent.

Rainier was born in Monaco, the only son of Prince Pierre of Monaco, Duke of Valentinois (né Count Pierre de Polignac) and his wife, Hereditary Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois. Born in Algeria, his mother was the only child of Prince Louis II and Marie Juliette Louvet; she was later legitimized through formal adoption and subsequently named heiress-presumptive to the throne of Monaco. His father was a half-French, half-Mexican nobleman from Brittany who adopted his wife's surname, Grimaldi, upon marriage and was made a prince of Monaco by his father-in-law. Rainier had one sibling, Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy, an unpopular figure generally believed to be meddlesome enough regarding her children's place in the line of succession to have forced Princess Grace to demand that she leave the country.

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Prince Rainier III of Monaco's Timeline

May 31, 1923
Monaco City, Monaco-Ville, Monaco
January 23, 1957
Nelson, Nelson, New Zealand

Princess Caroline's birth, 21 guns announced the event, a national holiday was called, gambling ceased, and free champagne flowed throughout the principality

March 14, 1958
Palais de Monaco, Monaco

101 guns announced the birth of Prince Albert

February 1, 1965
Monaco, Monaco
September 18, 1982
Age 52
Grimaldi family vault; Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, Monte Carlo,, Monaco, Monaco

Princess Grace was buried in the Grimaldi family vault on September 18, 1982, after a requiem mass in Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco. Prince Rainier, who never remarried after Kelly's death, was buried alongside her following his death in 2005. The 400 guests at the service included representatives of foreign governments and of present and past European royal houses, as well as several veteran US film stars. Nearly 100 million people worldwide watched her funeral.

In his eulogy, James Stewart said: "You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own. No question, I'll miss her, we'll all miss her, God bless you, Princess Grace."

April 6, 2005
Age 81
Principality Of Monaco, Municipality Of Monaco, Monaco
April 15, 2005
Age 81

Below a golden crown, Prince Rainier III was given a tearful farewell Friday April 15th, 2005 at a funeral in Monaco's cathedral, closing a fairy tale that started nearly 50 years ago with his marriage in the same spot to Hollywood beauty Grace Kelly

The fabled Monte Carlo casino was closed, as were other businesses, and security was tight as the funeral attracted more than half a dozen heads of state and other dignitaries from some 60 countries. They included French President Jacques Chirac, Irish President Mary McAleese, Belgium's King Albert II, Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia and royalty from Sweden, Luxembourg and elsewhere.

The cathedral later was closed to the public for Rainier's burial in the family crypt alongside his beloved Princess Grace at a private service Friday night. She died in a car crash in 1982, and Rainier never remarried.

Their children — son and heir Prince Albert II, and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie — blinked back tears during the Mass as Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" mournfully echoed through the 19th cathedral that overlooks the sea.

Rainier was Europe's longest-serving monarch. The royals, nobles and other VIPs who flew in for the funeral underscored how he helped overcome Monaco's reputation as a "sunny place for shady people" and a haven for tax evasion, money-laundering and gambling, and oversaw its modernization.

In his eulogy at the Mass, Archbishop Bernard Barsi said Rainier was affectionately known as the "builder prince" who oversaw a 20 percent expansion in Monaco's territory by land reclamation from the sea. It still remains, however, no bigger than New York City's Central Park.

"For all of us, the prince was, of course, the sovereign, but he was also a friend, a member of the family," Barsi said. "His family cries for him."

But it was Rainier's 1956 marriage to Kelly that became Monaco's true claim to fame.

The archbishop said they were "an exceptional couple, united by the heart and spirit" and that Rainier bore "with dignity the terrible ordeal of the brutal death of his wife."

"We are convinced that those who were united here below by the fidelity of their conjugal love are forever united in the fullness of God's love," he said.