Each year, since the opening of the Grimaldi Forum cultural centre in Monaco in 2000, the Principality of Monaco has hosted a major exhibition with a theme of heritage, art or history. The centre's Espace Ravel offers a unique setting for spectacular exhibitions, in an area of more than 2,500 m2.
This year, the Grimaldi Forum's summer rendez-vous coincides with a very special event – the wedding of HSH Prince Albert II and Miss Charlene Wittstock. Reflecting this great moment in the life of the Principality, the Grimaldi Forum is devoting its summer exhibition to the "Splendour and Grandeur of the Courts in Europe," from 11 July to 11 September.
The exhibition is a real journey through time, from the 17th to the 20th century. For the first time, visitors will be able to see twenty royal houses of Europe and meet major imperial, royal and princely figures. So, in the course of this sumptuous journey, which is just like a real "European tour," visitors will be introduced to:
• PORTUGAL: Joseph I, Louis I (Luis), king of Portugal and Queen Maria Pia
• SPAIN: Philip V, king of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese
• FRANCE: Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, and Josephine
• ENGLAND: Queen Victoria, the "grandmother of Europe" and her consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg
• LUXEMBOURG: Adolph, Grand Duke of Luxembourg
• BELGIUM: Leopold I, first king of the Belgians
• THE NETHERLANDS: Queen Wilhelmina, who played an important role in the beginning of the 20th century
• DENMARK: Christian IV and Christian IX
• SWEDEN: Gustav III and his passion for the theatre
• NORWAY: Haakon VII, first king of Norway after the dissolution of the union with Sweden
• RUSSIA: Alexander II, "the liberator," who set the trend for imperial stays on the Côte d'Azur
• POLAND: John III Sobieski, king of Poland, who conquered the Turks in Vienna
• PRUSSIA: The Brandenburg princes who became kings of Prussia – from Frederick I and Queen Sophia Charlotte of Hanover to Frederick William IV, not forgetting the iconic figure of Queen Louise, symbol of the resistance against Napoleon
• SAXONY: Augustus the Strong, Prince elector of Saxony and king of Poland, renowned for his parties, which rivalled those of Versailles
• BAVARIA: Ludwig I and his son Otto Ist, first king of Greece, and his grandson Ludwig II
• AUSTRIA: Franz Joseph I and the legendary Elisabeth of Bavaria (known as Sissi); Prince Nicolas II Esterhazy, a great collector and patron of Joseph Haydn
• TURIN: Victor Amadeus II, king of Sicily then king of Sardinia
• ITALY: Charles, king of Naples, who launched the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii
• MONACO: the Grimaldi, princes of Monaco, from Honoré II to the 17th century to Charles III, founder of Monte-Carlo, not forgetting Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace
To illustrate this ambitious subject, the Grimaldi Forum Monaco has collected together 700 sumptuous and moving works, which transport the visitor into the heart of the life, the role and the passions of these characters and couples who have left their mark on the history of their dynasty and their country. This visit also highlights the age in which they lived and their role in art, history and science.
"Splendour and Grandeur of the Courts in Europe," is a skilful blend of special loans from today's royal houses, from palaces of reigning monarchs, with equally exceptional items from royal, imperial and princely collections that form part of major national museum collections.
Portraits, sculptures, objets d'art, furniture, china, silverware, costumes and jewellery bring four centuries of history to life in this unique exhibition. Historical documentary and fictional films complete this masterful exhibition and bring these fascinating characters to life.