Princes and Princesses of Monaco

This exhibition on the Grimaldi dynasty will take place in the Forbidden City, Beijing from September to the end of December 2018.

The second eagerly awaited phase of the cultural exchange between the Grimaldi Forum Monaco and the Forbidden City of Beijing promises to be just as spectacular as the first ...

This summer, the Monegasque events centre has enjoyed great success, welcoming -47,000 visitors in two months to see the sumptuous treasures of the Imperial Palace Museum.  It is now preparing to export the "Princes and Princesses of Monaco, a European Dynasty (13th to 21st centuries)" to China.  This exhibition was conceived in association with the Prince's Palace and with the participation of many Monegasque institutions.  The exhibition will be divided into six sections, as designed by its Curator, Thomas Fouilleron, Doctor of History, Director of the Archives and the Library of the Prince's Palace of Monaco - religious ceremonial spaces, from the church to the cathedral, a dynasty of Italian origin (13th - 17th centuries), the great "French" centuries (17th - 19th centuries), the invention of Monte-Carlo (19th - 20th centuries), iconic marriages (10th - 21st centuries) and finally civil ceremonial spaces, from the throne room to the palace's courtyard of honor.  In an exhibition area of 800 m2, interested and curious visitors will be able to learn about the great moments in history of the Grimaldi, which is inseparable from that of the Principality.

Monaco was formerly a fortress on the western border of the Italian Republic of Genoa, becoming the fiefdom of the Grimaldi, one of the patrician families of the city, between the late 13th and mid-14th centuries.  Franciscan monks, heraldic supporters of the Grimaldi coat of arms, keep alive the memory of the circumstances when Monaco was handed over to them for the first time in 1297.
A long sovereignty- building process led to the European recognition of independence at the beginning of the 16th century.  From then on, the fortress was transformed into a Renaissance palace, where the lords of Monaco created the appearance of a small courtyard.
The exhibition focuses on reconstructing ceremonial spaces, both religious and secular, since the 17th century.  These two poles provide the framework for a chronological itinerary that presents the major figures of the dynasty and the great moments in the Principality's history.
When Honoré II took the title of Prince in 1612, the monarchical rituals, used by the great courts for dynastic births, marriages and funerals, were adopted and adapted to suit the size of the small State.  Marriages, first entered into with the Italian aristocracy, were then entered into with the French nobility at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries.  Monaco moved from being under the protection of the Spain of the Hapsburgs to that of France.

The godson of King Louis XIV of France, Louis I of Monaco, became his ambassador in Rome.  He attained the rank of foreign prince at the court of France when his son married Marie de Lorraine in 1688.  The alliance of Princess Louise-Hippolyte with Jacques de Matignon in 1715 ensured the continuation of the dynasty.  The Hôtel de Matignon, now the residence of the French Prime Minister, became the main residence of the Princes of Monaco in Paris.
The French Revolution led to the loss of Monaco's independence in 1793.  After its restoration in 1814, the Principality experienced a difficult period, which, in 1848, within the framework of the "People's Spring," which the whole of Europe was experiencing, led to the secession of 80% of its population and the division of its territory by ten.
Economic conversion was necessary, leading to the development of seaside tourism for aristocrats, which was centered on gambling.  A new city, Monte-Carlo, was created in 1866, named after Prince Charles III.  The Belle Epoque was reflected in a brilliant artistic and social life, making the Principality one of the major European centers of attraction. Prince Albert I was a man of progress and a pioneer of modern oceanography.  His son Louis II distinguished himself as a fighter in the First World War.
He was succeeded in 1949 by Rainier III, who married the world-famous actress Grace Kelly in 1956.  In 2011, their son Albert II married Charlene Wittstock, in a ceremony that was faithful to tradition and also represented renewal.