MONACO’s royal family is said to have been struck again and again by the “curse of the Grimaldis” after tragic deaths, divorces and paternity scandals.
Prince Albert II is currently the head of the princely house of Grimaldi and the reigning Prince of Monaco, home of the super-rich.
His Serene Highness Prince Albert, 63, is one of the richest royals in the world, and reportedly has personal assets valued over $1billion.
Monaco, around the size of Hyde Park and with a population of 38,000, has been ruled by 63-year-old the prince since 2005.
And this week, the prince slammed Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for their “inappropriate” interview with Oprah Winfrey.
He said the couple should have shared their “dissatisfaction” with royal life “within the intimate quarters of the family”.
But Monaco’s royal family has experienced a number of tragedies and scandals of its own.
The Grimaldi dynasty was catapulted to global fame in 1956 when ruler Prince Rainier III married American actress Grace Kelly.
The couple had three children – Caroline, Albert and Stephanie – before Princess Grace died in a car crash in 1982 at the age of 52.
Her tragic death sparked claims that the family had been struck by the infamous “curse of the Grimaldis”.
According to a legend dating back 700 years, a Flemish woman raped by a Grimaldi took revenge by announcing that “never will a Grimaldi find true happiness in marriage”.
Grace was known as one of the most beautiful women in the world and her marriage to Prince Rainier III helped cement Monaco’s lavish reputation.
But the Hollywood starlet died in a car crash after she had a stroke while driving with her teenage daughter Stephanie on a winding road to the train station.
Dr Jean Chatelain, the chief surgeon at the hospital where Grace was treated, said she may have survived “in other circumstances”.
He told the New York Times: “It was an incident which, if it occurred at home – well, she might have sat down and perhaps felt better soon.
“It could have been relatively benign, but you can’t say for sure. It’s conjecture. In other circumstances, of course, things could have evolved in a different manner.”
In an interview for People in April 1982, Grace described Caroline and Stephanie as “warm, bright, amusing, intelligent and capable girls”.
Princess Caroline, Grace’s eldest daughter, stepped as the de facto first lady of Monaco after the death of her mum.
She studied philosophy, psychology and biology at the Sorbonne in Paris before marrying Parisian banker Philippe Junot, the Mirror reports.
The pair later divorced on the grounds they had produced no children.
She had three children – Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte – with her second husband Stefano Casiraghi.
But tragedy struck the family again after he died in a boat crash off the Monaco coast in 1990.
Caroline’s third and current husband is Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick.
And Princess Stephanie, who was with her mum when she died, was hounded by incorrect reports which suggested she had been driving at the time of the crash.
She has been dubbed the wild child of Monaco’s royal family.
Stephanie married Daniel Ducruet in 1991 and they had two children together.
But the marriage fell apart after Ducruet was caught with a woman who had previously won Miss Topless Belgium, according to the Mirror.
Meanwhile, Princess Grace’s only son, Prince Albert II, took the Monaco throne after the death of his father in 2005.
He married South African former Olympic swimmer Charlene in July 2011, and they share two children – twins Gabriella Thérèse Marie and Jacques Honoré Rainier.
The prince lives a lavish lifestyle with his wife, often attending star-studded charity galas such as the Monte Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean.
But Albert’s marriage has been rocked by a number of paternity rumours.
In 2005, Albert confirmed he was the biological father of Alexandre, whose mother was Nicole Coste – a former Air France flight attendant from Togo.
A DNA test in 2006 also confirmed Albert was the father of Jazmin Grace – the result of an affair with Tamara Rotolo, an American estate agent he met in the South of France.
Neither Jazmin, 28, or his son, Alexandre, 17, can claim the throne of Monaco, according to negotiated financial agreements.
And last year, Prince Albert II was hit with a paternity suit over allegations of a third love child.
He was summoned to court earlier this year to fight explosive claims he fathered another child with a secret girlfriend before marrying his wife.
The prince was summoned for an “acknowledgement of paternity” in February in Milan, Italy, the Telegraph reports.
He is alleged to have had a relationship with a Brazilian woman which resulted in a daughter in 2005.
The claims are particularly painful as he was dating Charlene at the time.
Charlene had a “terrible” year in 2020 after the fresh rumours emerged, sources told Mail Online.
“This was before Charlene and Albert were an item, but the latest case covers a time when she was already in love with him,” a source who works closely with the Monaco royal family said.
“Charlene has had a terrible year, with one family crisis after another including Albert going down with coronavirus, and now she’s gearing herself up for this hell.”
Albert previously hit back against the paternity claims and said: “My family have long been the subject of rumours born out of jealousy.”
He is said to be ignoring all correspondence from his alleged third daughter and leaving the matter to his legal team.
His lawyers have dismissed the claims as a “hoax”.
Lawyer Thierry Lacoste told Mail Online: “There are no intimate photos, no tangible facts surrounding a possible relationship.”
In December last year, Lacoste said he was also considering filing a counter claim for “attempted fraud and blackmail”.
And now Albert has slammed Prince Harry and Meghan about their “public display of dissatisfaction”.
Speaking to the BBC World News, Prince Albert, 63, said: “I think this type of public display of dissatisfaction, these type of conversations should be held within the intimate quarters of the family.
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“It doesn’t really have to be laid out in the public sphere like that.
“So it did bother me a little bit, I can understand where they’re coming from in a certain way, but I think it wasn’t the appropriate forum to be able to have these kind of discussions.”
His comments refer to the explosive interview earlier this month in which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told Oprah that a member of the family had asked what colour their then unborn son Archie’s skin would be.