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© Howell Conant

The 56 years of Prince Rainier III’s reign radically modernised the Principality, in terms of both its internal configuration and its international standing.

Born in 1923, Prince Rainier’s grandfather, on his mother’s side, was Prince Louis II, who reigned from 1922 to 1949. After studying in England, Switzerland and France, in 1944 Rainier enlisted in the French Army as a foreign volunteer.

After his mother, Princess Charlotte of Monaco, renounced her rights to succession, Rainier became Prince of Monaco at the age of 26 when his grandfather died. His 56-year reign was marked by important steps forward for the Principality of Monaco.

 

Prince Rainier III was behind numerous building programmes, which radically changed the shape of Monaco and earned him the nickname “the Builder Prince”.

Externally, Prince Rainier III bolstered Monaco’s standing throughout his reign. The aura of Princess Grace, whom he married in 1956, contributed to this new visibility for the Principality of Monaco.

© DR
© Simon Michou Paris Match

In 1962, the conflict which pitted Prince Rainier III against French President General de Gaulle resulted in the proclamation of a new Monegasque constitution, which guaranteed the sovereignty and the independence of the State of Monaco, while reaffirming the special relationship with France as defined in the treaty of 17 July 1918.

In 2002, Prince Rainier III signed a new treaty with France, replacing that of 1918 and further consolidating Monegasque sovereignty.

In addition to the relationship with France, Prince Rainier pursued a resolute foreign policy, establishing bilateral diplomatic relations with a large number of countries. During his reign, in 1993 Monaco became the 183rd member state of the United Nations and, in 2004, the 46th member state of the Council of Europe.

Faithful to the legacy of his great-grandfather, Prince Albert I, he also committed the Principality to several international initiatives aimed at protecting the seas. Prince Rainier died on 6 April 2005. His son, Albert, then became Prince Albert II of Monaco.

© VISUAL Press Agency
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