The Grimaldis of Monaco
The Grimaldis of Monaco tells in full, for the first time, the remarkable history of the world's oldest reigning dynasty. For nearly eight hundred years, from the elegant Genoese Rainier I to the current Rainier III, the Grimaldis - "an ambitious, hot-blood unscrupulous race, swift to revenge and furious in battle" - have ruled Monaco. Against all odds, they have proved themselves masterful survivors, still in possession of their lands and titles despite the upheavals of the French Revolution and the First and Second World Wars, when royal heads rolled and most small countries met their demise. With insufficient weaponry and military forces far too small to go into combat against their more powerful neighbors, France and Italy, the Grimaldis endured by their cunning and their shrewd choice of brides - rich women with high connections in the most influential courts of Europe and, often, strong sexual appetites. The French nobleman's daughter who married Louis I later became the mistress of France's Louis XIV. Her son, Antoine I, was wed to an aristocratic wife who outdid her mother-in-law by having so many lovers her husband took to hanging them in effigy. The seafaring adventurer Prince Albert I was unfortunate enough to have two wives, one British, one American, who ran off with their lovers. His second wife, the American Alice Heine, a fabulously rich heiress from New Orleans and the widowed Duchesse de Richelieu, was the model for Proust's Princesse de Luxembourg. And the last section of the book is devoted to the current generation of the Grimaldis. Here, a new image of Ranier III emerges as both man and monarch, beginning with his blighted childhood as the son of divorced parentsand of a mother scorned as illegitimate. And preceding the drama of his world-famous marriage to Grace Kelly, there is an account of his intense love affair with a French film star and the reasons behind his sister's lifelong malice and envy of him. The final note is necessarily tragic, detailing in full the deaths of both Princess Grace and Princess Caroline's husband in sudden and shocking accidents. While the Grimaldis vividly occupy center stage, Anne Edwards delineates with equal care the history of their country. For centuries Monaco was little more than a pawn in the shifting fortunes of Italy and first the Bourbon, then the Napoleonic dynasties of France. But in the nineteenth century the American Princess Alice Heine used her own wealth to bring grandeur, culture and sophistication to the palatial center of Monte Carlo; and with the introduction of legalized gambling, an internationally celebrated resort was born, initially for the privileged few and later for raffish cafe society. Indeed, nowhere is the author's talent for making drama out of history in greater evidence than in her masterful re-creation of the titanic struggle between Prince Rainier and Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis for control of the future of the country. Filled with fresh insights and little-known facts, The Grimaldis of Monaco has the special qualities that enhance all of Anne Edwards's acclaimed biographies.
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A ROM ANTIC PAST 12151795
THE RED AND THE BLACK
INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
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