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|Born||Éric Alexandre Stéphane Tossoukpé
24 August 2003
|Parent(s)||Albert II of Monaco
|Relatives||Princess Stephanie of Monaco (aunt)
Princess Caroline of Monaco (aunt)
Andrea Casiraghi (cousin)
Pierre Casiraghi (cousin)
Princess Alexandra of Hanover (cousin)
Pauline Ducruet (cousin)
Camille Marie Kelly Gottlieb (cousin)
Louis Ducruet (cousin)
Charlotte Casiraghi (cousin)
Jazmin Grace Grimaldi (half-sister)
Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco (half-brother)
Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès (half-sister)
Éric Alexandre Stéphane Coste (born 24 August 2003) is the younger of the two confirmed illegitimate children of Prince Albert II of Monaco. His mother is Nicole Coste, a native of Togo, while his paternal illegitimate half-sister is Jazmin Grace Grimaldi. Coste also has a legitimate paternal half-sister and half-brother, Monaco's Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques.
Born out of wedlock, he was initially named Éric Alexandre Stéphane Tossoukpé. His mother changed her surname and his to Coste on 10 November 2004. Albert made no public comment on the change at that time, being in official mourning following the death of his father.
Out-of-wedlock children are not in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne according to Article 10 of the Constitution of Monaco, as amended 2 April 2002 by law n°1.249, which specifies that only "direct and legitimate" descendants of Monaco's monarch (or of the monarch's siblings) may inherit the throne. Article 227 of the Monegasque Civil Code provides that if the parents of a (non-adulterine) child marry, the child is legitimized ipso facto (as happened in 1995 when Princess Stéphanie of Monaco married the father of two of her children). A child born out of wedlock may be legitimated in Monaco: Article 226-9 of the Monegasque Civil Code specifies that "the legitimization can benefit all children born out of wedlock provided that, by voluntary acknowledgement or by court judgement, their parentage has been lawfully established with regard to their two parents". The law of the principality stipulates, however, that a child of the reigning prince born out-of-wedlock may only inherit the throne if he weds the child's mother.
On 26 October 2006, Albert II gave an interview to USA television personality Larry King during which he said his children would not be in line for the Monegasque throne but that they would be taken care of financially. They are also heirs to Prince Albert's personal fortune, estimated at more than one billion dollars. Due to the accession of Monaco to the Council of Europe on 5 October 2004, the European Convention on Human Rights regulates inheritance rights, in addition to the laws of Monaco, which also guarantees familial inheritance for children born out of wedlock.
Coste has two older half-brothers who live with their father, Nicole's ex-husband, in South America. He lives in France with his mother. They share an estate provided and secured by his father near Monaco (Villefranche-sur-Mer). He has an older half-sister, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who resides in the United States. He is the older half-brother of Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco and Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès.
Illegitimate children are nothing new in the Princely Family of Monaco — in every generation for the last 100 years a Grimaldi has had an acknowledged illegitimate child. Some of these have obtained succession rights through legitimation or adoption, including Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois, an illegitimate child who was adopted by her own father, and who then ceded her succession rights to her son Rainier, 30 May 1944. Prince Rainier III made obtaining succession rights in this manner impossible for the illegitimate children of his son Albert by adopting a new constitutional amendment in 2002, which limited the succession to direct, legitimate issue.
|Ancestors of Alexandre Coste|
References and notes
- Bremner, Charles. (1 June 2006) ‘Careless’ Prince recognises second illegitimate child. The Times.
- Lichfield, John (6 May 2005). "The Monegasque succession". The Independent (London, UK).