Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois

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Princess Charlotte
Duchess of Valentinois
Princess Charlotte of Monaco.jpg
Spouse Count Pierre de Polignac
Issue Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy
Rainier III, Prince of Monaco
Full name
Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi
House House of Grimaldi
Father Louis II, Prince of Monaco
Mother Marie Juliette Louvet
Born (1898-09-30)30 September 1898
Constantine, French Algeria
Died 15 November 1977(1977-11-15) (aged 79)
Paris, France
Burial Chapel of Peace, Monaco

Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois (Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi de Monaco; 30 September 1898 – 15 November 1977), was the daughter of Louis II, Prince of Monaco, and the mother of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco. From 1922 until 1944, she was the Hereditary Princess of Monaco, heir presumptive to the throne.

Birth and adoption[edit]

Born Charlotte Louise Juliette de Monaco in Constantine, French Algeria, she was the illegitimate daughter of Marie Juliette Louvet, a cabaret singer, and Prince Louis II. On the death of Prince Louis II, theretofore without a legitimate heir, the throne of Monaco was due to pass to Wilhelm, the German 2nd Duke of Urach, Louis II's cousin, a son of Princess Florestine of Monaco; to forestall this event, on 15 May 1911 a law was passed recognizing Charlotte as Louis's daughter, and making her a member of the sovereign family. Though it was later held to be invalid under the 1882 statutes, an Ordinance of 30 October 1918 allowed her to be adopted. Louis legitimated and adopted Charlotte in Paris on 16 May 1919, bestowing on her the surname Grimaldi and granted her the title Duchess of Valentinois for life; she was thus his heir presumptive as Hereditary Princess from 1922 until 30 May 1944 (see below).

Legality of adoption[edit]

A shadow of doubt exists over the legality of this adoption. The Monegasque Civil Code (Articles 240 and 243) required that the adopting party to be at least fifty and the adoptee twenty-one. The 1918 Ordinance changed the age limit to eighteen (Charlotte was twenty at the time) but not the other age limit and Louis was only 48.

Marriage[edit]

In Monaco civilly on 18 March and religiously on 19 March 1920, Louis arranged Charlotte's marriage to Count Pierre de Polignac of Guidel, Morbihan, Brittany, France who, by the Prince's ordinance, took the surname Grimaldi and became a Prince of Monaco. The couple had two children:

Their marriage was not, however, a happy one; they separated on 20 March 1930 when Charlotte left him to live with her Italian lover, Del Masso. The couple were divorced on 18 February 1933 by ordinance of Prince Louis II.

Late life[edit]

On 30 May 1944, the day before her son's 21st birthday and in full agreement with her father, Charlotte renounced and ceded her rights to the throne to her son Rainier, subject to the stipulation that he did not predecease her. From this date she was no longer Hereditary Princess of Monaco, though she retained the titles of Princess of Monaco and Duchess of Valentinois.

Late in life she went to college, obtaining a degree in social work. After her son assumed the throne, Princess Charlotte moved to live at Le Marchais, the Grimaldi estate outside of Paris. Despite the objections of her children who feared for her safety, she turned the estate into a rehabilitation centre for ex-convicts. She lived at the estate with her lover, a noted French former jewel thief named René Girier and nicknamed "René la Canne" (René the Cane).

In 1977, Princess Charlotte died in Paris, France.

Titles and honours[edit]

Titles
  • 30 September 1898 – 30 October 1918: Miss Charlotte Louise Juliette Louvet
  • 30 October 1918 – 28 May 1922: Her Serene Highness Princess Charlotte of Monaco, The Duchess of Valentinois
  • 28 May 1922 – 30 May 1944: Her Serene Highness Princess Charlotte, The Hereditary Princess of Monaco, The Duchess of Valentinois[1]
  • 30 May 1944 – 15 November 1977: Her Serene Highness Princess Charlotte of Monaco, The Duchess of Valentinois
National honours
Foreign honours

Legacy[edit]

  • Princess Charlotte owned on of the biggest jewel collections, which were passed on and are still worn by her granddaughter Princess Caroline of Monaco.
  • Her great granddaughter Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline was named after her.
  • Princess Charlotte's recognition as heiress made it easier for her female descendants to ascend to the throne of Monaco

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois
Born: 30 September 1898 Died: 15 November 1977
Preceded by
Louis
Hereditary Princess of Monaco
1922–1944
Succeeded by
Rainier
Preceded by
Albert
Duchess of Valentinois
1919–1977