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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 Grimaldi (born 24 August 2003) is the elder son of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, being the younger of the Prince's two acknowledged illegitimate children. His mother is Nicole Coste, a native of Togo. His paternal half-siblings are Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, also acknowledged but born out of wedlock, and legitimate twins Princess Gabriella of Monaco, Countess of Carladès and Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco.
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. Photographs of the Prince with the child were published in Paris-Match in May 2006 along with an exclusive interview with the boy's mother. Daughter of a merchant in Togo where she grew up, she became a student in France when she was 17. She was a flight attendant on an Air France plane en route from the French Riviera to Paris in July 1997 when Albert, a passenger, asked for her phone number, subsequently engaging in a relationship with her for several years until, allegedly, Albert's father, Prince Rainier III, demanded that he end the affair. Coste told Paris-Match that she became pregnant only after a visit to celebrate her 31st birthday turned into a tryst. Albert provided for and visited mother and child promising, according to Coste, to legally acknowledge the child after a DNA test confirmed his paternity. When he did not do so, Coste offered the interview and photographs to the media. Albert made no public comment on the change at that time, being in official mourning following the death of his father and preoccupied with the duties which fell to him upon accession to the throne of Monaco. Although he successfully sued the magazine for invasion of his privacy, he did acknowledge paternity of the child in a statement issued by his attorney, Thierry Lacoste, on 6 July 2005. In an April 2014 interview Nicole Coste noted that she had legally changed Alexandre's surname to Grimaldi, the dynastic name used by the princely family.
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: Upon joining the Council of Europe on 5 October 2004, Monaco became subject to the European Convention on Human Rights regulations on inheritance rights, in addition to its own national laws, which 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. Eric Alexandre lives in France with his mother where they share ownership with his father of an estate, (Villefranche-sur-Mer), near Monaco.
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
- Smith, Craig S. New York Times Prince of Monaco Acknowledges Son by French-Togolese Woman. 7July 2005.
- 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).