House of Grimaldi
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|House of Grimaldi|
House of Grimaldi-Goyon-Chalencon-Polignac
|Country|| Republic of Genoa |
|Current head||Albert II, Prince of Monaco |
Peter Martin Gort Beaufort Grimaldi, 16th Marquess Grimaldi
|Style(s)||Most Serene Highness|
|Estate(s)||Prince's Palace of Monaco|
|Cadet branches||Grimaldi de Puget|
The House of Grimaldi (// grim-AWL-dee, also UK: /--/ -AL-, US: /--/ -AHL-, Italian: [ɡriˈmaldi]) is associated with the history of the Republic of Genoa, and of the Principality of Monaco. The Grimaldi dynasty is a princely house originating in Genoa, founded by the Genoese leader of the Guelphs, Francesco Grimaldi, who in 1297 took the lordship of Monaco along with his soldiers dressed as Franciscans. In that principality his successors have reigned to the present day. During much of the Ancien Regime the family spent much of its time in the French court, where from 1642 they used their French title of Duke of Valentinois. The current head of the family is Albert II of Monaco, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, son and successor of Prince Rainier III and the princess consort Grace of Monaco, formerly Grace Kelly.
Beginnings in Genoa
The Grimaldis descend from Grimaldo, a Genoese statesman at the time of the early Crusades. He may have been a son of Otto Canella, a consul of the Republic of Genoa in 1133. In turn Grimaldo became a consul in 1160, 1170 and again in 1184. His numerous descendants led maritime expeditions throughout the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and soon the North Sea. They quickly became one of the most powerful families of Genoa.
The Grimaldis feared that the head of a rival Genoese family could break the fragile balance of power in a political coup and become lord of Genoa, as had happened in other Italian cities. They entered into a Guelphic alliance with the Fieschi family and defended their interests with the sword. But the Guelfs were banned from the city in 1271, and took refuge in their castles in Liguria and Provence. They signed a treaty with Charles of Anjou, King of Naples and Count of Provence to retake control of Genoa, and generally to provide mutual assistance. In 1276, they accepted a peace under the auspices of the Pope, which however did not put an end to the civil war. Not all the Grimaldis chose to return to Genoa, as they preferred to settle in their fiefdoms, where they could raise armies.
In 1299, the Grimaldis and their allies launched a few galleys to attack the port of Genoa before taking refuge on the Western Riviera. During the following years, the Grimaldis entered into different alliances that would allow them to return to power in Genoa. This time, it was the turn of their rivals, the Spinola family, to be exiled from the city. During this period, both the Guelphs and Ghibellines took and abandoned the castle of Monaco, which was ideally located to launch political and military operations against Genoa. Therefore, the tale of Francis Grimaldi and his faction — who took the castle of Monaco disguised as friars in 1297 — is largely anecdotal.
In the early 14th century, the Aragonese raided the shores of Provence and Liguria, challenging Genoa and King Robert of Provence. In 1353, the combined fleet of eighty Venetian and Aragonese galleys gathered in Sardinia to meet the fleet of sixty galleys under the command of Anthony Grimaldi. Only nineteen Genoese vessels survived the battle. Fearing an invasion, Genoa rushed to request the protection of the Lord of Milan.
Several of the oldest feudal branches of the House of Grimaldi appeared during these conflicts, such as the branches of Antibes, Beuil, Nice, Puget, and Sicily. In 1395, the Grimaldis took advantage of the discords in Genoa to take possession of Monaco, which they then ruled as a condominium. This is the origin of today's principality.
As was customary in Genoa, the Grimaldis organised their family ties within a corporation called albergo. In the political reform of 1528, the Grimaldi became one of the 28 alberghi of the Republic of Genoa, which included the Doria and Pallavicini families, and to which other families were formally invited to join. The House of Grimaldi provided several doges, cardinals, cabinet ministers, and military officers of historical note.
Provence became a part of the Kingdom of France from 1486, and occasionally the Grimaldi relied upon French support to preserve their independence from the Republic of Genoa and the Duchy of Savoy. In the process they married into the French nobility in the 1600s, inherited French estates, and often lived in Paris, latterly at the Hôtel Matignon, until the French Revolution of 1789. Monaco and the neighbouring County of Nice was taken by the revolutionary army in 1792, and were French-controlled until 1815. Nice passed back to the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1815; then it was ceded to France by the Treaty of Turin (1860). Monaco was re-established by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, with a brief Italian occupation in 1940-43.
By convention, sovereign European houses are reckoned in the male line. Therefore, since 1731, it has been determined genealogically that it was in fact the French noble House of Goyon-Matignon that ruled as Princes of Monaco until 1949. However, one of the terms of James de Goyon de Matignon becoming Prince of Monaco jure uxoris was that he adopt the name and arms of Grimaldi so that the house would be preserved on the throne, and the right of succession was through his wife Louise-Hippolyte Grimaldi, who abdicated in her husband's favour. Similarly, when Charlotte Louvet was legitimised in 1911 and made successor to Monaco, her husband, Count Pierre de Polignac, adopted, as a condition of the marriage, the name and arms of Grimaldi, but from this moment all his direct descendants Grimaldi would also have the title of Counts of Polignac. In this way the "Grimaldi" name and arms were continued. 
Until 2002, a treaty between Monaco and France stated that if the reigning Prince ever failed to leave dynastic offspring, then sovereignty over the Grimaldi realm would revert to France. The 2002 agreement modified this to expand the pool of potential heirs to dynastic collaterals of the reigning Prince (excluding adoptive heirs, hitherto allowed, e.g. Princess Charlotte and her descendants), guaranteeing Monegasque independence. Article I of Monaco's house law requires that the reigning Prince or Princess bear the surname of Grimaldi.
The coat of arms of the House of Grimaldi is simply described as fusily argent and gules, i.e., a red and white diamond pattern, with no further modifiers.
Main living members
- Albert II of Monaco, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, son and successor of Rainier III and Grace Kelly.
- Charlène de Monaco, Princess Consort of Monaco.
- Caroline, Princess of Hanover, Countess of Polignac, older sister of Albert II and Stéphanie.
- Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, Countess of Polignac, younger sister of Albert II and Caroline.
- Christian Louis de Massy, cousin of Albert II. Married four times and with offspring.
Select list of Grimaldis
- Grimaldo Canella, consul of the Republic of Genoa, founder of this House.
- Hubert Grimaldi, first to bear the Grimaldi patronymic name.
- Luca Grimaldi, troubadour and podestà of Milan and Ventimiglia
- Rainier I, lord of Cagnes, admiral of France
- Charles I, lord of Monaco, Cagnes, and Menton
- Anthony, lord of Monaco, admiral of Genoa
- Luc and Marc Grimaldi of Antibes, lords of Menton, Cagnes, and Antibes
- Lamberto Grimaldi and Claudia of Monaco
- Augustin, archbishop
- Nicolas, prince of Salerno
- Louis I, prince of Monaco, ambassador of Louis IV
- Girolamo (died 1543). Created a Cardinal in 1527. He married Francisca Cattaneo of Genoese and had five children. After her death he entered holy orders. He was a Senator of Genoa.
- Domenico, Archbishop of Avignon and uncle of Girolamo Grimaldi-Cavalleroni (see below)
- Girolamo (1597–1683). Cardinal and Archbishop of Aix
- Elena Grimaldi, painted by Anthony van Dyck
- Girolamo (1674–1733). Created a Cardinal 1731
- Alexander, doge of Genoa
- John Baptist, doge of Genoa
- Peter Francis, doge of Genoa
- Honoré II, Prince of Monaco (1597–1662)
- Jacques François Leonor Grimaldi - Prince of Monaco and father of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco
- Nicola (1645–1717) Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of May 17, 1706
- Louise-Hippolyte, Princess of Monaco - mother of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco
- Honoré III, Prince of Monaco (1720–1795)
- Honoré IV, Prince of Monaco (1758–1819)
- Honoré V, Prince of Monaco (1778–1841)
- Florestan I, Prince of Monaco (1785–1856)
- Charles III, Prince of Monaco (1818–1889)
- Albert I, Prince of Monaco (1848–1922)
- Louis II, Prince of Monaco (1870–1949)
- Prince Pierre de Grimaldi, Count of Polignac (1895–1964)
- Rainier III, Prince of Monaco (1923–2005)
- Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi (born 1957)
- Albert II, Prince of Monaco (born 1958)
- Stéphanie Marie Elisabeth Grimaldi (born 1965)
- Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco (born 2014)
- Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès (born 2014)
- Line of succession to the Monegasque throne
- Prince's Palace of Monaco
- Monegasque Princely Family
- House of Goyon de Matignon
- House of Polignac
References and further reading
- Edwards, Anne. The Grimaldis of Monaco. William Morrow, 1992.
- Maclaga, Michael and Louda, Jiri. LINES OF SUCCESSION; Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. MacDonald & Co., 1981; Little, Brown & Co., 1999; Time Warner Books, UK, 2002 ISBN 0-7607-3287-6
- Maurizio Ulino, L'Età Barocca dei Grimaldi di Monaco nel loro Marchesato di Campagna, Giannini editore, Napoli 2008. ISBN 978-88-7431-413-3
- Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage 1990. Page 926