Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois

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Princess Charlotte
Duchess of Valentinois
Princess Charlotte of Monaco.jpg
Born(1898-09-30)30 September 1898
Constantine, French Algeria
Died15 November 1977(1977-11-15) (aged 79)
Paris, France
Chapel of Peace, Monaco
Count Pierre de Polignac
(m. 1920; div. 1933)
IssuePrincess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy
Prince Rainier III, Prince of Monaco
Full name
Charlotte Louise Juliette
FatherLouis II, Prince of Monaco
MotherMarie Juliette Louvet

Princess Charlotte of Monaco, Duchess of Valentinois (Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi; 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 Louis Grimaldi, then Hereditary Prince of Monaco and Duke of Valentinois, son and heir of Monaco's reigning prince, Albert I. Louis had no legitimate children or siblings, so even before he succeeded his father as Prince Louis II the principality sought to forestall a succession crisis, anticipating that its neighbor, the Republic of France, might take it amiss if the throne fell someday to Louis's legal next of kin. That heir was his cousin Wilhelm, 2nd Duke of Urach who, although born and raised in Monte Carlo as the son of Princess Florestine of Monaco, was a German subject, property owner and patrilineal relative of the kings of Württemberg. On 15 May 1911 a law was passed recognizing Charlotte as Louis's daughter, and declaring her to be a dynastic member of the sovereign family. Though this act was later held to be invalid under the 1882 statutes, an Ordinance of 30 October 1918 was passed to allow her to be adopted into the dynasty instead. Louis adopted Charlotte in Paris on 16 May 1919, thereby entitling her to the surname Grimaldi, while her grandfather bestowed upon her the traditional title of the princedom's heir, Duchess of Valentinois, for life. Charlotte became heir presumptive to the throne as Hereditary Princess when her grandfather died and her father inherited the princely crown in 1922.

Legality of adoption[edit]

A shadow of doubt existed over the legality of this adoption. The Monegasque Civil Code (Articles 240 and 243) required that the adopting party be at least of age 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; Louis was then only 48.


In Monaco civilly on 18 March and religiously on 19 March 1920, Louis arranged Charlotte's marriage to Count Pierre de Polignac of Hennebont, 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 due to his homosexuality, and Charlotte left him to live with her doctor and Italian lover, Dalmazzo.[1] 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 title Princess Charlotte of Monaco.

Late in life she went to college, obtaining a degree in social work. After her son assumed the throne (in 1949), Princess Charlotte moved to live at Château de Marchais, the Grimaldi estate outside 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).[citation needed]

She died in 1977 in Paris.

Titles, styles and honours[edit]


  • 30 September 1898 – 18 July 1911: Charlotte Louise Juliette de Monaco
  • 18 July 1911 – 15 November 1911: Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi de Monaco
  • 15 November 1911 – 16 May 1919: Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi de Monaco, Mademoiselle de Valentinois[2]
  • 16 May 1919 – 1 August 1922: Her Serene Highness The Duchess of Valentinois[3]
  • 1 August 1922 – 30 May 1944: Her Serene Highness The Hereditary Princess of Monaco[4]
  • 30 May 1944 – 15 November 1977: Her Serene Highness Princess Charlotte of Monaco[5]


National honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]


  • Princess Charlotte owned one of the largest jewel collections, which was passed on and is still worn by her granddaughter, Princess Caroline of Monaco.
  • Her great granddaughter Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline, was named after her.



  1. ^ Vanity
  2. ^ "Journal 2797 / Année 1911 / Journaux / Accueil" (in French). Journal de Monaco. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Journal 3193 / Année 1919 / Journaux / Accueil" (in French). Journal de Monaco. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Journal 3370 / Année 1922 / Journaux / Accueil" (in French). Journal de Monaco. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Journal 4523 / Année 1944 / Journaux / Accueil" (in French). Journal de Monaco. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Princess Charlotte Grimaldi-Polignac | Wedding Grace Kelly". 19 April 1956. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Photographic image : Princess Charlotte wearing honours" (JPG).\accessdate=2017-03-06.
  8. ^ "Photographic image" (PNG). Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Photographic image". Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Charlotte Louvet (1898–1977), princesse de Monaco, duchesse de Valentinois, fille du prince Louis II de Monaco, femme du comte Pierre de Polignac, …". Retrieved 6 March 2017.

External links[edit]

Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois
Born: 30 September 1898 Died: 15 November 1977
Monegasque royalty
Preceded by
Hereditary Princess of Monaco
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Duchess of Valentinois