Stefano Casiraghi (in the middle)
8 September 1960|
|Died||3 October 1990
Princess Grace Hospital Centre, Monaco
|Occupation||Chairman, Cogefar France
Founder/Majority shareholder, Engeco
World Offshore Champion
|Known for||Son-in-law of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco|
|Spouse(s)||Princess Caroline of Monaco
(m. 1983–90; his death)
Stefano Casiraghi (8 September 1960 – 3 October 1990) was an Italian socialite and businessperson. He was the son of Giancarlo Casiraghi and Fernanda Biffi, and became the second husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco.
The son of Giancarlo Casiraghi (d. 1998), a businessperson and Fernanda (née Biffi), Stefano Casiraghi grew up in the Casiraghi family's estate, Villa Cigogne, in Fino Mornasco. He had two brothers, Marco and Daniele (died in 2016), and one sister, Rosalba. He also developed an early passion for the speedboat races on Lake Como. He followed the course of his brothers by enrolling at Milan's Bocconi University. However, his eagerness to work in business was stronger than his wish to have a degree, or his skills to obtain one, and he left the university after only two years of study, to begin to work for his father and his oldest brother, Marco.
He was involved in the real estate and retail export enterprises of the family business that his father had built up. His obituary in The New York Times described him as a financier and said, at his death, Casiraghi was Chairman of "Cogefar France" (a construction subsidiary of Fiat). The same source said he had a majority interest in Engeco, a Monaco-based construction company which he founded in 1984. At the time of his first child's birth, it was said that he was the director of the Christian Dior boutique in Monte Carlo.
A self-styled "throttle man," Casiraghi participated in eighty offshore races during his lifetime. Over a 20-year career, he won a dozen of those competitions and, at the time of his death, was the world champion of offshore speedboat racing, including the World Championship held off the coast of Atlantic City in 1989. Casiraghi had set the record (since broken) for 172 mph on Lake Como in 1984. It is a very dangerous sport, but as Casiraghi once said, "There are more dangerous sports and I believe one should live life to the fullest."
Marriage and family
On 29 December 1983 in Monaco, he and Princess Caroline married in a civil ceremony in the Hall of Mirrors of the Monegasque Princely Palace. They were not able to have a Catholic ceremony because Caroline had been divorced from Philippe Junot, and an annulment had not yet been obtained. However, as Caroline was over three months pregnant, the couple did not want to wait any longer.
Her father, Prince Rainier III was by all accounts initially suspicious of his new son-in-law as were many others. The Italian papers called Casiraghi "Carolino" and portrayed him as a mere plaything for his wife.
The couple had three children:
- Andrea Casiraghi, born 8 June 1984.
- Charlotte Casiraghi, born 3 August 1986.
- Pierre Casiraghi, born 5 September 1987.
The children are, respectively, fourth, eighth and seventh in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne, after their twin cousins and their mother. Despite their parents' not having married in the Church as required for legitimacy under church (but not Monagasque) law, they were legitimised by Pope John Paul II in February 1993, eight months after their mother's marriage to Junot was annulled in June 1992.
Casiraghi was killed in an offshore powerboat racing accident off the coast of Monaco near Cap Ferrat on 3 October 1990 while defending his world offshore title. He was 30 years old and had planned to retire after the race. Only weeks earlier, he had escaped death when his boat blew up off the coast of Guernsey.
There were three to four-foot wave conditions on the race course, which caused Casiraghi's 42-foot catamaran, Pinot di Pinot, to flip. Traveling at plus-90 mph, it did not have a full canopy, and experts who studied the accident have said that Casiraghi would most likely have survived the accident had the boat been equipped with such a canopy. As a result of his death, safety laws became more stringent; a safety harness and closed hull became compulsory, as was a twin hull design for boats. Races nowadays take place close to the harbor where waves are gentler, which is policed off for safety reasons as boats are no longer allowed to drive near the course.
Casiraghi's copilot, Patrice Innocenti, survived the accident. He was pulled from the water and taken to Monaco's Princess Grace Hospital.
The funeral Mass was held in Monaco's Cathedral of St. Nicholas exactly eight years after Princess Grace's funeral in the same place.
- Biographie de Stefano Casiraghi.
- Reed, J.D.; Joel Stratte-McClure and Logan Bentley. "Another Tragedy for Monaco", People, 15 October 1990. Accessed 7 June 2010
- Fowler, Glenn. Stefano Casiraghi, 30, Husband of Caroline of Monaco, is killed, The New York Times, 4 October 1990. Accessed 7 June 2010.
- Private Lives, published by Oxmoor House, 1991. ISBN 978-0-8487-1024-8
- Kurth, Peter. "In the House of Grimaldi", Cosmopolitan.
- Tarraborelli, J. Randy :Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier . Warner Books, 2004. ISBN 978-0-446-61380-4