Birthday: May 31, 1923
Died At Age: 81
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand
Born in: Monaco-Ville
Famous as: Monarch
Emperors & Kings
Spouse/Ex-: Gisèle Pascal, Grace Kelly
father: Prince Pierre, Duke of Valentinois
mother: Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois
siblings: Baroness of Massy, Princess Antoinette
children: Albert II, Caroline, Prince of Monaco, Princess of Hanover, Princess Stéphanie of Monaco
Died on: April 6, 2005
place of death: Monaco
education: University of Montpellier
Who was Rainier III, Prince of Monaco?
Prince Rainier III, also known as Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi was the ruler of Monaco for nearly 56 years. He was one of the longest reigning monarchs in European history. Prince Rainier Grimaldi was born in Monte Carlo, Monaco and his parents got divorced when he was a child. He stayed with his mother who was the only child of Louis II of Monaco and the sole successor to the Monegasque throne. After studying in the finest schools of England and Switzerland, he went on to complete his graduation from France and also served during the World War II, fighting against the Nazi occupation. Subsequently, his mother renounced her right to become the princess and after his grandfather’s death, he was crowned as His Serene Highness Rainier III, Sovereign Prince of Monaco. After ascending the throne, he worked assiduously and launched initiatives to revive the economy of Monaco which had been weakened since the World War II. He was also responsible for implementing reforms in Monaco's constitution and expanding its economy. Later, he became internationally known due to his fairy-tale marriage with the American movie star, Grace Kelly. But, after Kelly’s tragic death in an automobile accident, he buried himself in his work and led a solitary life, refusing to marry again. After fighting a long illness in his old age, he died at the age of 81, and was buried next to his late wife.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born as Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi, on May 31, 1923, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, to Prince Pierre, Duke of Valentinois, and his wife, Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois. He had an elder sister, Princess Antoinette, Baroness of Massy.
His mother was born out of wedlock and was the only child of Prince Louis II of Monaco. She was later legitimized and subsequently named heiress-presumptive to the throne of Monaco. Rainier’s parents got divorced when he was six years old.
He received his early education from prestigious public schools in England and later studied in Switzerland. In 1943, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Montpellier in France.
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Ascension & Reign
In 1944, during the World War II, Prince Rainier III joined the Free French Army as an artillery officer and fought against the Nazi occupation of France. The same year, his mother ceded her rights to the Monegasque throne and Rainier became the direct successor of Prince Louis II of Monaco.
On May 9, 1949, Prince Rainier became the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, after the death of Prince Louis II of Monaco. He ruled for more than 50 years, becoming one of the longest-serving heads of state in the European history.
After ascending the throne, Rainier worked tirelessly to revive Monaco's economy, which was in terrible condition at the time. He collaborated with the Greek shipping tycoon, Aristotle Onassis, to revive the country’s fortunes.
Rainer also worked to bring new industries and businesses to the principality, luring investors and companies, which benefitted Monaco's economy and helped in reinstating its prosperity over the next few years.
As the Prince of Monaco, he worked hard to revive Monaco’s economy, which had been weakened since the World War II. In order to rebuild the economy, he promoted Monaco as a tax haven, a commercial center, a real-estate development community as well as an international tourist attraction. He also revived the Grand Prix de Monaco, one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world.
Prince Rainier was also responsible for Monaco’s new constitution, introduced in 1962. The new constitution ended autocratic rule and vested power with the prince and a National Council of eighteen elected members..
Awards & Achievements
For his services during the World War II, Prince Rainier III received the War Commemorative Medal from the French Republic.
In 1953, he was conferred with the Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
In 1964, he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint James of the Sword by Portugal.
In Monaco, he was honored with the Grand Master of the Order of the Crown, Grand Master of the Order of Grimaldi, and Grand Master of the Order of Cultural Merit.
He was also commemorated with the Knight Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour by France.
Personal Life & Legacy
In the 1940s and 1950s Rainier was in a relationship with the French film actress, Gisèle Pascal, whom he had met while studying at Montpellier University.
In April 1956, Prince Rainier married the American Oscar-winning actress, Grace Kelly, who was then crowned as the Princess Consort of Monaco. The couple had three children: two daughters, Caroline, Princess of Hanover and Princess Stéphanie, and a son, Albert II, the current Prince of Monaco.
Unfortunately in 1982, Grace died in a car crash after suffering from a stroke while driving, which caused her car to fall off a cliff. Their youngest daughter, Stephanie, survived the accident with serious injuries. After his wife’s death, Prince Rainier never remarried.
In his last years, his health declined as he suffered from lung infections and heart problems.Prince Rainier died on April 6, 2005, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and was buried at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, next to his late wife, Princess Grace.