Curse of the Grimaldi marriage? Albert of Monaco's ancestor 'jinxed'

A curse on the House of Grimaldi? Monaco’s royal bloodline was ‘jinxed with unhappy marriages’ by a woman kidnapped by Rainier I in the 13th century, Spanish magazine claims – as Albert and Charlene remain apart

  • Monaco’s royal family has suffered tragic deaths, sudden divorces and scandals 
  • This is all because of the ‘curse of the Grimaldis’ – or so the rumours often claim 
  • Legend has it that in the 13th century, Rainier I kidnapped a Flemish woman
  • She took her revenge by cursing him and his House of Grimaldi descendants

Monaco’s royal family has suffered tragic deaths, sudden divorces and headline-grabbing paternity claims all because of the ‘curse of the Grimaldis’ – or so the rumours claim.

Legend has it that in the 13th century, Rainier I kidnapped a beautiful Flemish maiden, who took her revenge by cursing him and his descendants – which includes the current head of the House of Grimaldi Prince Albert II.

‘Never will a Grimaldi find happiness in marriage,’ she is supposed to have uttered, while others believe a witch being burnt at the stake said those scathing words, according to Spanish magazine Vanidades.

Looking at the marital woes experienced by certain members of the household, it’s no surprise that the story of the curse is still told.

Albert, 63, and his wife Princess Charlene, 43, have yet to be reunited in Monaco following news earlier in the year that the prince is facing a paternity suit over a love child born in the early years of their relationship. 

The couple, who share six-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, are set to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary next week, but Charlene is believed to still be in South Africa on a conservation trip.

Albert, who already supports two illegitimate children, isn’t the only one of Prince Rainier III and Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly’s brood to be unlucky in love; their youngest Princess Stephanie wed her bodyguard Daniel Ducruet for just a year.

But it’s not only marriages which the curse supposedly impacts, with some believing it’s gone beyond its original scope following the tragedies suffered by the Grimaldis, namely Princess Grace’s death from a car crash in 1982 at the age of 52.

Here, FEMAIL reveals the turbulent marriages that could’ve been ‘cursed’… 


Prince Albert with six-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques in May, 2021

Princess Charlene (pictured) is believed to still be in South Africa on a conservation trip

Prince Albert, 63, and his wife Princess Charlene, 43, who are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary next week, met in 2000 at a Monaco aquatic competition.

The princess, whose maiden name was Charlene Wittstock, was an Olympic swimmer for South Africa at the time.

They began dating soon afterwards, before Charlene married into the House of Grimaldi at a star-studded ceremony in July 2011.

But it supposedly wasn’t a fairy tale wedding, with Princess Charlene said to have bolted two days before her royal nuptials.

It was alleged that Charlene tried to flee home to South Africa three times before her ‘arranged marriage’, at one point taking refuge inside her country’s embassy in Paris.

Monaco officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the Prince and his reluctant bride that she provide him with a legitimate heir. After that she would be free to leave of her own free will.

During the wedding, Charlene was in floods of tears, while her husband looked on impassively. Later in the year, Princess Charlene confessed she felt ‘very lonely’ in Monaco.

Their twins – daughter Gabriella and son Jacques – were born three years later and are seen as the family’s official heirs, despite Albert supporting two illegitimate children.

When did Princess Charlene travel to South Africa and when was she last seen with her husband? 

January 27 – Charlene is pictured with Albert for the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco.  

March 18 – Charlene is pictured at the  memorial for the late Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini at the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, South Africa,

April 2 – Charlene posts an Instagram picture of herself, Albert and their twins Jacques and Gabriella for Easter.

It is unknown where the image was taken.

May 8 – Albert, Jacques and Gabriella attend a Grand Prix event in Monaco.

May 10 – Albert attends Monaco Gala Awards in Monaco.

May 18 – Charlene shares her first picture from her conservation trip in South Africa.

June 1 – Prince Albert II, Jacques and Gabriella attend event at Oceanic Museum in Monaco. 

June 3 – New photos emerge of Charlene on her conservation trip.

June 5- Charlene puts on a united front as she shares a photo with her family to mark her niece’s fifth birthday with her brother’s family and Albert and the twins. It is not known where the pictured was taken.

In May 2005, just before he was enthroned as Prince of Monaco, Albert confirmed he was the biological father of Alexandre, whose mother was Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo.

A DNA test in May 2006 also confirmed Albert was the father of Jazmine Grace, the result of an affair with Tamara Rotolo, an American estate agent he met while she was on holiday in the South of France.

Meanwhile, reports emerged earlier this year that the prince is now facing a paternity suit over a third love child born in the early years of his relationship with Charlene. 

The prince is alleged to have had a relationship with a Brazilian woman which resulted in a daughter in 2005. 

The claim, which his lawyers dismissed as a ‘hoax’, is particularly painful as he was dating Charlene at the time.

The 34-year-old claimant – who cannot be named for legal reasons – says she had a passionate affair with Albert, leading to the birth of their daughter – whose name is also classified – on July 4, 2005.

Albert received a handwritten letter from the child, who is now 15, in September last year reading: ‘I don’t understand why I grew up without a father, and now that I have found you, you don’t want to see me.’

Legal papers were also filed, as lawyers for the claimant called on Albert to undergo a DNA test – just as he did before finally being identified as the father of two illegitimate children born in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

In January, Charlene spoke publicly for the first time since the allegations, telling Point de Vue: ‘When my husband has problems, he tells me about it. 

‘I often tell him, “No matter what, no matter what, I’m a thousand percent behind you. I’ll stand by you whatever you do, in good times or in bad.”

The mother-of-two went on to say she also often tells her husband she will ‘protect him’ and will ‘always be by his side.’ 

But Charlene has not been pictured publicly with her husband since late January.  She reportedly travelled to South Africa on a conservation trip in mid-March, with Albert and their children flying to visit her earlier this month. 

The former Olympian, who debuted a radical new hairstyle while on the trip, had been due to return to Monaco for the principality’s Grand Prix in May, where she was guest of honour. 

It is understood that Charlene, 43, remains in South Africa after being struck down with an ear, nose and throat infection ‘that does not allow her to travel’. 


In France, Princess Caroline met and married, much to her parents’ dismay, a French playboy named Philippe Junot (pictured) in 1978

The eldest of Grace Kelly’s children, Princess Caroline’s love life has unfortunately been filled with tragedy.

After her mother’s sudden death, the royal stepped up as the de facto first lady of Monaco, according to The Mirror, and went on to study philosophy, psychology and biology at the Sorbonne in Paris.

In France, she met and married, much to her parents’ dismay, a French playboy named Philippe Junot in 1978.

The princess bride was just 21, while the groom was 17 years older. After two tumultuous years, they divorced.

In 1983, she married Stefano Casiraghi, son of an Italian businessman. They had three children – Andrea, Pierre and Charlotte

But tragedy struck for the princess again after Stefano died in a speedboat crash off the Monaco coast in 1990.

Today, the royal is separated from her third husband, Prince Ernst-August of Hanover, who she married in 1999. Their daughter, Princess Alexandra, was born six months later.

Today, the royal is separated from her third husband, Prince Ernst-August of Hanover (pictured together)

Known for his tempestuous nature, Ernst August of Hanover, the great-grandson of Emperor William II, and Princess Caroline separated in 2009.

The Hanoverians trace their lineage to the Welfs, also known as the Guelphs, who were once one of the foremost medieval dynasties in Europe.

They ruled over large swathes of what became southern Germany and northern Italy, including Tuscany, Bavaria and Saxony.

Later, they were the electors and kings of Hanover and ruled Britain and Ireland from when George I ascended to the throne in 1714 to the start of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837, at which point the personal union with the United Kingdom ended.

In 1866 they lost their last German royal title. 


Princess Stephanie (pictured with her first husband in 1996), now 56, became involved with her former bodyguard, Daniel Ducruet in 1991

1950s acting icon Grace Kelly died in September 1982 after driving around a hairpin curve in Monaco and crashing, with her 17-year-old daughter Stephanie in the vehicle.

Princess Stephanie, now 56, suffered greatly after the incident, and was hounded over false reports which suggested she had been behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

Dubbed the wild child of the family, she has been through a series of scandalous romances.

In 1991, she became involved with her former bodyguard, Daniel Ducruet, and the pair had two children – Louis and Pauline – before marrying in 1995.

It’s reported that Princess Stephanie’s father was reluctant to give his consent, and it appears the parent knew best.

A year after walking down the aisle, the marriage was left in tatters when Stephanie’s husband was caught cavorting with a woman who had previously won the title Miss Topless Belgium.

In 2003, the royal wed a Portuguese circus acrobat Adans Lopez Peres (pictured together) – a marriage which also ultimately ended in divorce less than a year later

In 1998, Stephanie welcomed a daughter, Camille, but controversy surrounded her birth after the princess failed to disclose who the father was.

As such, Camille is not included in the line to the Monegasque throne, unlike her brother Louis Robert and her sister Pauline Grace.

Camille herself has identified former palace security guard Jean Raymond Gottlieb, who is understood to have been head of Stephanie’s security detail when they started a relationship, as her father in a gushing birthday post shared on Instagram in 2017.

Although Camille shares Gottlieb’s surname, his name is not on her birth certificate and Stephanie has never publicly confirmed that he is Camille’s father.

In 2001, Stephanie famously eloped with an elephant trainer, along with her three children, before returning to Monaco.

The relationship came to an abrupt end and, two years later, she wed a Portuguese circus acrobat Adans Lopez Peres – a marriage which also ultimately ended in divorce less than a year later.


Yet it’s not only the recent generation which has been unlucky in love; Princess Grace’s parents-in-law, Count Pierre de Polignac and Princess Charlotte (pictured in 1925) had an unhappy 10-year marriage

Yet it’s not only the recent generation which has been unlucky in love; Princess Grace’s parents-in-law, Count Pierre de Polignac and Princess Charlotte had an unhappy 10-year marriage.

Princess Charlotte wed Pierre in 1920, and the couple had two children, including Albert II’s father Prince Rainier, born in 1923.

They welcomed their second child, Princess Antoinette Louise Alberte Suzanne in December 1920.

Educated and high-born, Pierre, who was selected by her father Prince Louis II, should have been a model husband, having been close in age to Charlotte and fond of the arts.

However, it soon became clear that Pierre was homosexual, according to 9Honey.

The couple quietly split in the mid-1920s, with Pierre wanting his sexuality to be kept a secret, before they later officially divorced in 1930.

Princess Charlotte reportedly engaged in several affairs during their relationship, even moving in with one of her lovers after separating from Pierre.


Princess Charlotte’s father Louis II of Monaco’s (pictured) love life was equally filled with drama after having a child out of wedlock with his lover cabaret singer Marie Juliette Louvet

Princess Charlotte’s father Louis II of Monaco’s love life was equally filled with drama after having a child out of wedlock with his lover cabaret singer Marie Juliette Louvet.

He met Marie Juliette while stationed in Algeria, having enrolled in the prestigious Saint-Cyr military college and later served with the French Foreign Legion.

Although the couple never married, he had a child with her, Charlotte Louise Juliette, who was born on 30 September 1898 in Constantine, Algeria.

Serving with the French Army from 1895 to 1899, he returned to Monaco at the end of his service without Marie Juliette or Charlotte.

But in 1911, amid fears over a constitutional crisis about succession, Prince Louis’s daughter Charlotte was recognised as his heir.

However, legally it was ruled unconstitutional, and it was only in 1919 when Prince Louis adopted his daughter after the laws were changed to allow it, that she became his official heir.

Then known as Princess Charlotte of Monaco and Duchess of Valentinois, she later renounced her claim to the throne in favour of her son Prince Rainier III, who became the monarch following the death of Prince Louis II on 9 May 1949.

In his later life, Prince Louis II spent most of his time in Paris at his family’s estate alongside his wife Ghislaine Dommanget, whom he married in Monaco in 1946. 


Prince Albert I of Monaco and Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton (pictured), who was born on December 11, 1850, at Hamilton Palace in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, were married for only a year when she fled

It’s perhaps no surprise that Prince Louis II relationship didn’t last long, since he didn’t have the best model for a successful marriage when growing up.

His parents Prince Albert I of Monaco and Lady Mary Victoria Hamilton, who was born on December 11, 1850, at Hamilton Palace in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, were married for only a year when she fled.

From a well-connected family, Lady Mary Victoria’s father was the 11th Duke of Hamilton and her mother was Princess Marie Amelie of Baden. 

Through her mother, Lady Mary Victoria was a third cousin of Emperor Napoleon III of France and first cousin of Queen Carola of Saxony, Queen Stephanie of Portugal, King Carol I of Romania, and Princess Marie, Countess of Flanders (mother to King Albert I of Belgium).

Prince Albert’s mother dreamed of forming a union with the British Royal family through her son’s nuptials, but when that wasn’t possible, she turned to Napoleon who suggested his cousin Lady Mary Victoria.

Neither Lady Mary Victoria or Prince Albert were enthusiastic about the match, but after first meeting at a ball in August 1869 held by Napoleon, the couple were married on 21 September 1869.

They honeymooned in Baden-Badeny, with the terrible weather and war between France and Prussia looming, surely a sign for the terrible married future waiting for them.

Mary Victoria, then 19, soon discovered she was pregnant and returned to Monaco with her husband, but the lack of attention she received from him had her fleeing the nation with her mother.    

On 12 July 1870, she gave birth to a son who was christened Louis. Albert did not go to see his firstborn and instead signed up with the French Navy as war was declared.

For five years, Albert and Mary Victoria did not have any contact and she soon fell in love with a Hungarian Count named Tassilo Festetics de Tolna, who she would later marry and have four children with.

Mary Victoria refused to see her first husband and eventually asked the Vatican for an annulment of their marriage, which was granted on 28 July 1880.

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