Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
January 23, 1957
Currently Known For:
Princess of Hanover
Member of Monaco's royal family
“I never saw my mother in jeans, not even in the country.” Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi was born on January 23, 1957 as the eldest child of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and his wife, actress Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. Immediately upon her birth, Caroline was the heir presumptive to the throne until her younger brother, Prince Albert II, was born on March 14, 1958 and assumed the title. Upon their father’s death in 2005, Prince Albert II became the reigning monarch, a title he holds today as the head of the Princely House of Grimaldi.
Caroline enjoyed a well-rounded childhood alongside her brother and younger sister, Stephanie, as the siblings divided their time between the Palace of Monaco and in America where they stayed with their maternal grandparents, John B. Kelly Sr. and Margaret Major, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Even with their lavish upbringing and worldly travels, however, Caroline’s mother made sure her children were grounded and compassionate. In fact, she gave a rare interview in 1982 and praised her daughters for being “warm, bright, amusing, intelligent, and capable… They’re very much in tune with their era. Besides being good students, they are good athletes—excellent skiers and swimmers. Both can cook and sew and play the piano and ride a horse. But, above all, my children are good sports, conscious of their position and considerate of others. They are sympathetic to the problems and concerns in the world today.”
Apart from her worldly travels, Caroline also received the finest education and earned her French baccalaureate degree with honors in 1974. She studied at the St. Mary’s School Ascot and received her degree in philosophy with minors in psychology and biology from Sorbonne University in Paris, France. Upon graduation, she was fluent in French, English, Spanish, German, and Italian, not to mention she’d already found love.
While in Paris, Caroline met and fell in love with Parisian banker and notorious playboy Philippe Junot. With both her father’s and mother’s blessing (albeit with great hesitation), Caroline accepted Junot’s proposal and planned an extravagant royal wedding as the media speculated if the relationship would even survive the summer. Fortunately, it did but not without some hesitation as the couple first exchanged vows in a civil ceremony on June 28, 1978 in Monaco. The following day, they saw their lavish wedding play out with 65 guests in attendance including close family friends like Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, and Cary Grant.
The ceremony itself was stunning but the marriage didn’t last as People magazine reported the first signs of turmoil in August 1980 when Princess Caroline arrived at the lavish Red Cross Ball with her parents instead of her husband. “He was 1,400 miles away in Turkey, traveling with a stunning young brunette he identified as his secretary,” the magazine reported. The following day, the Palace confirmed the rumors of impending divorce as Philippe released his own statement saying, “Everything is finished between Caroline and me. We are both free to do as we please.”
Amid the turmoil of her marriage, Caroline’s father expanded her role in the royal family and appointed her the President of the Monegasque Committee for the International Year of the Child in 1979. After her divorce, she established her own foundation, Jeune J’ecoute, in 1981 and stayed incredibly busy until she found love a second time and was briefly engaged to Robertino Rossellini, the son of Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman. The engagement, however, was short-lived after Caroline met and fell in love with the sportsman heir to an Italian industrial fortune named Stefano Casiraghi, who was three years her junior. Because her first marriage had not yet been annulled by the Roman Catholic Church, their civil ceremony was kept quiet with only 20 guests in attendance on December 29, 1983. Instead of a lavish dress, Caroline wore an elegant beige satin dress and smiled confidently alongside her new husband.
Caroline’s second marriage was well-received by her family and, as their love blossomed, they started a family with the birth of their daughter, Andrea Albert Pierre Casiraghi in June 1984. They welcomed their second child, Charlotte Marie Pomeline Casiraghi, in August 1986, and completed their family of five with the birth of their son, Pierre Rainier Stefano Casiraghi in September 1987. Tragically, the children only knew their father for a few years before he was tragically killed in a speed-boating accident in 1990 at 30 years old.
Left to raise her children as a single mother, Caroline was eventually granted an annulment in June 1992, which led Pope John Paul II to legitimize her children under the church law in February 1993. During this time, she had a brief relationship with French actor Vincent Lindon but didn’t settle down again until 1999 when she married Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick, on January 23rd.
As Caroline and Prince Ernst blended their families together—her three children and his two sons—the Princess of Hanover announced she was pregnant shortly after the honeymoon. On July 20, 1999, the couple welcomed their daughter, Princess Alexandra Charlotte Ulrike Maryam Virginia of Hanover, into the world as the youngest in their family of eight.
Although many hoped Caroline’s third marriage would last, things aren’t looking good for the 61-year-old Princess who has finally gotten tired of dealing with the Prince’s outlandish behavior. Shortly before their wedding, Prince Ernst reportedly assaulted a journalist with an umbrella after he and Princes Caroline returned home from a charity gala. Although he agreed to pay a settlement, Ernst failed to learn his lesson and turned heads in 2000 when he was photographed urinating on the Turkish Pavilion at the Expo 2000 event in Hanover. Accused of insulting the Turkish people, the Prince created a backlash of his own when he sued the magazine (and won) for invasion of privacy. But, his temper tantrum only worsened and, in 2004, he was found guilty of causing serious bodily harm to a German nightclub owner in Kenya.
With such extravagant behavior in public, many have wondered about Prince Ernst’s life behind the scenes with Princess Caroline and their children. However, their official separation in 2009 that led Caroline to return to Monaco spoke volumes about their failing marriage. And, if that didn’t seal the deal, then the four-page photo spread in the January 2010 edition of Paris-Match magazine certainly did the trick. So, what was so scandalous about the story? Prince Ernst was photographed over the Christmas holiday walking in the sand, sunbathing, and kissing his wife on the beach—only the woman wasn’t his wife at all since Caroline was in Switzerland skiing with their children! The publication read, “The Prince and his friend only had eyes for each other,” while other news outlets reported, “Monaco’s First Lady is Being Publicly Duped.”
The affair obviously came as no surprise for Princess Caroline thanks to Prince Ernst’s checkered past of public intoxication, hospitalizations, and alleged infidelity. To avoid confrontation and save their 10-year-old daughter from witnessing another fight, Caroline moved her and her daughter out of their Fountaineblue home while Prince Ernst was away in Libya. With Caroline and Princess Alexandra now settled down in Villa Clos St. Pierre in Monaco, divorce seems inevitable for the Princess of Hanover.
In the meantime, Caroline has resumed many of her royal duties in Monaco and, after serving as the de facto first lady of Monaco since 1982, stepped down in 2011 when her brother married Charlene Wittstock. Today, Caroline continues to attend important social events throughout Monaco and is often spotted at National Day celebrations, the Red Cross Ball, the Formula One competition Monaco Grand Prix, and the annual Rose Ball. She’s also highly involved in philanthropy and the arts and has received the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Charles in addition to being appointed as the Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit.
With her youngest daughter, Princess Alexandra, now 19 years old, Caroline has even more time on her hands and actively works as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Her efforts with UNICEF have also been honored with the Children’s Champion Award and, in 2011, she was honored by the World of Children’s Friends with a special award that highlighted her “tireless endeavors in continuing the organization’s legacy.”