is something of an anomaly in today’s democratic world.
Monarchies worldwide have either dissolved completely or they
have seen their once absolute power reduced to ceremonial
titles. But the Principality of Monaco presses on, with the
Grimaldi Dynasty having been in control of these 370 acres
since 1297. Although France did manage to annex Monaco in the
late 1700’s, the Grimaldi family recovered rule in 1814.
Prince Rainier III is the current ruler of
Monaco. His marriage to famous actress Grace Kelly in 1956 was
a worldwide event, and elevated Monaco to a sort of
fantasyland, with storybook romances and a jolly ruler.
Princess Grace had three children, Princess Caroline, Prince
Albert, and Princess Stephanie. Grace died tragically in a car
accident in 1982, and the mere mention of the accident still
conjures up painful memories for locals.
Of particular concern to the people of
Monaco is the bachelor status of Prince Albert. A treaty
signed almost 100 years ago states that Monaco would become a
territory under French protection if the ruling family were to
run out of heirs. Albert is still not married, which has the
locals a little nervous.
all of the country’s economy is centered around gambling and
tourism. Not surprisingly, the economy is doing fine. Mercedes
and BMW’s are common here, and the public transportation
system is flush with electronic displays keeping track of the
buses and trains. Even the train station in Monte Carlo would
pass as a tourist attraction in some places. There is no
income tax in Monaco, which has made the Principality the
chosen home of many of the world’s wealthiest people.