Taken March 12/09 on a gorgeous day in Monaco, a Principality on the south coast of France.
Monaco or Monte Carlo, officially the Principality of Monaco is a small sovereign city-state located in South Western Europe on the northern central coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is surrounded on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Italy. Its area is 2.02 km2 (0.78 sq mi) with an estimated population of almost 33,000.
Monaco is the name of the country and its capital (and only) city. It is famous as a tax haven, and wealthy foreigners make up the majority of the population at approximately 84%.
Monaco is a constitutional monarchy and principality, with Prince Albert II as the head of state. The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco since 1297, and the state’s sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. Despite Monaco being independent, its national defense is the responsibility of France.
Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was re-founded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi (“Il Malizia”, translated from Italian either as “The Malicious One” or “The Cunning One”) and his men captured the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco while he was dressed as a Franciscan monk – a Monaco in Italian, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name.
Rainier III, who ruled until 2005, acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. On April 19, 1956, Prince Rainier married the American actress Grace Kelly.
In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco specified that, should there be no heirs to carry on the Grimaldi dynasty, the principality would still remain an independent nation rather than revert to France. Monaco’s military defence, however, is still the responsibility of France.
On 31 March 2005, Prince Rainier III, too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them to his only son and heir, Prince Albert Alexandre Louis. Prince Rainier died on 6 April 2005, after a reign of 56 years, and his son, by Princess Grace, succeeded him as Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.
Following a period of official mourning, Prince Albert II formally assumed the princely crown on 12 July 2005, in a celebration that began with a solemn Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier.
This artwork is derived from a photograph taken during a tour of Western Europe.
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