As the centenary celebrations of Prince Rainier’s birth kicks off, Monaco Life takes a look at some of the many accomplishments he achieved during his reign.
Prince Rainer III’s time at the helm of Monaco was exceptional by many standards. The “Builder Prince” stood out for having the longest personal reign of any Monegasque Prince, lasting 56 years (1949-2005), but this was the least of his achievements.
Prince Rainier can be credited with moving the Principality into the future with a series of far-reaching social and governmental ideas, quite literally growing the country through land reclamation, the establishment of a stronger economic base and the creation of events that have stood the test of time.
One of his most note-worthy in a list of note-worthy successes was the creation of a new constitution in 1962, lessening his own power and that of future sovereigns. He also oversaw the abolishment of the death penalty 19 years before Monaco’s closest neighbour of France, saying that it “hindered the administrative and political life of the country”.
The constitution was again revised in 2002. Interestingly, by word count, it is the shortest and most concise working constitution in the world.
He also forged new diplomatic relations with France through the Convention of 1963 and a treaty in 2002, and created better stability for his nation by having Monaco internationally recognised by the United Nations in 1992 and the Council of Europe in 2004.
In his time, he signed 16,726 sovereign ordinances, a significant number by any standard.
Under Prince Rainier, the Principality grew by 31 hectares through land reclamation projects, the largest of which was the development of Fontvieille, which added 21 hectares alone. The other 10 now form the Larvotto beach area.
He also was responsible for taking the train line underground, which saved precious above-ground space. These projects were undertaken in 1964 and again in 1999.
The Prince can also be credited with bringing fun and beauty to the nation, having founded the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo in 1974 and the Monte-Carlo Television Festival in 1961, amongst other events.
He created the Princess Grace Rose Garden as a tribute to his wife, the Zoological Acclimatisation Centre for Animals in 1954, was an avid sailor who believed in environmental protections, and was a member of the International Olympic Committee from 1949 to 1950.
Additionally, he founded the Museum of Stamps and Coins and had a vast collection of rare and classic cars that are now open to the public for viewing.
Photo credit: Palais Princier de Monaco Archives