Looking back at a year of Prince Rainier III centenary celebrations

In honour of the final meeting of the Committee for the Commemorations of the Centenary of the Birth of Prince Rainier III on 20th February, we take a look back at the main events that punctuated a very special year for Monaco.

It has been a full nine months of homages, dedications and celebrations of the late Prince Rainier III in commemoration of what would have been his 100th birthday. The events have run the gamut between intimate, solemn, fun-filled and deeply touching with one thing abundantly clear throughout – the trailblazing and extremely modern Prince, who reigned for 56 years, was much-adored by his people and his family.

As it all comes to a close, Monaco Life is looking back on the standout celebrations and events held in tribute to this extraordinary man.

Official celebrations in the Palace Square. Photo source: Prince’s Palace

The kick off

The celebrations started on 31st May 2023, what would have been Prince Rainier’s 100th birthday, with a party at the Prince’s Palace on the Rock. Music, dancing and general merriment punctuated the all-day and evening event and a showcase of vehicles from the Rainier-inspired Prince’s Car Collection were trotted out, with some members of the Princely family taking turns behind the wheel.

Prince Albert, Princess Charlene and their children in a car from the Prince’s Car Collection, a project initiated by Prince Rainier III, on 31st May 2023. Photo source: Prince’s Palace

The commemorations continued with a series of lectures, films, exhibitions and concerts, including a gala hosted by the Rainier III Academy on 14th June featuring students accompanied by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra.

This was followed in July by the premiere of a documentary by Yann-Antony Noghes called Rainier III par Lui-Même and an exhibition entitled Rainer III, The Builder Prince, tracking the Prince’s commitment to modernising his state: physically, politically and economically.

Prince Albert with Princess Stephanie, her son Louis Ducruet and Lara Terlizzi-Enza, Director of the Office of Postage Stamp Issues, during the presentation of the €50 gold commemorative coin. Photo credit: Frederic Nebinger, Communication Department

Some other highlights include the minting of a €2 coin, as well as a €50 gold commemorative coin in his honour, musical shows featuring classical music and his beloved jazz, performances of his favourite ballets by the Ballets de Monte-Carlo, and a fun and well-received window decoration competition.

One of the biggest events was the Bal du Centenaire at the Casino on 20th October. Prince Albert and Princess Stephanie headed up the gala evening, that included a private performance by Leona Lewis on the stage of the Opera de Monte-Carlo.

Prince Albert II and Princess Stephanie dancing at the Centenary Ball in the Opera Garnier of the Casino de Monte-Carlo. Photo source: Monte-Carlo SBM

In November, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene inaugurated two canons from 1881 that have been recommissioned specially to mark the centenary of the birth of the late Prince Rainier III.

As 2023 came to an end, the annual Christmas Village, this year entitled Rainier III, Passionate Prince, was dedicated to him as well, featuring scenes decorated with photos of the Prince enjoying the things he loved most: motor sports, the arts, animals and the sea.

monaco cannons
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene officially inaugurated the recommissioning of two cannons in November. Photo credit: Eric Mathon / Palais Princier de Monaco

But it’s not over just yet. The exhibition Un Prince, Un Musée (One Prince, One Museum) will br running until 31st March at the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology.


Prince Albert and Princess Stéphanie give glimpse into life with father Prince Rainier III

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