In Prince Albert II’s absence, Princess Charlene stepped into the leading role for the traditional Sainte Devote celebrations alongside her children Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
The Princely family – minus the Prince who is under quarantine with Covid – kicked off Thursday evening’s Sainte Devote festivities with the annual arrival of the boat, representing the one that brought the body of Monaco’s patron saint to its shores.
A procession followed to bring the boat to the courtyard in front of the Sainte Devote Chapel, where the Princess, dressed smartly in a black jumper with trousers and a long grey coat, and eight-year-old twins Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, used long red and white candles – the colours of the Principality’s flag – to set the boat alight as tradition dictates.
The spectacle, always something to experience, was made all the more special by seeing it through the eyes of the twins, who looked on in wonder, periodically hugging each other in delight and waving goodbye to the burning vessel.
All eyes then turned to the skies as a magnificent eight-minute show featuring a hundred drones lit up the night with images related to the event.
The celebrations continue on Friday with a high mass held in the Saint’s honour, followed by a church and Princely family processional around the Rock.
Later in the day, from 4pm to 530pm, the Department of Cultural Affairs is organising an organ concert by Silvano Rodi, resident organist at the Church of Sainte Devote, in collaboration with the Diocese of Monaco.
All are welcome, but space is limited.
Photos credit: Eric Mathon, Palais Princier de Monaco