Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, dressed in bright green outfits, have celebrated their Irish roots with their father Prince Albert at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco.
The library hosted the special event on Wednesday 16th March, a day early, with pupils from the music academy ‘Fondation Prince Rainier III de Monaco’ and Director Jade Sapolin. A harpist, three harpsichordists and a singer regaled the audience with traditional Irish airs, including the famous Molly Malone tune, music by Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan, and arrangements by Janet Harbison, Ireland’s award-winning ‘Queen of the Harp’.
The afternoon ended with a presentation of apple tarts, decorated with shamrocks, made by pupils from the Lycée Technique and Hôtelier de Monaco.
Guests also viewed a photo exhibition of the 2021 visit to Ireland by Prince Albert and his children, which has been extended until 30th April. Director of the Library Paula Farquharson recalled that the trip included a ceremony at Trinity College Dublin, where a frieze was unveiled with the name of H.S.H. Prince Albert II as a benefactor. The Prince’s donation contributes to the restoration project of Trinity’s ‘Old Library’. A working library since 1732, it is home to over 200,000 ancient books, including the celebrated ‘Book of Kells’.
On the official St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday 17th March, the library is hosting a pop-up for visitors, who are encouraged to soak up the Irish ambiance, view the collection, listen to traditional Irish music, and watch films about Ireland.
The Princess Grace Irish Library was inaugurated on 20th November 1984 by Prince Rainier III of Monaco as a tribute to his wife Princess Grace and the attachment she felt for her Irish origins. Her grandfather John Kelly was born in county Mayo in Ireland in 1847 and, at 20 years of age, set sail for America. Among the library’s collections is Princess Grace’s personal collection of Irish books and Irish-American sheet music, as well as photos and art works.
The library is under the aegis of the Princess Grace Foundation. Caroline Princess of Hanover serves as its president, and Prince Albert II as vice president.