Tragic Details About Prince Albert Of Monaco

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco (more commonly known as Prince Albert of Monaco) may be at the helm of the second smallest country in the world, but he's one of today's most controversial royals. The only son of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Princess Grace of Monaco – i.e. Oscar-winning actor Grace Kelly – Albert was destined for the throne from the moment he was born. As royal analyst Stephane Bern once told French radio, per ABC News, "He has been brought up to do the job."

Even so, that never stopped the prince from doing things his own way. He first broke tradition by choosing to study in America. Albert graduated from Amherst College in 1981 with a degree in political science, but as he joked with his alma mater's newspaper, The Amherst Student, in 2021, his favorite subject was "human sexuality." Indeed, after leaving school and completing a stint in the French Navy, the royal became known mostly for his sexual exploits.

He didn't ascend to Monaco's throne until 2005 when, at age 47, he officially succeeded his father upon his death. Since then, he's continued to court controversy, as well as hardship. While his life may seem charmed, the truth is Prince Albert of Monaco has dealt with tragedy from a young age, relating to everything from his marriage to his secret children. Here are all the tragic details you may not know.

Prince Albert of Monaco was largely raised by a nanny

Nannies remain a staple of royal households to this day – even the usually hands-on Kate Middleton chose to have a nanny for her kiddos. It should come as no surprise that Prince Albert and his siblings grew up with a nanny. What is surprising, though, is just how much time they spent with her and the special parental-like bond they formed.

Albert's older sister, Princess Caroline, revealed the extent of their relationship in a 2018 French book titled "Albert II de Monaco, l'homme et le prince" ("Albert II of Monaco, The Man and The Prince"). "For my brother and I, Maureen [Wood] was the key figure in our life," she shared in an excerpt translated by People. "When we were little, we were probably closer to our nanny than to our parents." They were so close, in fact, that Wood's yearly summer vacation would cause plenty of tears. "Albert and I would yell 'Don't go, don't go!'" Caroline shared. "Most often than not, our mother would end up calling her to ask her to come home earlier than planned."

Indeed, Wood went above and beyond to make their childhood magical, even throwing them their own gala dinner when their parents were away at Greece's royal wedding in 1964. "The chef cooked a special menu, Caroline wore one of her mother's gown, Albert wore a uniform, and I wore a gown too," Wood shared in the book. "Then we put on music and we danced."

He lost his mother at 24 and watched his dad suffer

Despite being largely raised by a nanny, Prince Albert of Monaco had a deep love for his mother, Princess Grace of Monaco. As he told Piers Morgan in 2012, "She was the most warm, gracious, engaging person [and] an incredible mother." So when a 52-year-old Grace died tragically in a car crash in 1982, it rocked her son's world. Grace was driving from the family's country home back to Monaco with her youngest daughter, Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, when she suffered a stroke. The car drove off a 100-foot cliff and while both mother and daughter were rushed to hospital, Grace eventually died of her injuries.

Albert was just 24 years old at the time and the loss hit him hard. Recalling that fateful day during a 2017 interview with Graham Bensinger, he shared, "It was a very shocking moment, you're not quite sure what to think." Initially, they were sure she would pull through – "Those few hours there were very tense and very emotional" – but it wasn't meant to be. Albert turned to family and friends for support, but working through the loss wasn't an easy process. "It takes a few years to really fully come to terms with that," he said.

However, Albert didn't just lose his mother that day, he also had to watch his father, Prince Rainier of Monaco, suffer and be transformed by grief. "He was deeply affected and he wasn't quite the same man as he was before the accident," he revealed.

Decades later, Prince Albert still mourns the loss of his mother

It's been decades since Princess Grace of Monaco's shocking death, but to Prince Albert of Monaco, it feels like just yesterday. Opening up about the loss on the 30th anniversary of her passing, he told Piers Morgan in 2012, "I still think of her every day, and I hope that she would be proud of me." It's a sentiment he also shared in 2022 on the 40th anniversary of the princess' death. "It doesn't seem like 40 years," Albert told People, noting she's still a constant fixture in his life. "Many times during a day, a week, not only do I find myself thinking of her, but numbers of people still recall her to me," he explained. But rather than it being a painful reminder of her absence, the prince cherishes the praise. "They remember her and that's a great tribute to her and who she was — to what an exceptional human being she was," he mused. Which isn't to say he doesn't miss her dearly. "If I could speak to her, I would say that I wish she were here to see her grandchildren and how great they are," the royal told the mag.

In addition to keeping her alive in his heart, Prince Albert also has a physical tribute to his late mother right inside Monaco's palace. As the 2020 BBC documentary "Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich" discovered, per Express, he's chosen to leave her office completely untouched and uses it as his own to this day.

The life of a prince isn't all that glamorous, according to Prince Albert

Being a prince isn't all lavish parties and big castles. Prince Albert of Monaco hasn't shied away from speaking out about the downsides of royal life, and the hardships it entails. "I can't say that every day is wonderful bliss and enjoyment," he told BBC's "Inside Monaco: Playground of the Rich" documentary in 2020, per Tatler. "It's not easy for anybody in a position of responsibility – there are some very unpleasant meetings."

In addition to the managerial responsibilities, there's also the celebrity component. The public can't get enough of royal life and that means constantly being scrutinized and hunted by the media. Speaking with People in 2019, Albert was asked about Prince Harry's open critique of the British press and his decision to sue publishers for allegedly tapping his phone. "I completely understand his reasons," Monaco's prince said. Revealing that he actually met Harry at the World Cup Rugby final in Japan that year, he shared a snippet of their conversation. "He has said he feels 'bullied' and I can understand," Albert told the outlet. "I sympathized with him, saying, 'Just do what you have to do to ensure your privacy.'" His advice to his fellow prince? "Sometimes you just have to ignore it and move on."

His personal life was criticized non-stop

Being a royal is like being a celebrity: The world is always watching. Prince Albert of Monaco knows that all too well. Often dubbed the "playboy prince," his love life has played out in the tabloids and has been scrutinized non-stop. Over the years, he's been linked to everyone from Naomi Campbell to Gwyneth Paltrow, Bo Derek, and Brooke Shields, and interest in his love life only grew as he frequently changed girlfriends and was repeatedly accused of cheating. For example, New York socialite Stephanie Parker alleges they had an affair while he was with Claudia Schiffer. In the book "The Royal House of Monaco: Dynasty of Glamour, Tragedy and Scandal," she said, per The Free Library, they had many steamy encounters after he seduced her with the pickup line, "I'd love to be your alarm clock."

Albert was also reportedly unfaithful to French actor Catherine Alric, so she ended things, but he wasn't fazed. As he told author Jeffrey Robinson in 2013's "Grace of Monaco: The True Story," he simply loves women. "At discos, or restaurants, or at parties, or on the beach, or even on the street, I say hello to girls. Why not? I like that sort of thing," he mused. He also refused to settle down just because his royal title demanded it. "Maybe it's my desire to be independent that has also prevented me from having a steady relationship, but I won't get married just to please people," he maintained.

Prince Albert's marriage has repeatedly been called a sham

Prince Albert of Monaco shocked the world when he finally settled down and got engaged to South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2010. The couple met in 2000 at a swimming competition and the future princess moved to Monaco in 2006. They married in 2011 and rather than congratulating the 53-year-old royal, tabloids turned from scrutinizing his dating life to ripping apart his marriage. Soon after the nuptials, the Sunday Times ran an article claiming the wedding was a sham. The outlet alleged Charlene was paid to walk down the aisle and that Albert actually took her passport away so she couldn't flee the country. The prince sued the paper for making what he called, per The Guardian, "seriously defamatory allegations" and won.

Even so, that didn't stop media from picking apart their union. Even after the couple welcomed twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella in 2014, outlets continued to claim theirs was a fake romance. Rumors intensified when Charlene had a medical emergency in 2021 and remained in her native South Africa for six months. When she finally returned to Monaco, she stayed out of the public eye and, shortly after, left again to seek treatment for, per People, "exhaustion, both emotional and physical." That sparked major divorce rumors, which Charlene had to shut down, telling Monaco-Matin in 2022, "I still find it regrettable that certain media are spreading such rumors about my life, my relationship."

Does Princess Charlene only see him by appointment?

In addition to non-stop divorce rumors, Prince Albert of Monaco's marriage to Princess Charlene has been plagued by allegations that their union is based on convenience rather than love. In 2022, for example, France's Voici magazine alleged the prince had signed a contract promising to pay his wife €12 million per year (about $13 million USD) in exchange for her taking part in various official duties. Then, in 2023, the princess was seen without her wedding ring and Voici claimed they were only staying together for their kids. A source alleged, "Today, it's a couple who are making appointments to see each other." At the same time, Royauté wrote that they were divorcing and an official spokesperson for the couple was forced to publicly clap back, saying, per MailOnline, "I would like to formally deny the malicious rumors peddled by the French magazine."

Charlene also shut down rumors of a split, telling Monaco-Matin in 2022 that her husband has actually been her protector as she's struggled with her health. As for rumors that she had secretly moved to Switzerland, she denied those too. Meanwhile, her spokesperson, Chantell Wittstock, told News24, "Her marriage to Albert is strong and she's happy." As for Albert, he told People in 2023 that his biggest achievement as a sovereign has been his wife and kids.

Inside Prince Albert of Monaco's paternity suits

Prince Albert of Monaco's playboy ways resulted in a number of paternity suits, as well as two headline-making admissions that he'd fathered kids out of wedlock. His first child, a daughter named Jazmin Grace, was born in California in 1992. Her mother, an American waitress named Tamara Rotolo, said she met Prince Albert in 1991 while vacationing in the Cote d'Azur region of France and soon became pregnant. Following Jazmin's birth, she filed a lawsuit seeking child support, but it was dismissed. The prince didn't meet his daughter until 2004 when she was 11 years old and only publicly acknowledged Jazmin as his own in 2006, a year after he took Monaco's throne.

Around the same time, the prince was also forced to tell the world he had a son named Alexandre who was born in 2003. The child's mother, an Air France flight attendant named Nicole Coste, told Paris-Match in 2005 that she met Albert on a flight in 1997 and they began a five-year relationship. "I'm not a gold digger," she argued, per New York Times, explaining she simply wanted her ex to publicly acknowledge their child. He finally did in 2005, just five days before his coronation, per The Guardian.

Interestingly, despite his initial denials, Prince Albert now appears to have a close relationship with both his eldest daughter and son.

He believes he was tricked into having a child

Prince Albert of Monaco was forced to tell the world of his son's existence following Nicole Coste's bombshell Paris-Match interview in 2005, but as it turns out, he actually recognized him legally in 2003. According to the New York Times, Alexandre was four months old when a DNA test proved Albert was his father. The royal then signed legal documents to that effect and reportedly agreed to pay Coste €10,000 a month (about $15,000), as well as give her access to a luxury car and multiple homes. Since then, he's played an active role in his son's life, but even so, he wasn't pleased when Coste came forward with their story. So much so that he actually sued Paris-Match for publishing the interview alongside photos of him and Alexandre, but he ultimately lost.

What's more, the prince also accused his ex of using him. Speaking with The New York Times about Coste's decision to make such a public announcement, he said, "It was a very difficult moment for me." And when the outlet asked if he thought he'd been tricked into having a child, he slammed, "Yes, I think I was set up."

As for Coste, she maintains they had a legit relationship and told Paris-Match in 2021 that she only went public because "the notary refused to give me the deed signed under seal proving that his father had recognized him in front of me."