A look at how the wedding of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene broke with tradition and transformed the Prince’s Palace – Royal Central
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It has been a tradition for centuries that civil royal weddings have taken place in the Prince’s Palace in Monaco. However, Prince Albert’s marriage to Charlene Wittstock in 2011 broke ranks and made the Palace the location of their religious ceremony as well.
Once they compiled the guest list, they realized that not everyone could fit into the traditional venue for religious weddings in Monaco – Saint Nicholas Cathedral – where Prince Albert’s parents had been. married in 1956.
They later decided to transform the main courtyard of the Prince’s Palace into a makeshift church, with an altar and a pulpit for readings.
The court has long been the center of the public life of the princely family and has since been the scene of many ceremonies and key moments, including organizing celebrations for the national day every year.
The history of the Palace is closely linked to that of the Grimaldi, pirates of Genoa who were granted the use of the fortification as a defense against the Saracens.
The fortress was built in 1191 by the Genoese and conquered by the Grimaldi in 1297; since then, the Grimaldi have governed the fortress, first as a fiefdom and, since the 17th century, as sovereign princes.
Due to the small size of the territory, the Grimaldi did not have enough land to build new palaces, as more powerful and larger monarchies could. Thus, in 1997, the Grimaldis celebrated 700 years of government from the same place.
The palace is a mix of different architectural styles as the rulers would renovate the existing parts of the fortress over the centuries rather than building it again.
In its current form, the eastern facade of the Renaissance, the towers of the medieval period were rebuilt in the 19th century, and the main medieval core remains more or less intact.
The throne room, where Their Serene Highnesses celebrated their civil marriage, is the largest of the palace’s ceremonial rooms. It is decorated with frescoes by Orazio de Ferrari that depict the surrender of Alexander the Great, and the floor is entirely in pure Carrara marble.
The throne, which can be seen during the ceremony behind the bride and groom, was created in the Empire style and rests under a red silk canopy topped with a gold crown.
The Cour d’Honneur is at the center of the relationship between the Princely Family and the public. Its Carrara marble staircase has become famous around the world as a backdrop for official ceremonies and memorable moments. The staircase leads to a gallery decorated with frescoes by Orazio de Ferrari that depict the life and labors of Hercules, which is the place from which the new royal babies are presented to the population.
In short, the Prince’s Palace is a place which perfectly combines its functions of State and its versatility and has proved capable of hosting a wide range of different events including the wedding of the Monegasque Head of State.