Despite Monaco’s compact size, the principality is home to some of the brightest and most famous people. Here we take a look at some of the most famous Monaco women, both past and present, from award-winning pianists and screenwriters to Olympic swimmers and legendary Hollywood stars who have become synonymous with the principality.
Famous Monaco Women
Born in Zimbabwe, Princess Charlene is a former South African Olympic swimmer. She married Prince Albert II in July 2011, becoming one of the most famous Monaco women. She first met Prince Albert II in 2000 while competing in the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo. Since marrying into the famous Grimaldi family, Princess Charlene has gone on to embrace life in Monaco. Through her foundation – The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation – she aims to raise awareness of drowning on a global scale by ensuring children have access to swimming lessons and encouraging a passion for sports. She has two children with Prince Albert, twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
No guide to famous Monaco women would be complete without including Princess Grace Kelly. Grace Kelly was an American Academy Award-winning Hollywood actress who famously married Prince Rainier III in April 1956 and is arguably one of the most famous women in Monaco history. She is known for her starring role in films such as “Dial M for Murder”, “The Country Girl”, “Rear Window”, and “To Catch a Thief”. She went on to have three children with Prince Rainier: Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie. During her time as Princess Consort of Monaco she became involved in many cultural and charitable organisations. Princess Grace tragically died in 1982 following a car accident along the Cote d’Azur. Throughout Monaco you can find many landmarks and buildings named after this famous Monaco woman, including the Princess Grace Botanical Gardens, The Princess Grace Irish Library, the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, and Avenue Princesse Grace, home to some of the most expensive and refined Monaco real estate.
Daniele Thompson is a famous Monaco woman, known for her work as a film director and screenwriter. Born in Monaco in 1942, she is the daughter of film director Gerard Oury and actress Jacqueline Roman and is now married to Albert Koski. She was awarded the Legion of Honour Order in 2009 and has won awards for her work, including best screenplay awards for “Queen Margo”, “Christmas Pie”, and “Places in the Stalls”.
Alice Heine was the principality’s first American princess and is a famous Monaco woman, who helped to provide economic security for the city-state. Originally from New Orleans, she married Prince Albert 1 in 1889. She is best known for using her funds to revamp the centre of Monte Carlo. She gave the district a cultural boost by introducing a plethora of theatres, where Monaco’s residents and visitors could enjoy concerts and ballet performances, as well as hosting numerous exhibitions. She was also integral to planning Monaco’s then blossoming cultural season, helping to put this tiny nation on the global map.
Shani Diluka is a famous award-winning pianist. She was born in Monaco in 1976 to Sri Lankan parents, and at the age of six she was accepted on a programme created by the Princess Grace Foundation which allowed children who showed extraordinary musical talent to receive special music lessons as part of their schooling. She later went on to study at the Academy of Prince Rainier III. A famous Monaco woman, she has performed with orchestras in Sweden, Paris, and Warsaw to name just a few, as well as at some of the world’s most famous venues. Her music is best known for bridging the gap between East and West.
Princess Stephanie is a famous Monaco woman, the daughter of Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III. Known as somewhat of a royal rebel, Princess Stephanie has lived life to its fullest, working as a model, fashion designer, and pop singer. She has even dabbled in the world of perfume, launching an eponymous fragrance in 1989. Thrice married, including to elephant trainer Franco Knie, Princess Stephanie said in an interview with “Hello” magazine, that despite her colourful life, she doesn’t view herself as a rebel, noting though that “..it all depends on what you consider normal.” She added: “I’ve had an unusual career path for a princess.”
Also part of the Grimaldi family (Pauline Ducruet’s mother is the above mentioned Princess Stephanie), this famous Monaco woman has gone on to carve a name for herself in the world of fashion. Born in 1994, the European royal and style icon is best known for her label Alter, which she launched in 2018. The streetwear unisex brand effortlessly blends contemporary cuts with classic sensibility utilising a mixture of materials, from high-quality silks to recycled denim. Alter’s hero product is its Jeans Jacket, made from three vintage US denim pieces and described as a “wardrobe icon.” Before her days as a fashion designer, Pauline Ducruet was a competitive diver, representing Monaco at a slew of international events, including the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics and the World Junior Diving Championships. She was awarded the Sportsperson of the Year award in 2009.
What other famous Monaco women would you add to our guide?