Monaco’s Prince Facing Mounting Criticism

  May 11, 2009 at 11:56 am by

Prince Albert II

Click to see photo and article at London Telegraph

Monaco’s 51 year old sovereign is only 4 years into his reign and, and he is already facing a “mutiny” in the face of mounting criticism of the his behavior. In the reign of Prince Albert II’s father, Prince Rainier III, it was very rare to see public criticism of the sovereign, but the Prince’s government and the people of Monaco seem to be concerned about their Prince’s priorities. When reporters came looking for information, people would often walk away and refuse to be interviewed.

Today’s London Telegraph shows just how different times are. The article notes that citizens dislike that the Prince “treats Monaco like his holiday home…He pops in for a few weeks, then dashes off on another long jaunt.” While the Prince does seem to take more holidays than his father, some allowance must be made for the fact that Prince Rainier III was ill and unable to travel for much of the latter part of his reign. For the most part, his travels do bring good press and tourists to Monaco.

The discontent is not just among the masses. The Prince has come under increasing scrutiny on his handling of the changing of the banking laws that enabled Monaco to be removed from the EU’s blacklist. While this is seen as a good thing by the rest of the world, his citizens are not happy. In fact, 21 of the 24 members of Monaco’s National Council signed a declaration stating: “We deplore that Monaco’s situation [regarding the EU blacklist for money laundering] was not defended with more vigour… as a result we are astonished by the self-congratulatory statements from the government on the new classification of the country.” As Monaco has always had a reputation as a country where the rich and famous could hide their accounts, and many have come to live there for that reason, it is not surprising that there is some push back from the populace.

How the Prince will handle this criticism is anyone’s guess. The Prince continues to fly in private aircraft while touting his strong environmental agenda. He continues to remain a “Catholic Sovereign” while squiring his live-in girlfriend to very public events. He has spent the larger portion of his reign pursing pleasure and vacations outside of the country, fitting in official events in between.

While the Prince seems set in his ways, he appears to pay little attention to the growing discontent in his own country. That is a very dangerous step for any monarch – in particular one of the world’s last absolute monarchs. Monarchs reign by the will of the people, and the Prince would do well to follow his father’s legacy if Monaco is to continue to have a Sovereign.

More information on the Prince’s current events is in this thread.

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