At this time of year in Washington any kind of official party is unexpected, and when one occurs it is even more of a surprise to see a crowd. But the Metropolitan Club, that downtown bastion of old-world exclusivity, was packed Tuesday evening with friends of the ambassador of Monaco, Gilles Noghès, who with his wife, Ellen, threw a party for the eighth anniversary of Prince Albert II’s ascension to the throne. Prince Albert did not attend, but a number of socialites and diplomats did, including Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, making one of her last public appearances before leaving that job.
“It is quite an honor to be here,” she said. “I’m eking out every opportunity I can in my last few weeks of holding this privileged post, and so I am so pleased that Ambassador Noghès gave me this opportunity to be here this evening to share this special occasion.” Noghès returned the sentiment, saying, “We have appreciated and enjoyed and loved the fact she was our chief of protocol. She will be leaving soon, but tonight she gives us immense pleasure in being here.”
Noghès also praised the surroundings, noting that the Metropolitan Club “was created in 1863, also the year the SBM—the Société des Bains de Mer, which owns the casinos and all the hotels around the square—was created to create Monte Carlo. So it’s a wonderful coincidence. Long life to the Metropolitan and to the SBN.” This was probably the only time in recorded history that the staid club has been compared to the lively and glamorous principality.
Waiters passed trays of Champagne and white wine and platters of crabcakes and quiche, while guests mingled to talk about summer plans, where Edward Snowden is and may end up, and, of course, Monaco. Since the theme of the evening was anniversaries, it was fitting that Noghès announced Prince Albert will soon be stateside to visit Cody, Wyoming, to mark the centennial of his great-great-grandfather, Albert I’s visit there—which, according to Noghès, was the first time a European head of state visited the United States. In the fall, Albert II will visit New York for the 20th anniversary of Monaco’s admission to the United Nations.
Noghès also, of course, did some boostering for his home country, and job hunters should take note. “For a population of 36,000 there are 50,000 jobs,” he said, “and we have no debt.”