News & Politics

Monaco’s Prince Albert Holds Court in Kalorama

In the U.S. for the United Nations meeting in New York, Prince Albert II swung through Washington yesterday to welcome his new ambassador and meet some special guests.

What: Reception honoring Prince Albert II of Monaco and opening the new ambassador’s residence.

Where: The impressive, newly renovated Monaco ambassador’s residence in Kalorama, including a grand piano in the main parlor and a Weber grill under wraps in the backyard.

Prince Albert welcomes guests to Monaco’s new ambassador’s residence.

Who: Ambassador Gilles Noghes and his wife, Ellen, Monaco officials and consuls, State Department and administration officials, and royal family and friends, as well as impersonators of Buffalo Bill Cody, who led the Prince’s great-grandfather on a bear hunt in Cody, Wyoming, in 1913, and Ben Franklin, the first ambassador to France.

Food: Impressive and plentiful snacks—aged prosciutto, endive and chevre with figs, asparagus risotto, tiny tarts and other desserts.

Drink: Champagne!

Scene: French was the language of the day, as guests mingled with the unassuming prince, who heads a principality roughly the size of New York’s Central Park and wandered through the first floor greeting familiar faces. Prince Albert spent many years in the US, attending summer camp in New Hampshire and graduating from Amherst College, and he got choked up as he recalled his family’s ties to the states and his pride at installing Monaco’s first full-fledged ambassador in Washington last December. “Every time I spend in this country brings back these fond memories,” he told the crowd during his brief remarks.

The Prince poses with guests in the parlor.

On side tables in the residence’s parlor were photos of the Prince’s mother, Grace Kelly, and a book about her. On the piano was a photo of one of the Prince’s oddest accomplishments—he’s the only head of state to reach the North Pole. A large collection of Princess Grace’s memorabilia will be on display in New York from October 15th to the 26th at Sotheby’s.

During a brief meeting with the press after the reception in the ambassador’s upstairs cigar room, Roxanne Roberts of the Washington Post pressed the Prince, who remains at 49 one of the world’s most eligible bachelors, on whether he would marry someday. “It might happen,” he assented.

The Prince mingles, as “Buffalo Bill” looks on.

Ratings (out of 5):
Boldface names: 4
Swankiness: 4
Food/drink: 3.5
Exclusivity: 4
Total score: 15.5 (out of 20)

The residence’s back yard was full of food, drink, and guests.
During a short ceremony, the ambassador and the Prince exchanged gifts.
The Prince received a framed print remembering “Camp Monaco,” where his great-grandfather hunted with Buffalo Bill in Cody, Wyoming.
At the end of the ceremony, the Prince, the ambassador and his wife, “Buffalo Bill,” and “Ben Franklin” posed.
The backyard of the residence.
Special desserts from Monaco.
An inscribed photo of the Prince’s mother, American actress Princess Grace Kelly, graced the parlor. The inscription reads, in French, “A souvenir from the 1968 bridge tournament, with appreciation, Grace of Monaco.”
The grand piano had pictures of the ambassador and his wife with President Bush and a triumphant photo of the Prince on his trip to the North Pole.
Upstairs from the party afterwards, the Prince held a mini-press conference.