Leader of a nation smaller than New York’s Central Park, Prince Ranier III has passed away. Formerly the longest-reigning monarch in Europe, that title now goes to Elizabeth II.
Although famous for marrying movie star Grace Kelly in 1956 and, thus, preventing her from making any more cool movies, Prince Rainier may be better known as the man for whom both Mount Rainier and Rainier Beer were named.
Prince Albert dela Cannes will take over from his deceased father. A special revision of Monte Carlo law has been done to ensure that an unmarried, childless man of 47 will still be able to pass the throne on to one of his siblings or their children. While there is some speculation among foreigners as to when Prince Albert will “come out of the closet”, most locals acknowledge that Monaco’s real-estate scarcity renders all such phrases meaningless as all Monaco residents reside within closets. Prince Albert has already taken on the heavy responsibilities of power.
Although tinier than West Berlin, during the height of the Cold War, Monte Carlo was the scene of many LeCarre-esque scenes of espionage derring-do, mostly focused around the baccarat tables where regular customer James Bond would lurk about looking for enemy agents to pump for information.
Under Prince Ranier, the principality entered into the United Nations and also developed cottage industries in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics areas. Gambling accounts for only 3% of the revenues.
The family weathered many scandals, including numerous out-of-wedlock children born to Princess Stephanie. In 1994, a biography of Grace Kelly claimed that Ranier’s neglect forced her to find happiness in the arms of many (lucky?) younger men.