by Ilio Masprone-Knight of the Principality of Monaco for cultural merits MONACO. The date of the Monaco National Day is also known as Sovereign Prince Day, being traditionally determined by the reigning Prince. The news is that this year, HSH Prince Albert will salute the National Day showcasing a thin moustache. The Prince’s face hair looks to many observers like homage to his father Rainier’s moustache and to the Movember Campaign. Movember is the contraction of Moustache and November, the month in which the campaign challenges men to grow a moustache. Movember, the only global charity focused solely on men’s health, raises funds to deliver innovative, breakthrough research and support programs that enable men to live happier, healthier, and longer lives. Many high-profile athletes, celebrities, and dignitaries support the Movember Foundation. Among others, famous actors like Sylvester Stallone, Clive Owen, Leonardo Di Caprio, Stephen Fry, Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Selleck, George Clooney and Johnny Depp; sportsmen like ice hockey players Claude Giroux, Jaromir Jagr and Teemu Selanne, soccer player David Beckham, Formula one driver Jenson Button, and cricketer Mitchell Johnson; singers like Justin Bieber, Mark Foster, Jacob Fink and Mark Pontius of the Indie band Foster the People, rapper Snoop Dogg, singer actor Zac Efron, etcetera. These Mobro (Movember Brothers) are also flanked by some Mosista (Mo Sisters) like, among many others, the American model and actress Kate Upton, the Irish presenter for MTV Europe Laura Witmore, and the American singer Lady Gaga.
Back to the Monaco National Day, the previous Princes often chose the day of the saint they were named after. The first National Day was celebrated on May 16, 1734, a date chosen by Honore III to celebrate Monaco’s independence as a sovereign nation. In 1854, Prince Charles III changed the date to November 4, which is the day Patron Saint Charles is celebrated. In keeping with the tradition, Prince Albert I changed the date to November 15 after he began his reign in 1890. The tradition of changing the date to match the patron saint the prince was named after continued until Prince Albert II took the throne. He chose to keep the date as November 19, in honour of his father, Prince Rainer III. In fact, the late Prince Rainier III chose the 19th of November, the day that celebrates St. Rainier. When the actual sovereign ascended the throne he ended this tradition by choosing the same day as his father, instead of the day of St. Albert, the 15th of November. We can say that Prince Albert has led a life in the shadow of legends and yet, he has shown consistently that it is possible to admire and emulate the legendary without letting it consume your own sense of self. In fact, Albert II shows an enormous respect for what his father Rainier and mother Grace did for the country. “Today, and first of all,” the Prince said in a recent interview “I am profoundly respectful of my the moral obligation that there is to lead this nation and to be the head of the Principality.” The 19th of November also happens to be the same day of Albert II’s official ascension to the throne. On 6 April 2005, Rainier III died and Albert succeeded him as Albert II. The first part of Prince Albert II’s enthronement as ruler of the Principality was on 12 July 2005, after the end of the three-month mourning period for his father. A morning Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral formally marked the beginning of his reign. Afterward Albert II returned to the princely palace to host a garden party for 7,000 Monegasques born in the principality. In the courtyard, the Prince was presented with two keys of the city as a symbol of his investiture and he made a speech. The second part of his investiture was on 19 November 2005. Albert was enthroned at Saint Nicholas Cathedral. Royalty from 16 delegations were present for the festivities throughout the country. The evening ended with an opera performance in Monte Carlo. Tradition plays an important part in many of the celebrations and the events practiced during the National Day, for centuries! There is significant national pride on National Day with many people waving the flag of Monaco as they watch parades or participate in festivals. The National Day celebrations will start Saturday 18 November, at 8 pm at the Monaco Harbour with the display of spectacular fireworks that are part of the free Monegasque National Festival. On November 19th there will be a parade and a salute by the Prince on the palace grounds. The holiday is marked by much pomp and circumstance. Knights of Malta, ambassadors and government leaders will wear official uniforms during the celebrations. A Te Deum and a thanksgiving mass will be held at St. Nicholas Cathedral the day after National Day in order to celebrate the Royal family’s Catholic faith. Although freedom of religion is guaranteed by Monaco’s population, Roman Catholic is the state religion. Catholicism plays an important part in many of the traditions practiced in Monaco. For instance, together with the Queens of Belgium, and Spain, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, and the princesses of the House of Savoy, Charlene of Monaco has “the privilege of the white” or the permit to wear a white dress and veil during audiences with the Pope, an exception to the tradition of women wearing black on such occasions.