House of Grimaldi

Royal house
surname =House of Grimaldi
estate =
coat of arms =
country =Monaco
parent house =
titles =Consul of Genoa, Prince of Monaco
founder =Grimaldo Canella
final ruler =
current head =Albert II, Prince of Monaco
founding year =1160
dissolution =
deposition =
nationality =
cadet branches =
The House of Grimaldi is associated with the history of the Republic of Genoa and of the Principality of Monaco.


The Grimaldi family descends from Grimaldo, a Genovese statesman at the time of the first Crusades. He was the son of Otto Canella, a Consul of Genoa in 1133, and in turn Grimaldo became a Consul in 1160, 1170 and again in 1184. His numerous grandsons and their children led maritime expeditions throughout the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and soon the North Sea, and quickly became one of the most powerful families of Genoa.

The Grimaldis feared that the head of a rival Genoese family could break the fragile balance of power in a political coup and become lord of Genoa, as it happened in other Italian cities. They entered into a Guelphic alliance with the Fieschi family and defended their interests with the sword. The Guelfs however were banned from the City in 1271, and found refuge in their castles of Liguria and in Provence. They signed a treaty with Charles of Anjou, King of Naples and Count of Provence, to retake control of Genoa, and generally to provide mutual assistance. In 1276, they accepted a peace under the auspices of the Pope, which however did not put an end to the civil war. Not all the Grimaldis chose to return to Genoa, as they preferred to settle in their fiefdoms, where they could raise armies. In 1299, the Grimaldis and their allies launched a few galleys to attack the port of Genoa before taking refuge on the Western Riviera. During the following years, the Grimaldis were going to enter into different alliances that would allow them to come back in force. This time, it was the turn of their rivals, the Spinola family, to be banned from the City. During all that period, both Guelfs and Ghibellines took and abandoned the castle of Monaco, which was ideally located to launch political and military operations against Genoa. Therefore, the story of Francis Grimaldi and his faction – who conquered the castle of Monaco under the disguise of friars in 1297 – is largely anecdotal.

In the early 14th century, the Catalans from Spain raided the shores of Provence and Liguria, challenging Genoa and King Robert of Provence. In 1353, the combined fleet of eighty Venetian and Catalonian galleys gathered in Sardinia to meet the fleet of sixty galleys under the command of Anthony Grimaldi. Only nineteen Genoese vessels survived the battle. Fearing an invasion, Genoa rushed to request the protection of the lord of Milan.

Several of the oldest feudal branches of the House of Grimaldi appeared during those unrests, such as the branches of Antibes, Beuil, Nice, Puget, and Sicily. In 1395, the Grimaldis took advantage of the discords in Genoa to take possession of Monaco, which they then ruled as a condominium. It is the origin of today's principality.

As it was customary in Genoa, the Grimaldis organized their family ties within a corporation called Albergo. In the political reform of 1528, this ancient family became one of the 28 alberghi of the Republic of Genoa, to which other families were formally invited to join. The House of Grimaldi provided many illustrious personalities such as doges, cardinals, cabinet ministers, and countless officers.

Until 2002, a treaty between Monaco and France stated that if the Grimaldi family ever failed to produce a male heir then the sovereignty over the territory would revert to France. The 2002 agreement modified this to make provisions for a regency and continued Monegasque sovereignty if such an event were to occur.

The coat of arms of the House of Grimaldi are simply described as fusily argent and gules, i.e., a pattern of red diamonds on a white background.

Select list of Grimaldis

* Grimaldo, consul of the Republic of Genoa, founder of this House.
* Hubert Grimaldi, first to bear the Grimaldi patronymic name.
* Luca Grimaldi, troubadour and podestà of Milan and Ventimiglia
* Rainier I, lord of Cagnes, admiral of France
* Charles I, lord of Monaco, Cagnes, and Menton
* Anthony, lord of Monaco, admiral of Genoa
* Luc and Marc Grimaldi of Antibes, lords of Menton, Cagnes, and Antibes
* Lambert of Antibes and Claudia of Monaco
* Augustin, archbishop
* Nicolas, prince of Salerno
* Louis I, prince of Monaco, ambassador of Louis IV
* Giraloma Created a Cardinal in 1527. He married Francisca Cattaneo of Genoese and had five children. After her death he entered holy orders. He was a Senator of Genoa.
* Domenico, Archbishop of Avignon and uncle of Girolamo Grimaldi-Cavalleroni (see below)
* Girolamo (1597 - 1683). Cardinal and Archbishop of Aix
* Elena Grimaldi, painted by Anthony Van Dyck
* Giraloma (1674-1733). Created a Cardinal 1731
* Alexander, doge of Genoa
* John Baptist, doge of Genoa
* Peter Francis, doge of Genoa
* Honoré II, Prince of Monaco (1597-1662)
* Jacques François Leonor Grimaldi - Prince of Monaco and father of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco
* Nicola (1645-1717) Created cardinal deacon in the consistory of May 17, 1706
* Louise-Hippolyte, Princess of Monaco - mother of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco
* Honoré III, Prince of Monaco (1720-1795)
* Honoré IV, Prince of Monaco (1758-1819)
* Honoré V, Prince of Monaco (1778-1841)
* Florestan I, Prince of Monaco (1785-1856)
* Charles III, Prince of Monaco (1818-1889)
* Albert Honoré Charles Grimaldi (1848-1922)
* Louis Honoré Charles Antoine Grimaldi (1870-1949)
* Prince Pierre de Grimaldi, Count of Polignac (1895-1964)
* Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi (1923-2005)
* Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi (born 1958)
* Stéphanie Marie Elisabeth Grimaldi (born 1965)
* Caroline Louise Marguerite Grimaldi (born 1957)

Further reading

*Edwards, Anne. "The Grimaldis of Monaco". William Morrow, 1992.
*Maclaga, Michael and Louda, Jiri. "LINES OF SUCCESSION"; Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. MacDonald & Co., 1981; Little, Brown & Co., 1999; Time Warner Books, UK, 2002 ISBN 0-7607-3287-6

External links

* [ The House of Grimaldi - History and Genealogy]
* [ Grimaldi family tree]

ee also

* Line of succession to the Monegasque Throne
* Grimaldi Industri AB
* Prince's Palace of Monaco
* Monegasque Princely Family

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