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Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History

10/11/2009 - 15:27 PST

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Visits” segment of Monaco’s 2007 international exhibition titled, “The Grace Kelly Years: Princess of Monaco Exhibit” honoring the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Grace of Monaco in September 1982.

The deaths of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005, followed by the death of Prince Rainier III four days later on April 6, 2005, and assumption of the role of ruling head of state by, heir apparent and hereditary prince, Prince Albert II of Monaco, only more resolutely affirmed the close friendship between the Principality of Monaco and the Holy See throughout history. Thus, it is understandable that one of the first official visits Prince Albert II of Monaco would desire to conduct would be to extend his fidelity, loyalty and respect to the new Roman Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, who assumed office as the 265th Roman Pontiff and sovereign head of state of the Universal Church of Rome on April 19, 2005. Prince Albert II was received in audience by Pope Benedict XVI on December 5, 2005—his first official visit with the Roman Pontiff, as the sovereign head of state of the Principality of Monaco.

Since the commencement of his sovereign reign as constitutional monarch of the Principality of Monaco, Prince Albert II of Monaco has shown an enduring and determinate interest in further developing and upgrading Monaco’s global diplomatic stature in accordance with the sovereign diplomatic rights and privileges accorded to the Principality by the French Government in the 2002 treaty.
Subsequent to this advancement of the diplomatic rule of law in the Principality’s treaty history the Principality of Monaco promptly commenced to upgrade its diplomatic legations with the United States, which had previously only maintained consular relations with the Principality. Other states with which the Principality promptly advanced its diplomatic relations from consulates to embassies include France, Italy and the Holy See, among many others.

The Principality, had, as previously stated, since the 19th century maintained only a passive legation to the Holy See, without reciprocity.In accordance with its sovereign right to now more freely engage in both active and passive formal diplomatic relations, the Principality of Monaco expanded its diplomatic relations with the Holy See to include the erection of a representational apostolic nunciature of the Holy See in the Principality. In 2006, the Holy See reaffirmed its historical diplomatic friendship with the official Roman Catholic Principality of Monaco and for the first time in history accredited an apostolic nuncio to the Principality resident in Belgium. H.E. Archbishop Andre Dupuy was appointed the first apostolic nuncio to the Principality of Monaco on July 11, 2006, with residence in Brussels, and coterminous accreditation to the EU in Brussels.

The Catholic heads of state of the Holy See, Pope Benedict XVI, and the Principality of Monaco, Prince Albert II, and their respective appointed diplomatic representatives, continue to work together as Catholic leaders and moral diplomatic power-brokers on the international plane to uphold and defend the precepts of the Roman Catholic Church in the world--especially that of the universal protection of international social developmental and economic human rights and international environmental protection. In 2010, the Principality of Monaco will mark the 100th anniversary of Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I with its hosting of the 2010 Monaco Ocean Summit. The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium of Monaco, and the establishment by Prince Albert II of “The Prince Albert II Foundation” (see its website at:, to promote global study, analysis and protection of the environment—especially the marine environment-- epitomizes humanity’s requirement to facilitate “peace with God the Creator, and peace with all creation”-- a philosophy publicly affirmed by Pope John Paul II. The marine-based protective mission and work of Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium, educating the world about advancements in marine science and technology, and the challenges and controversies of international marine environmental affairs, such as the human impact of climate change, has endured for nearly one hundred years and is a continuing initiative for both the Holy See and the Principality.

The Principality’s distinctive achievements in marine-environmental diplomacy include establishing a permanent home for the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency’s Marine Environmental Laboratory (IAEA-MEL) in 1998. The IAEA-MEL is the only network of marine laboratories within the United Nation’s system, and was first housed in Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum. The IAEA-MEL consists of three laboratories within the IAEA’s Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications specializing in radiometrics, radioecology and marine ...

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