Actress Grace Kelly's son Prince Albert II of Monaco on India visit
Business Standard , Feb 04, 2019
Only those of a certain generation of film buffs would know of the fifties Hollywood diva Grace Kelly. Alfred Hitchcock fans certainly would remember her as a major protagonist from "Dial M for Murder" (1954), "Rear Window" (1954) and "To Catch a Thief" (1955).
The late actress' son, Prince Albert II of Monaco, arrived here on Friday on his first official visit since his accession as head of the state in 2005, although Monaco has diplomatic relations with India since 2007.
In 1956, Kelly retired from acting at the age of 26 to marry Prince Rainier III of the Grimaldi family that has ruled the 2 sq-km Principality of Monaco for 600 years. She died in a car accident in 1982. After Rainier III's death in 2005, Albert succeeded him as Albert II. He is said to have ancestry from Italy, Ireland, Britain, the US, Germany, France, Mexico, Belgium and Monaco.
In fact, this year marks 600 years since the Italian House of Grimaldi purchased Monaco from the Spanish kingdom of Aragon by which they became the official and undisputed rulers of "the Rock of Monaco" rising above the sea in what has become the prime tourist destination in the Mediterranean - the French Riveira.
Monaco's most populous quarter is Monte Carlo known for its gambling casino as well as for the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix.
While the marriage of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier III brought media attention to the city state, besides tourism and its casinos, Monaco also built a reputation as a place of residence for the global rich owing to the massive tax incentives it offers to residents. There is no personal income tax in this most densely populated sovereign state in the world.
Monaco has a population of about 38,000, of whom only 8,000 are Monegasque, or of local origin, a member of the 30-member accompanying business delegation said on the sidelines of the India-Monaco Business Forum at industry chamber FICCI where the Prince was the chief guest.
The Forum marked the official launch of economic cooperation with a partnership agreement being signed between FICCI and the Monaco Economic Board to strengthen the institutional mechanism for boosting bilateral trade and investment which are currently at miniscule levels.
Monaco's Foreign Minister Gilles Tonelli spoke at the event about how the country has had a budget surplus for the last 6 years in succession for an economy based on the "five pillars of tourism, industry, trade, real estate, and banking and financial management".
Albert II is one of the wealthiest royals in the world, with assets valued at more than $1 billion, which include land in Monaco and France, as also the head of one of the richest charities in the world.
He is also a keen sportsman and expeditionist, in line with his environmental concerns, and is the first incumbent head of state to have reached the North Pole.
In 2006, he created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for supporting sustainable and ethical projects around the world. The foundation focuses on three main challenges: climate change and renewable energy development, combating the loss of biodiversity and water management.
India & Monaco need to collaborate in developing hi-end technologies to address environmental issues- Suresh Prabhu