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Prince Rainier III of Monaco

Biographical information

TypeIOC member
SexMale
Full nameRainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand•Grimaldi
Used name•Prince Rainier III of Monaco
Born31 May 1923 in Monte Carlo (MON)
Died6 April 2005 in Monte Carlo (MON)
Title(s)Prince of Monaco
NOC(s) Monaco

Biography

Rainier Louis Henri Maxene Bertrand Grimaldi, Ranier III, Prince of Monaco studied at Summerfields School in St. Leonards-on-Sea, England, and later at Stowe, a prestigious English public school in Buckinghamshire. He then matriculated at the Institut Le Rosey in Rolle and Gstaad, Switzerland, before continuing his education at the University of Montpellier in France, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, and finally attended the Institut d’études politiques de Paris in Paris. During World War II, Rainier joined the Free French army in September 1944 as an artillery officer, and fought during the German counter-offensive in Alsace, for which he received the French Croix de Guerre with bronze star and was elevated to the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion d’Honneur. On 9 May 1949 Prince Rainier became sovereign monarch of Monaco upon the death of Prince Louis II. He had been co-opted onto the IOC only two weeks before, and his duties as head of state precluded any Olympic involvement so he resigned in May 1950. He was succeeded, unusually, by his father, Prince Pierre of Monaco

Prince Rainier took over a principality that had depended for decades on income from gambling, but after World War II, this was dwindling. The nation was close to bankruptcy but his efforts reversed this trend. During his 56-year tenure as head of state, he changed Monaco’s dependency on gambling, which previously contributed 95% of its revenues, so that when he left office in 2005, it was only responsible for 3%. He instead emphasized the nation as a tourist site, a tax haven for the wealthy, a commercial center, and for real estate development.

In April 1956, Prince Rainier married American movie actress, and Academy Award winner, Grace Kelly, herself the daughter of an Olympic champion, Jack Kelly. They had three children, one of whom, Prince Albert II, succeeded his father as sovereign monarch of Monaco, later became an IOC Member, and also competing five times in bobsledding at the Winter Olympics. Carrying on the family’s long Olympic involvement, in July 2011 Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock, a South African Olympic swimmer.

Organization roles

Role Organization Tenure Details
Member International Olympic Committee 1949—1950 Representing Monaco    

Olympic family relations

Special Notes