The Principality celebrates the centenary of Prince Rainier III

Publication date: 01/06/2023
In recent days, the streets of the Principality have been draped in red and white flags bearing the image of Prince Rainier III, decorated with flowers, and steeped in a very special atmosphere. What’s the reason? Yesterday marked the start of a programme of festivities that will continue until 2024 January, a national tribute to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the Builder Prince (1923-2003)!

Let the festivities begin! 

Things got underway on the afternoon of 31 May, with various activities taking place in the streets of Monaco’s Old Town district.

A 21-gun salute was fired at 2.15 pm sharp in the Principality, formally marking the beginning of the celebrations!

Monegasques, residents, and friends of the Principality were invited to commemorate the centenary of the birth of the man who came to be known as the Builder Prince. The most iconic sites in the Old Town hosted a wide variety of activities and events, from the Place du Palais to the Oceanographic Museum, the Cathedral concourse, and the magnificent Saint Martin Gardens.

There were stiltwalkers wandering through the narrow streets, marching bands, mini-train rides, petanque competitions, and even a parade of cars from the collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco driven by members of the Princely Family themselves! There was something to delight all ages, on an afternoon of grand and unique spectacle!

The day of celebrations ended with the sharing of a birthday cake at 9.15 pm, followed by a firework display at Port Hercule.
The event was a brilliant success, as seen in the bright eyes and wide smiles on the faces of everyone who came to enjoy the party!

Major events taking place until January 2024

A series of exhibitions, talks, films, sporting events, and concerts will take place over the next few months and until January 2024, in tribute to Prince Rainier III, the Sovereign who came to be known as the “Builder Prince".

Monegasques and visitors alike will be able to learn about the great man’s personality, passions, and commitments.

A country does not need great size to have big dreams, nor a large population to realise them                              

Prince Rainier III

Highlights of the centenary (31 May 2023 to January 2024):

31/05 – 20/08: "The Prince at Home": an exhibition of 100 still and moving images on display in the State Apartments of the Prince’s Palace. Take the opportunity to see the new frescoes at the Palace!

31/05 – 31/12: "The Prince and his Animals": an exhibition of photographs including never-before-seen archive images of the Zoological Gardens, which will soon be marking their 70th anniversary! An exhibition perfect for all ages.

31/05 – 31/12: "Prince Rainier III, a Sailor Above All": exhibition at the Yacht Club de Monaco

31/05: from 2.15 pm, launch of the "Rainier III Sculpture Trail": an open-air exhibition accessible all year round. An original and fascinating way to explore the Principality, by following a path that passes by 150 sculptures to admire in the streets and gardens. QR codes can be found near each artwork, providing details about its specific history, the artist who created it, and its connection to the Principality.
The trail has its own official website:

16-20/06: "Tribute to Prince Rainier III, creator of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival”: an exhibition of photographs at the Grimaldi Forum as part of the 62nd Monte-Carlo Television Festival. The exhibition will pay tribute to the Festival’s creator, with previously unseen archive images looking back at the greatest moments in the history of this unique event, when Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace welcomed the leading stars of the international cultural world to Monaco.

1/07 – 31/08: "Prince Rainier III and International Artists": on the path of the famous Salle des Etoiles, during the Monte-Carlo Summer Festival 2023 (Sporting), a display of the finest photos of Prince Rainier III alongside the international stars who came to perform at the Sporting Monte-Carlo.

4/07: screening of the film "Rainier III by Himself" at the Grimaldi Forum.
Directed by Yann-Anthony Noghes, with historical consultants Thomas Fouilleron and Vincent Vatrican, this film aims to paint a picture of the sovereign as a political and private man, using interviews, speeches, and his own words about his life and reign.

07/07: "U Sciaratu": Monaco’s traditional carnival, a popular festive event that takes places every summer in the streets of the Old Town and Prince’s Palace Square. For this centenary year, the theme will be the circus, an art form close to Prince Rainier III’s heart.

20/07 – 31/12: "The Builder Prince. An Ambition for Monaco": through models, plans, photographs, objects, and documents, previously unseen, the exhibition aims to show how Prince Rainier III permanently changed the face of his country. Taking place at the exhibition hall on Quai Antoine Ier.

13-16/09: Exhibition of boats previously owned by Prince Rainier III, at the Yacht Club de Monaco. 

From 1 to 31 December: "A Whole World to Protect": a space dedicated to Prince Rainier III’s ocean conservation efforts, at the Oceanographic Museum.
The exhibition space “Monaco and the Ocean” covers nearly 700 m2, and looks back at the commitment of Monaco’s Princes to marine conservation. Around a 27 metre-long display ship, visitors can experience an immersive and interactive journey through time, alongside the sovereigns themselves, acutely aware of the major issues of their age: Albert I, Rainier III and H.S.H. Prince Albert II. 

7/12 – January 2024: Christmas Village « The Life and Works of Prince Rainier III": the theme of this year’s traditional Christmas Village at Port Hercule will be “Rainier III, a Visionary and Passionate Prince”. Visitors of all ages can walk around the decorations specially created for the occasion, learning about the great causes closest to Prince Rainier III’s heart, namely the sea, the arts, animals, and sport.

19-28 January 2024: 46th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival "Tribute to its creator" - Fontvieille Big Top.
To mark the 25th anniversary of his reign in 1974, Prince Rainier III - a keen enthusiast for traditional circus arts with animals - wanted to put the circus centre stage in the Principality with a special event.
And so the world’s first ever circus festival was born, under the big top of the Bouglione Circus, featuring the participation of the Togni troupe.
This event will mark the end of festivities celebrating the centenary of Prince Rainier III’s birth.

For more information about the centenary, click HERE.

Photo credits: Direction de la Communication / VisitMonaco / Jean-Charles Vinaij - Bestimage / Olivier Huitel - Bestimage / Archives du Palais Princier : Georges Lukomski - Gaëtan Luci