The rich and wonderful history of Monaco’s National Day

Exactly 70 years ago in 1952 national day of monaco First celebrated on November 19thth By decree of Archduke Rainier III. Since then, a proud and festive atmosphere prevails in the principality as the Fête Nationale, which celebrates the principality on November 19th every year. Hundreds of flags and ribbons adorn Monaco’s balconies and dramatic fireworks light up the sky. Music, celebration and patriotism are evident in her second smallest country in the world. The Grand Duke’s family, both for themselves and for the people of Monegasque, will make a cordial appearance at one day’s event.

© Hello Monaco
Fête Nationale (National Day)
Credit: Eric Mathon et Gaetan Luci / Palais prince
Manu Vitali et Michael Alesi / Direction de la Communication
monaco national day
© Hello Monaco

new national day for all sovereigns

the date of national day of monaco It started with Charles III. In 1857, in his second year of his reign, the first National Day was celebrated. The celebration took place at a time when the principality had become a truly modern and independent nation, with flags and diplomatic missions abroad.

The first National Day was celebrated at the Te Deum in St. Nicholas’ Church (20 years after the construction of the cathedral began), a tradition that continues to this day. In 1871, the first parade was held on Place du Palais with the Compagnie des Gardes du Prince. A few years later, the princely carabinieri began attending the celebrations.

Prince Albert talks about his mother, Princess Grace
Prince Rainier III of Monaco, Princess Grace of Monaco and her children, Caroline, Stephanie and Albert at the Monaco National Day celebrations, 19 November 1967 © Georges Lukomski – Archives du Palais Princier de Monaco

After the death of Charles III, Albert I proclaimed St. Albert’s Day, November 15th, to be Prince’s Day by a Sovereign Act of 8 May 1890. Problems arose when Louis II ascended the throne. His patron saint’s day was his 25th August, a principality holiday. The Prince then decided to establish King’s Day on 17 January by decree of 17 July 1922.ththe day of Saint-Antoine-Abbé, his granddaughter, the patron day of Princess Antoinette (Prince Rainier was born the following year).

A year later, the Journal de Monaco used the term “National Day” for the first time.

Princess Charlene of Monaco
Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Charlene, Prince Jacques, Princess Gabriella and the entire Grimaldi family are pictured in the Salle des Gardes during the National Day celebrations (19 November 2019, the Grand Duke Palace) © Eric Mathon / Palais Princier de Monaco

Prince Albert II breaks tradition as an ode to his father

on nineth In May 1949, Rainier III ascended to the throne. According to the Sovereignty Ordinance of 4 July 1949, Sovereign Day was set for his April 11th. But two years after him, that day happened to fall on Good Friday. This ordinance was repealed in his October 1951, and from 1952 he celebrated his National Day on November 19th. was the date of Accession of Rainier III in 1949 and Blessed Rainier Day in Arezzo.

When HSH Prince Albert II became monarch, he broke with tradition and instead of reverting it to November 15th, he kept the National Day on November 19th as a tribute to his father.

national day of monaco
Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco leaving Saint Nicholas Cathedral on November 19, 2018 © HelloMonaco

Celebrate National Day during the Cyclone!

Fireworks have been a staple of National Day since the founding of the country. But when a deadly virus swept the world in 2020, health restrictions forced the public to miss the fireworks display for the first time since 1891.

Fireworks were set up and the crowd was ready for the display. However, a cyclone dramatically carried away the entire display and it was loaded onto a small airship bearing the flag of Monaco. The fireworks were found on the Italian border 12 days after he was discovered by an unsuspecting Italian citizen.

Fête Nationale (National Day)
The Grand Duke and Duchess watching the parade, November 19, 2019 © HelloMonaco

National Foundation Day Prince Family Schedule

On National Day, the Sovereign Couple is received by the Archbishop in the cathedral’s forecourt. The prince and princess join the procession to the royal box in the choir section of the cathedral. After the Te Deum song, the Archbishop recites a Latin prayer for the Sovereign Prince. Domine, salvum fac princem nostrum Albertum, Meanwhile, all rise except the sovereign who remains seated.

princess caroline
Princess Caroline of Hanover at the celebration of Monaco’s National Day on 19 November 2018 © HelloMonaco

Later, on the Cour d’Honneur, watch the Grand Ducal family take up arms. Afterwards, the Minister of State presides over the awarding of the Order of Labor and the Medal of Honor. A parade follows on Place du Palais, where everyone gathers around the Grand Duke and his family. After the parade, a cannon salute is performed by Louis cannons dating back to the 1600s during his 14th reign. Then there will be a football friendly at Stade His Louis II, followed by Gala His concert by the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra.

monaco national day
Parade on Place du Palais on November 19, 2019 © HelloMonaco

Journey back in time to Monaco’s 1889 National Day

More than a century ago, journalists from French sports magazines visited Monaco to cover first-hand the National Day celebrations. When he was 1889, the hereditary Prince Louis, he was 19 years old and had just entered school at Saint-Cyr. Britain announced that Queen Victoria will visit Monaco.

“The Principality of Monaco celebrated Saint-Albert, the Prince’s feast day, in style,” the journalist wrote. “The illuminations of Monaco and La Condamine were magnificent. Fireworks were set off on the Palace Square. At nine o’clock in the evening he saw a traditional torchlight procession and the Philharmonic Society moving through the city, shouting ‘Long live Prince Albert!’ I cried. Long live Princess Alice! “

Fête Nationale (National Day)
Solemn Mass at the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, 19 November 2020 © Manuel Vitali / Direction de la Communication

Journalists describe the celebration as very intimate. Te Deum was sung in the cathedral. Then the governor of the principality, the Baron de Farancourt, reviewed the guards and riflemen of honor. The consuls and officials met for lunch, and the French consul spoke of the scientific work of the Prince, who had been recently elected to Paris as a member of the Academy of Sciences after having bravely studied the depths of the sea.1889 A journalist’s description of National Day in 2009 could almost be a modern day reimagining of National Day. This is a testament to how strong and enduring the festive tradition has been over the years. The rich and wonderful history of Monaco’s National Day

Show More
Back to top button