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The Grimaldi family is a widely ramified noble family that originally came from Genoa and whose most important branch today governs the Principality of Monaco .



The Grimaldi family belonged to the patriciate of the Republic of Genoa and can be traced back to the Genoese Otto Canella († approx. 1143), who was consul of Genoa in 1133 . His youngest son, Grimaldo Canella († after 1184) is considered to be the namesake of the Grimaldi family. His son called himself Oberto Grimaldi († approx. 1252) and is now known as the father of the Grimaldi . Oberto Grimaldi was married to Corradine Spinola and had four children. His son Grimaldo Grimaldi († after 1257) was, like his ancestors, politically active in Genoa. Lanfranco Grimaldi († approx. 1293) and Antonio Grimaldi were among his children .

In addition to the Doria , Fieschi and Spinola , the Grimaldi were among the four leading families of the Republic of Genoa and provided numerous Doges of Genoa . There were many relationships with the old noble family of Malaspina , who were wealthy on the Ligurian coast and in the hinterland.

Expulsion from Genoa and conquest of Monaco

Monument to Francesco Grimaldi Malizia in the monk's habit (in front of the Prince's Palace)
Raniero Grimaldi (1267-1314)

The Grimaldi family was involved in the political-religious wars between the Guelphs and Ghibellines in the High Middle Ages . On the side of the Guelfs, the Grimaldi were driven out of the city in a battle in Genoa and moved westward. In January 1297 they succeeded in conquering the Neapolitan fortress of Monaco by a coup . Francesco Grimaldi , son of Antonio Grimaldi , who is also known as Francesco Malizia (the rascal, rascal), disguised as a Franciscan , asked to enter the fortress on January 8, 1297 , with a short sword under his robe. After he was granted this, he managed to overpower the gatekeepers, open the gate and take over the fortress with his family. As a reminder of this coup , the Monegasque prince's coat of arms still features two Franciscans wielding swords as a shield holder . The first ruler of the Grimaldi in Monaco was Francesco Malizia's older cousin Matteo Grimaldi , son of Lanfranco Grimaldi.

However, Charles II of Naples obtained a news and food boycott against the Grimaldi in the La Turbie Convention on July 29, 1298 . At first this was ineffective, but after some back and forth the Guelphs had to hand over the fortress to the officers of the King of Naples on April 11, 1301 . The Grimaldi were only compensated with 5900 pounds.

Recovery of Monaco

In the following years, Raniero Grimaldi went to war as a condottiere for Philip the Handsome . In 1304 Raniero was raised to the rank of admiral of France ( Renerius de Grimaudis, admirandus noster ) for his services as a naval commander in the Anglo-French war . As an admiral he was given the rule (seigneurie) of Cagnes , a castle in Villeneuve de Veuve and the barony (Freiherrschaft) of San Demetrio in Calabria . It was not until September 12, 1331, after the retreat of the Ghibellines, that Raniero's son Carlo received the fortress of Monaco from the French king again. In a document from 1342, Karl is first referred to as Charles, Seigneur of Monaco, Menton and Roquebrune . In 1419 the Grimaldis also officially bought the rule of Monaco from the Crown of Aragon and thus became the undisputed rulers of the "Rock of Monaco".

Subsequently, the family ruled (with the interruption due to Napoleonic rule from 1793 to 1814) over the Principality of Monaco , to which Menton and Roquebrune also belonged from 1355 to 1848 . In 1643 Prince Honoré II received from the French King Louis XIII. For loyal service, the County of Carladès in the southwest of Auvergne was given as a gift, whose name is still mentioned in the full title of the Princes of Monaco, but which has de facto belonged to France again since the French Revolution . In 1731 the main line of the family died out. The side line founded by Kaspar Grimaldi (brother of Lambert Grimaldi, Prince of Monaco, † 1505) still exists today as the ruling Princely House of Monaco, several times inherited through female lines.


The Goyon de Matignon family ( married in male line ) follows in name and rule and thus establishes the Goyon-Grimaldi family . The Goyon de Matignon ascended the throne of the Principality of Monaco in 1731 through the marriage between Jacques de Goyon de Matignon and Louise-Hippolyte Grimaldi .

Polignac-Grimaldi (Grimaldi-Valentinois)

Fortress of the Prince's Palace of Monaco

At the beginning of the 20th century, Hereditary Prince Louis II of Monaco had only one illegitimate daughter from a mistress, an Algerian-French variety dancer, which is why the throne threatened to fall to a German relative. He therefore decided, with the approval of his father, to officially legitimize this daughter Charlotte . In 1919 she was raised to Duchesse de Valentinois and in 1920 married Count Pierre de Polignac from the princely house of de Chalençon de Polignac , who also received the title Duke of Valentinois, Prince of Monaco. In order to secure her claim to the throne, Charlotte renounced in 1944 in favor of her son Rainier III. to the succession to the throne, who succeeded his grandfather in 1949. The male line that goes back to the Polignac is still on the throne today.

Currently living members of the Grimaldi are in the line of succession:

  1. Jacques of Monaco , Hereditary Prince of Monaco, son of the Prince
  2. Gabriella of Monaco , daughter of the prince
  3. Caroline of Hanover , sister of the prince
  4. Andrea Casiraghi , nephew of the prince
  5. Alexandre Casiraghi , called Sacha, the prince's great-nephew
  6. India Casiraghi , grand-niece of the prince
  7. Pierre Casiraghi , nephew of the prince
  8. Charlotte Casiraghi , niece of the prince
  9. Alexandra of Hanover , niece of the prince
  10. Stéphanie of Monaco , sister of the prince
  11. Louis Ducruet , nephew of the prince
  12. Pauline Ducruet , niece of the prince

The full title of the ruling Prince of Monaco is: Par la Grâce de Dieu Prince de Monaco, Duc de Valentinois , Marquis des Baux , Comte de Carladès , Baron du Buis , Seigneur de Saint-Rémy , Sire de Matignon , Comte de Torigni , Baron de Saint-Lô , de la Luthumière et de Hambye , Duc d'Estouteville , de Mazarin et de Mayenne , Prince de Château-Porcien , Comte de Ferrette , de Belfort , de Thann et de Rosemont , Baron d ' Altkirch , Seigneur d ' Isenheim , Marquis de Chilly , Comte de Longjumeau , Baron de Massy , Marquis de Guiscard .

The official salutation of the prince is Son Altesse Sérénissime , abbreviated SAS le Prince (German: His Serene Highness (SD) the prince). The personal address is Monseigneur , which, like the Italian monsignor, means "my lord ".

Other Grimaldi lines

In addition to the one in Monaco, there were other lines in Provence :

  • Grimaldi de Bueil : The progenitor Andaron Grimaldi, patrician of Genoa, married Astruga Rostagni, heiress of the Bueil estate, around 1314 ; Barons 1388, Count de Bueil around 1580, extinct in 1621;
  • Grimaldi de Nice : leading representatives of the Guelfs party who had exiled from Genoa since the 13th century and
  • Grimaldi d ' Antibes : progenitor: Antonio Grimaldi († 1358), Genoese naval admiral; his sons Luc and Marc took control of Cagnes-sur-Mer in 1371, Menton in 1382 and Antibes in 1384. From 1385 to 1608 he lived in Antibes Castle . Lambert obtained rule in Monaco by marrying his cousin Claudine Grimaldi de Monaco in 1465. In 1608 the Grimaldi d'Antibes sold the city of Antibes to Henry IV and moved to the neighboring Grimaldi Castle in Cagnes-sur-Mer, where they resided as Marquis de Cagnes et d'Antibes until the French Revolution; extinct in the main trunk in the 20th century;
  • The Grimaldi de Puget are a side line of the Grimaldi d'Antibes, who settled in Busca , Piedmont, in the 16th century and provided high officers to the ruling House of Savoy for many generations; In 1704 they received the county of Puget from the Savoy. During the Risorgimento , Eustache Grimaldi, Comte de Puget, went into exile in Belgium; the line continues to bloom in Belgium and France to this day.

There were also numerous lines in Italy :

Grimaldi tombstone around 1450 in Genoa, Chiesa di Santa Maria di Castello

In their home town of Genoa, the Grimaldi went out in 1824 with Marchese Giuseppe Grimaldi. They built or acquired numerous palaces in the old town and in modern times they established the Doges Cristoforo Rosso Grimaldi (ruling 1535–1537), Giacomo Durazzo Grimaldi (1573–1575), Antonio Cebà Grimaldi (1593–1595), Lazzaro Cebà Grimaldi (1597 –1599), Luca (De Castro) Grimaldi (1605–1607), Alessandro Grimaldi (1671–1673), Antonio Cebà Grimaldi (1703–1705), Luca Grimaldi (1728–1730), Giovanni Battista Grimaldi (1752–1754), Giovanni Giacomo Grimaldi (1756–1758) and Pier Franco Grimaldi (1773–1775). The papal legate Cardinal Girolamo Grimaldi (1674-1733) also came from a Genoese branch. In the Dominican convent Chiesa di Santa Maria di Castello there is a Grimaldi chapel, the reliefs of which by Giambologna are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum , London.

In Piedmont the Grimaldi di Belforte held the imperial fiefdom Belforte Monferrato from 1539 to 1652 as the successor to the Spinola , which then fell to the Cattaneo della Volta and finally to the Duchy of Savoy. From 1570 until the 19th century they also owned the town and castle Rocca Grimalda .

There were also branches in Carignano , Bologna , Corsica , and Latium .

In Messimeri, Calabria , descendants of Bertone, brother of Ranieri, settled in the 14th century and formed branches in Seminara , Crotone and Catanzaro (from the latter came Bernardino Grimaldi (1839-1897), who 1884-93 several times as an economic and Minister of Finance of Italy). In Sicily, a line rose to princes of Xirumi (near Lentini ), barons of Calamezzana (extinct in the 20th century).

In Spain , Pablo Gerónimo Marchese Grimaldi (1710–1789), State Secretary and Ambassador in Vienna, was in 1772 by King Charles III. raised to Duke of Grimaldi ; the title is now held by the Márquez, Marqueses de Montefuerte, Duques de Grimaldi family through female inheritance.

Coat of arms of the Grimaldi (depicted in 1747), with two sword-armored Franciscans as shield holders
Rider's seal with a small coat of arms of Monaco as a rider's
shield : 50 cent coin 2002


  • Anne Edwards: The Grimaldis of Monaco . Morrow, New York 1992, ISBN 0688088376 (English).
  • Bettina Grosse de Cosnac : The Grimaldis. Past and present of the Princely Family of Monaco . Updated and revised paperback edition. Bastei Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach 2007, 380 pages, ISBN 978-3-404-61620-6
  • Norbert Loh: Rainier of Monaco. A prince and his family . Droemer Knaur Verlag 2005, ISBN 3-426-66173-X
  • Veszelits, Thomas; The Grimaldis: a frivolous court chronicle; Munich 2007; ISBN 978-3-7844-3091-1
  • Veszelits, Thomas; Monaco AG: How the Grimaldis gild their principality; Munich 2008
  • Jürgen Worlitz : Monaco. The tragedy and splendor of the princely family . Moewig Verlag 1993, ISBN 3-8118-3925-X

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The Principality of Monaco ( en )