Who Is Prince Albert Of Monaco's Oldest Son Alexandre Grimaldi?

Until August 16, 2023, the public had not heard much from Alexandre Grimaldi. Indeed, for years, the oldest son of Prince Albert of Monaco and the former flight attendant, Nicole Coste, had remained incredibly private. He had not given any interviews. He had not made any controversial statements online. And even though his Instagram profile is technically set to "public," Alexandre has strikingly few photos for a teenager. In many ways, the young man was a ghost.

However, all this changed during the summer of 2023 when, days before his 20th birthday, Alexandre broke his public silence. Sitting down with the French outlet, Point de Vue, the eldest Grimaldi son revealed key elements of his personality, including his elegance, tact, and — at some points — brutal honesty. Throughout the conversation, Alexandre was not afraid to tackle difficult conversations, most notably his unusual pedigree. After all, Alexandre might be the son of a prince, but he did not grow up in a palace. Instead, he spent most of his childhood living with his mother between London and Paris. Nevertheless, Alexandre said that he was fortunate to grow up with such "benevolent" parents. He later added, "I've had some rather happy times, to tell the truth."

Happy or not, though, Alexandre's life has been complicated from the start. From his mother's battle to document the identity of his father to his feelings about being called Albert's "illegitimate son," here is everything you need to know about Alexandre Grimaldi.

Alexandre Grimaldi was once Prince Albert's biggest secret

On August 24, 2003, Alexandre Grimaldi was born. Although his mother, Nicole Coste, had been seeing Prince Albert of Monaco for approximately six years, she could not immediately claim Albert as her son's father. The reason? Albert was apparently resistant to the idea. As Nicole would later tell The Daily Mail, "When I first broke the news [of my pregnancy] to Albert, he was fine about it ... [But, over time] I think palace officials had got to him, possibly pointing out future inheritance problems."

Thus, Alexandre's birth set off a long, tumultuous battle between Nicole and Albert. As explained by the French outlet, L'Express, the former lovers embarked on a period of "long and bitter negotiation" that involved an "anonymous genetic analysis in Switzerland" and "a confidential act at a notary." By the time Alexandre was almost 2 years old, he still had no father listed on his documents. And, perhaps even more shocking, the people of Monaco and neighboring France had no idea that he even existed.

Frustrated and likely exhausted, Nicole delivered the coup de grace when she went to the press. She gave a bombshell 2005 interview with the French outlet, Paris Match, and shocked the world with photos of Albert and his son. Within weeks, Albert announced that his "ethical convictions" had motivated him to recognize paternity (per L'Express). Alexandre, meanwhile, became known in Europe as Albert's "secret child."

He was denied the right to inherit the throne

Although Prince Albert eventually recognized paternity of Alexandre Grimaldi, he did not get any kind of princely status. Alexandre also was excluded from the line of succession, meaning that he could never wear the Monégasque crown. As relayed in The Royal Observer, the reason for this is that, according to local laws, children born out of wedlock cannot inherit the throne. Since Nicole Coste and Albert were never married, Alexandre could never be considered an heir.

In Alexandre's particular case, these technicalities may seem heartbreaking. After all, he is Albert's firstborn son — meaning that, if his parents had ever married, Alexandre would be the one to inherit the throne after Albert dies. What's more, if Alexandre were to ascend, he wouldn't even be the first Monégasque love child to enter the line of succession. In fact, Albert's own grandmother, Princess Charlotte, was the daughter of Prince Louis II and a cabaret singer named Marie Juliette. At the end of the day, this means that Alexandre could have potentially taken the throne with legal precedent on his side. However, Albert never gave Alexandre the support to do so.

Instead, Albert has named Prince Jacques his successor. As the legitimate son of Albert and his wife, Princess Charlene, Jacques is firmly positioned to become the next reigning prince of Monaco. Alexandre, meanwhile, receives financial support from his father — but no royal perks to speak of.

Alexandre Grimaldi did not always get to see his dad

It is understood that Prince Albert has gone out of his way to provide for Alexandre Coste and his mother, Nicole Coste. Indeed, as reported by L'Express, Alexandre and Nicole receive plenty of gifts, including "a regular allowance, extras from the great fashion designers, and a sumptuous villa on the Côte d'Azur with a view of the sea." However, all of this luxury might not have been enough for Alexandre growing up. After all, money is not everything. And it is believed that Albert was not always present in Alexandre's life.

As Nicole told The Daily Mail in 2014, the prince would sometimes go months at a time without visiting his son. This, apparently, weighed heavily on the single mother. "A boy needs his father, and I wrote to Albert saying this was not about money. Our son needs a father with whom he can talk, who will pay regular visits — not one who appears and disappears," she said.

Sadly, Nicole was not the only one who suffered in light of Albert's absences. According to a family friend, Alexandre had a really difficult time growing up away from his dad. "Alexandre misses his daddy dreadfully," revealed the source. "He has started to feel sad and rejected." What's worse, the son would apparently question why Albert was away, asking, "Why can't I see Daddy?" The source explained, "He has to be told that his father is busy." 

When Alexandre visited the palace, he was not always treated well

Over time, Alexandre Grimaldi was able to build a stronger relationship with his dad. He was also given the opportunity to spend more time with his half-siblings, Jazmin Grace — another one of Prince Albert's love children — as well as the much younger Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella. For the most part, this family bonding seems to have been successful. 

Speaking to Point de Vue, Alexandre revealed that he feels "tenderness" toward his two little siblings. As for Jazmin, Alexandre declared, "I love her like I love my two big brothers on my mother's side. We all get along very well, and Jazmin is also very close to one of my two brothers with whom she shares the same birthday. We've a good relationship despite the fact that we live in distant countries."

All this love aside, however, Alexandre's family reunions have not always been uplifting. As Nicole Coste told Paris Match, there have been instances when Alexandre was treated poorly while visiting the palace. According to Nicole's account, Princess Charlene once went so far as to kick Alexandre out of his normal chambers, obliging him to sleep in the servants' quarters instead. Nicole said, "She, for example, changed my son's room, taking advantage of his father's absence to install him in the employee wing." Naturally, Nicole viewed this move as insulting, telling the French outlet that the episode "alerted and shocked me."

Alexandre was slowly accepted by the royal family

Bad blood or not, Alexandre Grimaldi was eventually accepted into the royal family — albeit slowly. As his mother, Nicole Coste, explained in an interview with Paris Match, this was all part of Prince Albert's plan. Apparently, the reigning prince wanted Alexandre to become a part of his family via some sort of step-by-step process. 

Naturally, this was not always something that Nicole was on board with. The former flight attendant told the outlet: "Albert made a commitment from the outset to be present, and to gradually bring his son into his family. Of course, for me, a child must be fully accepted as soon as it comes into the world. I had to accept this proposal because, for me, at the time, things were already difficult."

Over time, Nicole came to understand that Albert would give Alexandre some degree of acceptance. This was apparent when Albert asked his younger sister, Princess Stéphanie, to play a greater role in the young man's life. Nicole recalled: "I was reassured when Princess Stéphanie became Alexandre's godmother. Albert has honored his promise. Things are building up well and running their course, which I am delighted about." She was also likely reassured to see the prince take an interest in her son's education. As she told Paris Match, "Until now, [Albert and I] have taken the important decisions together. His school enrollments have always been signed by both of our hands."

He began studying business

Ultimately, though, Alexandre Grimaldi does not seem like he is ready to let his quasi-royal status define him. Instead, he is taking matters into his own hands and preparing himself for whatever the future holds. In practice, this means that Alexandre has remained devoted to academics. His most recent endeavor has been studying business at a university in Britain. 

As the young man told Point de Vue, he sees this academic pathway as the opportunity of a lifetime. "It's a chance when you study and you don't have to worry about anything," he said. Because of this, Alexandre is not worried about distractions, like fads or fashions. On the contrary, he declared, "The commitment which takes precedence in my life today is finishing my university studies."

Of course, like many young people, Alexandre has thought quite a bit about his future. And, while he still doesn't know what he wants to do, the prince's son knows that the issue of climate change is seriously on his radar. "Climate and environmental issues preoccupy me like everyone else and any young person in the 21st century. We must preserve nature," Alexandre told Point de Vue. Many young royals collaborate with their parents on social projects, and Alexandre hinted that he would do the same. "The friends of my older brothers who have entrepreneurial parents collaborate with their fathers or with their family, and they are quite happy about it."

He has worked as a model

Interestingly, business has not been Alexandre Grimaldi's only major interest. The prince's son has also dipped his toes into modeling — a career once enjoyed by his late grandmother, Grace Kelly. As Nicole Coste revealed in an interview with Paris Match, Alexandre was actually scouted by an agency. 

"Incidentally, he has just been recruited by a modeling agency which intends to employ him, when he has the leisure, for advertising campaigns," she shared. That being said, Nicole did not want Alexandre's side gig to get in the way of his schooling. "I consider this as a 'student job' which will help him to forge himself. I will also encourage him to do work placements as part of his studies."

Luckily for Nicole, though, she didn't need to worry about Alexandre prioritizing modeling over school. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Alexandre grew less and less enthusiastic about the prospect of strutting down a catwalk. Speaking to Point de Vue, he explained, "The idea of being photographed in nice clothes and looking elegant amused me. But COVID happened, and I ended up losing interest." Compellingly, though, part of the reason that Alexandre decided to separate himself from the modeling world had to do with his royal blood. The young man said, "My father is a prince and head of state — I personally cannot imagine myself marching on a podium." He did concede, though, that he would consider being a brand ambassador.

Alexandre has been attending more royal events

Although Alexandre Grimaldi is not an official member of the Monégasque royal family, he has started to attend an increasing number of royal gatherings. In 2021, he made his debut at Monaco's annual Gala de la Croix Rouge, one of the principality's biggest society events. Recalling this momentous occasion, Nicole Coste told Paris Match, "I was invited, and I asked Alexandre, on the eve of his 18th birthday, to escort me. It pleased him a lot."

Of course, the gala was not the only major event that Alexandre has attended since he came of age. The prince's son also was spotted at the Cannes Film Festival in July 2021. And he joined his mother at the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix in May 2022. Notably, he and Nicole did not sit far from Prince Albert and Princess Charlene at the race — a fact that made waves in the French press.

Interestingly, while Alexandre has yet to express interest in becoming a working royal, the same cannot be said for his mother. In the past, Nicole has expressed an interest in taking on a larger role within Monaco's royal family, telling Paris Match: "Regarding the principality, I love the Monégasques with a sincere love, and they reciprocate. If I am asked to contribute to a charitable or other task, I will do so with great pleasure and benevolence." Of course, she also conceded that Alexandre's future "is up to the sovereign prince."

Alexandre Grimaldi hates being called 'illegitimate'

Alexandre Grimaldi's future within the Monégasque royal family might not yet be clear. However, there is one thing that the prince's son wants the world to know — he does not consider himself "illegitimate." As he explained in an interview with Point de Vue, Alexandre finds this term degrading. He declared, "Nor am I 'illegitimate,' since when I was born, neither of my parents was in another marriage, and they did not commit adultery. Using that word is insulting."

The young man also refuses to be called "Coste-Grimaldi," which is the hyphenated version of his two parents' last names. In Alexandre's view, he deserves to use Prince Albert's last name. After all, the Monégasque royal is his father. He explained, "My father's name is Grimaldi. It makes sense that I bear his name. I would have been called Dochomel if my father had been Mr. Dochomel."

Fascinatingly, these statements mirror ideas that Nicole Coste had previously presented to the press. In a conversation with Paris Match, Nicole once said, "Before I was pregnant, I had known a five-year relationship with his father, enough time for us to have mutual trust. To continue to say or write that our son is an illegitimate child is incorrect and insulting." Naturally, these sorts of declarations put forth the question of whether Alexandre will one day vie for the throne. After all, his legitimacy is the one thing lying between him and the crown.

He might appear more in the press

Following Alexandre Grimaldi's conversation with Point de Vue, it is likely that the prince's son will take on a much more visible role. Before his 18th birthday, it is believed that Prince Albert and Nicole Coste wanted to keep him out of the spotlight. As Nicole herself told Paris Match in 2021, "For 18 years, his father and I made sure not to expose him officially. It was a joint decision to preserve [his privacy]." 

That being said, it seems that Alexandre's time away from public life is slowly coming to an end. In the same interview, Nicole added, "From now on, things will gradually change. I don't find it embarrassing, at this stage, to give some news and show how happy Alexandre is, surrounded. That's why I accepted the interview you offered me."

In his own interview with Point de Vue, Alexandre made a huge effort to show just how content he is with his life. He spoke positively of his friends, as well as his parents. He even joked about his younger half-siblings, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, and their many toys. In the end, he summed things up, "One thing is certain: Today, I am a happy man being open and honest with you." We shall see if he gives another interesting interview in the future.