Who Was Princess Caroline Of Monaco's Second Husband?

The Monégasque royal family is not exactly known for its incredible love stories — and some people believe that this is not an accident. Over the years, the princes and princesses of Monaco have struggled so much in their romantic lives that locals believe they are cursed. According to legend, the Grimaldi family's problems began back in the 1200s during the reign of Prince Rainier I. Apparently, the monarch sexually assaulted a young woman, who later became a witch. The story goes that she cast a spell on Rainier and all of his descendants, declaring, "Never will a Grimaldi find true happiness in marriage."

While this may seem like the stuff of folk tales, the fact remains that the Monégasque royals have struggled tremendously in their love lives. Prince Albert and his wife, Princess Charlene, have been the subject of separation rumors since the moment they walked down the aisle. Princess Stéphanie has been married and divorced twice. And, even Princess Caroline had a famously tumultuous love life — thanks to a failed first marriage that constantly seemed to land her in the tabloids.

In the midst of all this romantic chaos, though, there was one relationship that seemed like it was going to last. Throughout the 1980s, Caroline's marriage to the Italian businessman, Stefano Casiraghi, was going so well that it made the Grimaldi family curse sound like just another silly rumor. But, in the end, tragedy struck, and the marriage ended in heartbreak.

Stefano Casiraghi came from a wealthy family

Born in Italy on September 8, 1960, Stefano Casiraghi was immediately thrust into a life of privilege. His father, Giancarlo Casiraghi, was a businessman, while his mother, Fernanda Biffi, was a family woman. However, one could hardly say that the Casiraghi's were just a little bit successful. Au contraire – by the 1960s, they were already famous for having built a financial empire.

Indeed, as reported by The New York Times in 1990, Stefano Casiraghi's wealthy childhood was very much the product of his own father's rags-to-riches story. Giancarlo Casiraghi was born to a railroad gatekeeper but knew exactly how to profit from the Italian industrial boom that followed World War II. The elder Casiraghi made a name for himself in the clothing business, although he also was involved in other enterprises. Over the years, he also dipped his toes into the worlds of construction, real estate, and oil.

These impressive business endeavors meant that Stefano Casiraghi grew up in some of the world's most exclusive environments. During his childhood and adolescence, he was known to spend a great deal of time at Lake Como — where his mother kept a family home. As he grew older, he could be found boating in the crystal clear waters of Corsica and Sardinia. He also loved to soak up some of Europe's most gorgeous mountain views — which he apparently enjoyed all the better from the driver's seat of a Ferrari.

He met Princess Caroline at a Monaco nightclub

Because Stefano Casiraghi frequented so many of the same fabulous places as the Monégasque royal family, it was only a matter of time before the young Italian crossed paths with Princess Caroline. During the spring of 1983, Casiraghi and the princess were introduced to each other at a Monégasque disco called Jimmy's.

At the time, neither Casiraghi nor Caroline were available — emotionally or otherwise. While Casiraghi was engaged to the gorgeous Italian socialite, Pinuccia Macheda, Caroline was in the midst of a tumultuous romance with Ingrid Bergman's son, Roberto Rossellini. Of course, neither relationship was particularly solid. Casiraghi was not totally convinced that Macheda was the woman for him. And, although Caroline and Rossellini had experienced an intense initial connection as they mourned the deaths of their respective mothers, things took a toxic twist when tabloids caught the princess' suitor canoodling another young woman in the Greek Isles.

Perhaps because of the relative instability of their own relationships, it did not take long for Caroline and Casiraghi to link up. There were whispers that the princess was running after the Italian man in order to make Rossellini jealous. However, it didn't take long for things between the princess and her new beau to get serious. Casiraghi wasted no time in ending things with Macheda and, soon, he could be spotted on hunting trips with his new girlfriend's father, Prince Rainier III. Caroline, it seemed, was equally smitten.

Casiraghi won the princess over with his chivalrous demeanor

Part of the reason that Princess Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi fell in love so quickly might have been due to the businessman's gentle personality. As Caroline mourned the loss of her mother, Grace Kelly, Casiraghi was able to provide her with unconditional love. In his book, "Once Upon A Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier," royal expert, J. Randy Taraborrelli, described Casiraghi as a chivalrous "gentleman" who "offered [Caroline] unwavering support as she grieved over her mother's death." This sense of tenderness allowed Casiraghi and Caroline's romance to blossom into a full-blown love story, and the two thrived together.

In 1990, a report by The Washington Post revealed that the princess' social circle was particularly supportive of the relationship. Apparently, inside sources told the outlet that, "under Casiraghi's moderating influence, the haughty, temperamental Caroline became more stable and mature."

Naturally, the Italian businessman spoiled his new girlfriend. According to the biographer, Jeffrey Robinson, Casiraghi would do little things to make Caroline feel special. Per Robinson's book, "Grace of Monaco: The True Story," the princess would laugh "that he would make the perfect husband for her because he had a financial interest in an Italian shoe company and there were few things in the world she liked better than shoes." In response, Casiraghi apparently "had special labels made to put in her shoes, saying they'd been created exclusively for her."

Some courtiers worried that Casiraghi was a bum

Despite Stefano Casiraghi's sweet demeanor, not everybody supported his pursuit of Princess Caroline. Certain palace courtiers were opposed to the match as they worried about the businessman's future prospects. The trouble was that — his family fortune aside – Casiraghi was not always viewed as being particularly ambitious. 

As explained in one 1983 report from The Washington Post, the young man began his economics degree at the University of Bocconi in Milan, only to drop out. To make matters worse, Casiraghi's friends found him to be so idle that they would often poke fun at his copious amount of free time. Per J. Randy Taraborrelli's "Once Upon A Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier," wealthy Italians would call him "Fancazzista" — or, as Taraborrelli put it, someone who "doesn't do a f***ing thing." This reputation hardly portrayed the Italian man as a good fit for the Monégasque royal family.

Luckily, though, these fears about Casiraghi's future ended up being nothing more than just that. Over time, the wealthy young man proved himself capable of contributing to his parents' empire. As revealed in a 1990 article from The Washington Post, Casiraghi made some excellent real estate investments, which were able to launch his career forward. He then started several import/export businesses, allowing Italian shoes and clothes to be sold in the United States. Ultimately, this sense of progress helped Casiraghi gain the acceptance of Caroline's family.

Caroline and Casiraghi had a low-key wedding

On December 29, 1983, Princess Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi got married. Although the couple was excited to make their relationship official, the palace felt that it would be best to keep the celebration private. The reason? Caroline had already walked down the aisle with French playboy, Philippe Junot, just five years earlier — only to get divorced shortly after. Considering how badly her first marriage flopped, it did not make sense for the princess to throw another opulent royal wedding. Thus, the princely family arranged for Caroline and Casiraghi to wed in a 20-minute ceremony held at the Prince's Palace of Monaco. Unlike the princess' first wedding — which was attended by Hollywood's greatest — this time around, she only invited 20 guests.

Fascinatingly, though, there was another factor preventing Caroline from having the wedding of her dreams — the disapproval of the Catholic Church. A devout Catholic herself, Caroline would have liked to have married Casiraghi in the church. However, because the Vatican did not recognize her divorce from Junot, the institution would not allow her to wed her new beau at Monaco's cathedral. For Caroline, this was devastating.

Following, her wedding to Casiraghi, the princess fought hard to convince the Vatican to annul her first marriage. Caroline even appealed to the Sacra Rota, where she revealed the intimate details of her marriage to Junot to the public. As the years passed, though, Caroline waited for her answer.

The pair welcomed three children

Wedding technicalities aside, however, Princess Caroline and Stefano Casiraghi were understood to be very happy together. In June 1984 — just six months after they had tied the knot — the couple welcomed a healthy son named Andrea Casiraghi. They went on to have two more children, Charlotte Casiraghi, and Pierre Casiraghi.

During the years that Caroline and her husband spent raising their three kids, the couple led an extremely idyllic life. Although they lived full-time at the princess' royal Monégasque residence, they also traveled throughout the rest of Europe. As the seasons went by, Caroline and Casiraghi were often spotted enjoying chic destinations, like Paris, Roc Agel, and Lake Como. They also spent a few days every summer enjoying the crystal-clear waters of the small island of Cavallo.

Perhaps, then, it's no surprise that Casiraghi made the princess happy. As Jeffrey Robinson recounted in his book, "Grace of Monaco: The True Story," one only needed to look at Caroline to see how well she was: "Seeing her with her children, and with Stefano always nearby, it was evident that [Caroline had] settled into marriage and motherhood with ease and delight." Caroline was apparently not the only one who felt this way. Casiraghi also seemed both relaxed and fulfilled in his family life. There were even times that he would dream of expanding the ever-growing Casiraghi clan. Robinson explained, "In quiet moments, [the princess] and Stefano spoke of someday having six children."

Casiraghi played the role of the perfect royal husband

It's no secret that marrying into any sort of European royal family can be difficult, but things were surprisingly smooth sailing for Stefano Casiraghi. Unlike other royal newcomers of the 1980s — like Princess Diana or Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York — Casiraghi fit right into the fold of his new family. Of course, it helped that he understood his role in the midst of all of Monaco's princely traditions. Rather than trying to take the spotlight, Casiraghi did his best to allow Princess Caroline to shine. Whenever he could, the Italian man tried to remain behind the scenes.

According to some royal insiders, this ability to avoid the limelight was very much a reflection of Casiraghi's modest character. In the book, "Once Upon A Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier," J. Randy Taraborrelli revealed that one of Casiraghi's buddies, Gary Pudney, used to describe him as "a humble guy." Apparently, this was because of the way that Cariraghi would hold himself in front of his in-laws. As Pudney noted, Caroline's husband "would always step back when the rest of [the Monégasque princely family] were having their picture taken. He never forced himself into that world." 

Interestingly, Pudney was far from being the only one who felt that way. A 1990 article in People quoted another friend of Casiraghi's, who said, "Stefano never pretended to be what he wasn't."

The press struggled to dig up dirt on him

Although Stefano Casiraghi had a smooth transition into royal life, he did not escape the meddling of the European tabloid press. For years, gossip columns tried to come up with scandalous stories about the attractive young businessman — but they came up short time and time again. 

Eventually, the paparazzi decided that if they could not catch Casiraghi in the middle of a dramatic situation, they would try to get him into a bit of trouble. As explained in a 1990 People article, "Photographers sent bikini-clad beauties to pose near him while they snapped away." In the end, though, this trap did not lead to much, as Casiraghi was known for being a faithful husband to Caroline.

After searching for skeletons tirelessly, the only negative thing that the media could find about Casiraghi was that he had avoided Italian military service. However, as royal expert Jeffrey Robinson noted in "Grace of Monaco: The True Story," the businessman "had been medically excused from his military service." In other words, Casiraghi's pretty pristine background was what gave him the chance to enjoy a relatively scandal-free marriage. 

He gave Caroline a sense of normalcy

Ultimately, Stefano Casiraghi's ability to just be himself was what seemingly made him such a good match for Princess Caroline. Unlike her previous love affairs — which thrust her unnecessarily into the spotlight — Caroline's relationship with Casiraghi allowed her to enjoy a stable home life. The way the princess saw things, this was one of the best gifts that her husband could possibly offer her. 

According to Jeffrey Robinson's "Grace of Monaco: The True Story," Caroline once told the press that she valued Casiraghi in a way that she could never value her titles, stating, "It wouldn't bother me at all if I weren't Princess Caroline of Monaco. I prefer to be at home with my husband and children than attacked by photographers." She went on to emphasize the way in which her family life had allowed her to develop an identity outside of her royal role. "I'm just the sister of the future prince [Albert of Monaco], and my children come first. I work my schedule around them." 

Apparently, this lifestyle stemmed from the overall sense of normalcy that Casiraghi gave Caroline. Whereas other royal couples of their generation still relied heavily on governesses and nannies, Casiraghi and Caroline loved spending time with their children, even allowing the young Andrea Casiraghi to sleep with them at night.

Casiraghi enjoyed dangerous speedboat races

Throughout his marriage to Princess Caroline, Stefano Casiraghi proved himself the stable husband that he needed to be. However, there were moments when the young businessman felt that he needed to let loose and have a little bit of fun. 

It's important to note, however, that, for Casiraghi, "fun" did not entail hitting the dance floor. As noted in People, the dedicated family man would go to discos only to remain "quietly" away from "the action." Instead, Casiraghi would let loose by racing speedboats — and oftentimes winning. In fact, in 1984, the adrenaline enthusiast took his boat for a whirl out on Lake Como ... at an impressive 184 miles per hour. At the time, this marked the record for how fast anyone had ever steered a boat on the prestigious Italian lake.

But, Casiraghi's need for speed did not end there. The Washington Post reported that between 1984 and 1990, the sportsman participated in 80 offshore power races — winning 12 of the competitions. He even finished first in the Offshore World Championship races, which were held in Atlantic City in 1989. As a longtime friend of Casiraghi's told People in 1990, "Besides Caroline and the kids, boats were his passion."

He died in a tragic accident

On October 30, 1990, Stefano Casiraghi went to the Offshore World Championships in Monaco in hopes of defending his first-place title. As he stepped aboard a 42-foot catamaran with his friend and co-pilot, Patrice Innocenti, the father of three was focused on winning at all costs. 

After all, in Casiraghi's mind, this was going to be his last time risking it all on the water. By this point, Princess Caroline was reportedly tired of watching her husband participate in such a dangerous sport. Even Casiraghi himself had been forced to recognize the perils of offshore racing after one of his own friends died in a previous competition. As his buddy, Franco Bartolino, told The Washington Post at the time, "He was no hothead, but he loved to take risks ... Stefano told me recently that he intended to quit racing just after this year's championship."

Unfortunately, Casiraghi never got the chance to make the safe choice. As reported by The New York Times in 1990, the speeding enthusiast drove his boat into a wave at 90 miles per hour. Casiraghi died in the accident, and Innocenti was injured. Speaking to The Washington Post, Bartolino revealed that Casiraghi "was going too fast at the time of the accident, and I think it was because he wanted to win one last time, at home in Monaco." He was just 30 years old at the time of his death.