Strange Things Everyone Ignores About Prince Albert Of Monaco

Everybody has a weird side, and royals are no exception. When these blue bloods aren't busy setting fashion trends or performing their official duties, they are just normal people ... with quite a few idiosyncrasies. After all, Prince Edward has been known to dislike the royal tradition of shaking people's hands at outings, while Princess Beatrice is said to have a weird connection to the number eight. And, don't even get us started on all the foods King Charles III refuses to eat (okay, we'll get started: foie gras is a total no-go).

When compared to all these other royals, Prince Albert of Monaco may seem like something of an average Joe. After all, the monarch has typically had very little trouble greeting his subjects, he doesn't appear to have a unique relationship to a number, and it has been reported that he maintains a healthy appetite. 

However, the Monégasque royal still has plenty of unusual traits that make him stand out from other Europeans of his rank. Unlike most other princes, Albert has Hollywood connections — which actually took him a long while to wrap his head around. And, differently from figures like Prince Harry or Prince William, Albert has struggled to keep his former partners — including one college girlfriend — from leaking his most intimate secrets to the public. 

As a kid, he didn't totally get his mom's movie star past

Prince Albert may have been born into a special family, but it took a while for him to understand the full extent of his background. As the son of Prince Rainier of Monaco and American movie star Grace Kelly, Albert was not only expected to figure out his royal role from a very young age — but also to understand certain elements of Hollywood life. And during his younger years, the prince did not fully comprehend his mother's glamorous past.

According to Jeffrey Robinson's "Grace of Monaco: The True Story," Albert needed quite a bit of time to assimilate that his mother had been an actor — and a super famous one at that. Apparently, he and his older sister, Princess Caroline, would watch some of Grace's old movies — without understanding that the films did not represent real life. The two siblings would watch their mother play various characters, but would wonder why she wasn't behaving like she normally behaved. 

This was especially true when Albert and Caroline would watch the 1953 film "Mogambo." As Caroline told Robinson, "There's one scene where she turns to Clark Gable and says, 'I didn't know monkeys climbed trees.' It was the silliest thing I'd ever heard. We'd repeat that to her and then break up [laughing]. Being children, it was difficult for us to understand that she was acting."

He participated in Glee Club in college

As the years went on, however, Prince Albert came to understand his mother's career as an actor ... and he even tried dabbling in the performing arts himself. In fact, during the four years that he spent studying at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Albert tried out a number of unique extracurricular activities, including Glee Club. As the monarch himself revealed in an interview with the on-campus publication, The Amherst Student, "I was a member of the college Glee Club at the time. Now there are mixed choirs, but at the time, I was a part of the male choir and Glee Club. And that was fantastic!"

Fascinatingly, the prince's time in Glee Club involved a great deal of international travel. Speaking to The Amherst Student, the prince recalled, "We did concerts and tours outside of Amherst with other orchestras. In the summer of 1979, [we toured] Europe and the Middle East under the leadership of Professor Bruce G. McInnes. It was fantastic!"

Perhaps more importantly, though, Albert's involvement with the singing club also inspired him to pursue a bit of work in the arts. According to Albert, this was one of the only times in his life that he got to have a normal job: "I was an art library attendant for several months — it was great to know what it feels like to earn a paycheck. Not that I don't get paid in Monaco, but I don't really see my paycheck."

The prince became an Olympian on a whim

Most Olympians spend their entire lives training for competitions. Gymnast Gabby Douglas began training when she was 6 years old, Mia Hamm got started when she was 5, and Prince Albert's wife, Princess Charlene — whose placed 6th in the 200 meter backstroke swimming race — once told the outlet Monaco Matin, "This dream became mine during my childhood: that of participating in the Olympic Games, of winning a medal."

In contrast to these other athletes, Albert had a much more casual introduction to the Olympics. Although the prince competed in the bobsledding competition five times between 1988 to 2002, he did not even practice the sport until after he had graduated from college. And, as Albert revealed in an interview with The Amherst Student, the prince did not learn about bobsledding until his junior year. He explained, "I didn't really think about it until the Olympics in 1980. It was during that time that I went up on a weekend to Lake Placid to watch some Olympic competition. Then, I saw a bobsled competition for the first time in my life."

Eventually, Albert said that he reconnected with his old nanny — whose husband just so happened to be a bobsledding coach. The prince decided to start training. However, as he himself admitted in his interview, "A lot of those I happened upon quite by accident. I stumbled into bobsledding ... It's an incredible story of coincidence."

Albert used to be a bit of a gym rat

Although Prince Albert may have "stumbled" into the Olympic Games, he did eventually get serious about staying fit. At one point early on in his career, the athletic young prince spent so much time working out that he became something of a gym rat. As explained in Jeffrey Robinson's biography "Grace of Monaco: The True Story," Albert used to go to the gym every morning in order to maintain the physical condition necessary for some of his favorite sports. Robinson wrote, "He stayed in shape, played better-than-average tennis, and held a black belt in judo."

Over time, however, Albert upped his gym ante so much that he found himself training in the middle of the night. According to Robinson's reporting, the prince eventually had to take a step back from athletics in order to focus on his royal duties. And, to Albert's great chagrin, this meant taking a huge step back from bobsledding. 

This dynamic became very clear when Albert announced his Olympic retirement in Nagano. Speaking to the press about his decision, the Monégasque royal revealed, "There have been times when I have come back from a [royal] function and gone to the gym at one in the morning." Given his other responsibilities, this intense gym schedule was clearly not sustainable. And, in 2002, Albert hung up his competitive bobsledding helmet for good.

He is said to joke about the number of paternity cases he has faced

It's no secret that Prince Albert has fathered at least a couple of royal love children over the years. His eldest daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, was conceived back in 1991 after a beachside fling with a California-based realtor called Tamara Rotolo. And, his second-born child — a son named Alexandre Grimaldi — was the product of a six-year-long relationship between Albert and an AirFrance flight attendant named Nicole Coste. However, when Jazmin and Alexandre actually came into the world in 1992 and 2003, respectively, Albert was not quick to claim paternity. In fact, he did not take responsibility for Alexandre until he was just shy of his second birthday, and he refused to recognize Jazmin until she turned 11.

Given this complicated history of illegitimate children, one would think that Albert would take this issue seriously. However, the monarch has been said to joke about the many paternity cases that he has faced over the years. Speaking to Town & Country, Albert's friend Stéphane Bern divulged, "One day Albert told me, 'Oh, if I listened to all the claims, I would have more children than anybody else in the world.'" Bern went on to admit that he has even teased the prince about his past, revealing, "Sometimes I make jokes about it. I say that I'm too old to be [Albert's] son." While not everyone would find this funny, Bern said that the prince gets a kick out of it.

Rumor has it that he took one lover to meet Vladimir Putin

Prince Albert's history of paternity claims might be considered strange in and of itself. However, no paternity claim may be as strange as the one filed by a Brazilian-Italian woman by the name of Mariza S. According to court documents, Albert and Mariza first crossed paths in a Rio de Janeiro nightclub in 2004. However, it did not take long for the monarch to take his new paramour on an extraordinary journey to Russia.

In effect, Mariza claims that Albert introduced himself to her as a Canadian lawyer and diplomat who was traveling the world on business. He apparently invited her to join him on his international adventure, whisking her away to Lisbon and then Milan. While the pair were in Italy, Mariza says that Albert helped her apply for a Russian visa, using Monégasque consular services. As soon as her documents were in order, Albert and Mariza were said to have traveled to Moscow — where the prince introduced his lover to none other than Vladimir Putin.

As bizarre as this story may sound, Mariza's lawyer, Erich Grimaldi, told Town & Country that his client had submitted credible documents to back up her claims. What's more, he noted that Mariza was not interested in suing Albert for money or fame. All his client wanted, Grimaldi said, was a paternity test — as nine months after her supposed trip to Russia, Mariza welcomed a baby girl.  

Prince Albert went to work during his honeymoon

Mariza S. is not the only woman who is understood to have had an unusual romantic experience with Prince Albert. In fact, the monarch's own wife, Princess Charlene, has also had some interactions with Albert that were completely out of the ordinary. One of the best examples of this occurred in 2011 shortly after Albert and Charlene tied the knot. Like many other newlywed couples, the pair commemorated their nuptials with what was supposed to be a romantic honeymoon. However, it soon became clear that the prince chose to work during this special moment.

Indeed, as reported by ABC News, Albert did not spend his South African honeymoon lazing around with his new wife. Instead, he stayed holed up at a hotel in Durban, where he kept busy performing his duties. In a statement passed to Peter Allen of the Daily Mail, a senior palace official explained, "The Prince was in a meeting at the Hilton with members of the International Olympic Committee from July 5 to 9. For practical reasons, it was better to sleep there."

To make matters even more strange, it eventually came out that Charlene was not staying at the Hilton in Durban with her husband. Instead, the princess spent her honeymoon solo — at a seaside hotel located 10 miles away from Albert. Speaking to ABC News, Allen remarked, "You have to ask, why couldn't Charlene have stayed in Durban? It's a mystery."

He remained far from Princess Charlene when she was said to be dying

Princess Charlene's honeymoon was not the only time that the Zimbabwe-born bombshell was left high and dry by Prince Albert. In 2021, the princess came down with a mysterious ear, nose, and throat infection on a trip to South Africa — and she went months without seeing her husband. This was reportedly because her condition was so bad. Apparently, the state of her health was so terrible that she was too weak to fly back home to Monaco. As one of Charlene's friends anonymously told Page Six, she suffered "severe sinus and swallowing issues stemming back from an earlier surgery." They went on to emphasize just how sick the princess was during this time: "We don't know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa."

Given the precarious state of Charlene's health, one would think that Albert would have rushed down to South Africa to be at his wife's side. However, during the vast majority of Charlene's illness, the prince remained thousands of miles away in Monaco. In fact, during the six months that the princess was abroad, Albert only visited his wife twice. As reported by People, he touched down in South Africa once in June 2021 before returning to her side once more in August. While he was technically present for part of Charlene's ordeal, Albert chose to be away from his sick partner for weeks on end. 

Albert may have cheated on Catherine Alric

Before Prince Albert ever met Princess Charlene, he was known for going out with a lot of different women. In fact, Albert's dating history includes a wide range of ex-lovers, ranging from models like Claudia Schiffer and Brooke Shields to musicians, like Michele Freeman. At one point, he was even linked to French actor Catherine Alric — although, from what we can tell, that romance did not go particularly well.

According to "Grace of Monaco: The True Story" by Jeffrey Robinson," Albert and Alric did not have a particularly healthy romance. Apparently, the dashing young prince was unfaithful to his gorgeous French paramour — and Alric was furious. In attempt to save the relationship, Albert was said to have given Alric what Robinson described as "apologetic flowers." Unimpressed, the gorgeous actor apparently sent the gift right back to the prince. As if that was not enough, Alric also sent Albert his belongings and a note that read, "Love without faithfulness is like a flower without sun." The relationship was over.

Interestingly, Albert has spoken out about his previous struggles to settle down and commit to one partner. In a conversation with Robinson, the prince explained, "It's a question of timing. You don't feel ready, or you don't feel confident, or you haven't met the right person. Maybe it's my desire to be independent that has also prevented me from having a steady relationship."

The prince was accused of going months without seeing his oldest son

These days, Prince Albert may try to portray himself as a family man, but in the past, it was suggested that the monarch was shirking his fatherly duties. In 2014, Albert's former lover, Nicole Coste, went to the press to publicly accuse the prince of not spending time with their son, Alexandre Grimaldi. In a conversation with the Daily Mail, Coste claimed, "The truth is that, I'm sorry to say, Albert hasn't seen Alexandre since a brief visit last September."

According to the former flight attendant, the reason for Albert's absence was a direct consequence of his marriage to Princess Charlene. Coste shared, "It has become impossible [for Albert to see his son] since he married that girl. I suppose, as a new wife, how would one feel? But she should think about my innocent child. I don't want to attack her but I think it is just jealousy and I don't know why."

Of course, beyond the obvious tensions between Coste and Charlene, Alexandre seemed to struggle tremendously with his father's absence. As a close friend of Coste's told the Daily Mail, "Alexandre misses his daddy dreadfully. He has started to feel sad and rejected." Apparently, the young boy would tearfully ask his mother, "Why can't I see Daddy?" And, in an attempt to protect his feelings, the friend revealed, "He has to be told that his father is busy."

His lover from Amherst told the press about their intimate life

While Prince Albert's reputation for being a "playboy" has certainly gotten in his way over the years, there is one woman who has continued to defend him. As unlikely as it may seem, this person is Catharine Rockwell — Albert's ex-girlfriend from his Amherst College days. Speaking to J. Randy Taraborrelli for his book "Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier," Rockwell remembered Albert as a fantastic lover. She recalled, "We dated a few times. He was Al Grimaldi, that's how he introduced himself. He was honest and sincere, the kind of boy who would never have sex with you because it just wouldn't be 'right.'"

Rockwell went on to describe Albert in all the best ways, calling him "handsome beyond belief" and "so good-looking." She gushed over his looks, recalling him as, "Thin [and] sexy [with] beautiful eyes [and] great teeth." 

Then, in what was perhaps a breach of the prince's privacy, his former lover spoke openly about their sex life. "Finally, after about four months, Al and I were intimate. Afterward, he was concerned about me, hoping he hadn't taken advantage of me." Apparently the prince told her, "What matters to me is that you have a good memory of me and of what we did." As if we could have any doubt of how Rockwell felt about Albert, she affirmed, "I did, and I still do."