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Prince Rainier Laid to Rest With Pomp, Warmth

Reuters
Saturday, April 16, 2005; Page A13

MONACO, April 15 -- Kings, queens and presidents bade farewell to Monaco's Prince Rainier III on Friday at a funeral in the cathedral where he married Hollywood actress Grace Kelly and will be laid to rest beside her.

Eight palace guards slowly carried Rainier's coffin, draped in Monaco's red and white flag, from the royal palace to the steps of the cathedral. Six other officers then carried the coffin into the cathedral, where family members lighted candles to Rainier, who died April 6 at age 81 of lung, heart and kidney problems.


The congregation stands as Prince Rainier III's coffin, draped in a Monaco flag emblazoned with his family coat of arms, passes at the start of his funeral. (Patrick Lapoirie -- AP)

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Prince Rainier Laid to Rest: Monaco's monarch was given a tearful farewell Friday at a funeral in Monaco's cathedral.

Princesses Caroline and Stephanie wept openly as they walked behind the coffin with their brother, Prince Albert, who will succeed his father as monarch.

"In this same cathedral 49 years ago, almost to the day, he married Her Royal Highness Princess Grace, who disappeared from our view too soon," Bernard Barsi, the archbishop of Monaco, said in a homily.

"With the princess, he made an exceptional couple, united by heart and mind," he said of the U.S.-born actress and the prince. Rainier never remarried.

"For each of us, the prince was certainly the sovereign of the state, but also a friend, a member of our family," the archbishop said. "Today our people feel like orphans of this great man who loved us and whom we respected and loved."

French President Jacques Chirac and King Juan Carlos of Spain sat beside each other in the cathedral at a ceremony attended by about 60 members of royalty, heads of state or their representatives, and other dignitaries.

The mourners included King Carl Gustav XVI of Sweden, Queen Sonja of Norway, Britain's Prince Andrew and members of the royal families of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Denmark, Egypt, Greece and Japan.

Members of the royal household, wearing black, stood holding red or white single roses as the coffin was brought to the cathedral behind a large cross.

The ordinary people of Monaco, a tiny principality of about 30,000 people on the Mediterranean coast next to France and close to Italy, watched from behind metal barriers as the funeral cortege passed.

Rainier took over Monaco when it was a faded gambling center and led it into an age of skyscrapers, international banking and business. Since then the principality has often had to defend itself against accusations that it has become a refuge for dirty money.

The Grimaldi dynasty, which has ruled Monaco for more than seven centuries, is all too familiar with tragedy and making headlines for the wrong reasons.

Caroline's second husband was killed in a motorboat accident, and she and her sister, Stephanie, have often been in the news, mainly for their marital and romantic problems. Albert, 47, is a bachelor and has no children.


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