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Visit of H.S.H. the Prince to Normandie and the Drôme

As part of His regular travels in the territories historically linked to His family, Prince Albert II travelled to Valmont and Rouen on 13 September 2019 and to Romans-sur-Isère on 12 September for a friendship visit.

On 13 September H.S.H. Prince Albert II went to Valmont, in Seine-Maritime. He visited the Benedictine abbey of Notre-Dame du Pré, which was founded in 1169 by Nicolas d’Estouteville, lord of Valmont, which houses the tombs of the Estouteville family who are ancestors of the Sovereign. This visit took place under the guidance of Sister Thérèse, the Mother Abbess, the Mayor of Valmont, Mr Jean-Louis Navarre and the abbey intendant Mr Antoine Dubuc.

The territory of Valmont is linked to the Grimaldi family through Jacques IV de Matignon (1689-1751), descendant of the Estouteville family and married to Louise-Hippolyte Grimaldi in 1715. In 1731, Jacques IV de Matignon acceded to the throne and became Prince of Monaco under the name of Jacques I.

The visit of the abbey, the Cour d'Honneur and the cloister began with the unveiling of a plaque celebrating the 850th anniversary of the creation of the abbey.

H.S.H. the Prince then visited the Grace de Monaco nursery school where He was welcomed by the pupils from the Georges Cuvier elementary school who performed the Monegasque national anthem. Before meeting the nursery pupils Prince Albert and the school principal unveiled a photograph of His mother, Princess Grace, at the school entrance.

H.S.H. the Prince then visited the castle of Valmont, former home of the lords of Estouteville. Now a private domain, the castle has been fully restored in the last twenty years and retains visual evidence relating to the Grimaldi family, particularly in the Chartrier room. This castle hosted the future Prince Honoré V during the first years of the French Revolution.

After a walk from the castle to the centre of the village, H.S.H. the Prince inaugurated the Rue des Princes de Monaco before addressing the people who came to welcome Him.
In the afternoon, Prince Albert II travelled to Rouen to inaugurate "The Princes of Monaco in Normandy. From Estouteville to Grimaldi" exhibition to be held at the Grammont Cultural Centre until 14 December 2019.

This original exhibition has been designed by the Departmental Archives of the Seine-Maritime, curated by Vincent Maroteaux, General Curator of heritage and Michäel Bloche, Curator of heritage, in collaboration with the Archives of the Palace of Monaco. It presents historical documents, paintings and precious objects tracing the history of the family and the Duchy of Estouteville and the village of Valmont, evoking the connections and places that link Haute-Normandie with the Grimaldi.

The day before, Thursday, 12 September in the afternoon, H.S.H. Prince Albert II was welcomed to Romans-sur-Isère. This city is part of the former Duchy of Valentinois that King Louis XIII granted to Prince Honoré II in 1642in application of the Treaty of Péronne, signed on 14 September 1641.

The Sovereign paid a private visit to the International Footwear Museum. The collection, housed in the former convent of the Visitation, is a testimony to the history of the local industry focused on leather-working and the making of luxury shoes.

At the end of His visit, the Sovereign offered a pair of shoes that had been worn during one of His polar explorations. This pair has joined the Museum's collections, which already includes shoes that belonged to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.

After a welcoming ceremony in front of the Collegiate Church of St. Barnard, whose construction began in the eleventh century, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by Prince Albert II. Princess Catherine-Charlotte de Gramont, wife of Prince Louis I, had previously been welcomed, at the end of October 1661, by the people of Romans-sur-Isère in the same setting. One of the ancient city registers bears mention of this visit.

The party then visited the historic heart of the city, in particular the Place Jacquemart and the kiosk of the Place Jules Nadi, in front of the town hall, where the population of Romans-sur-Isère was invited for a reception.


Visit of H.S.H. the Prince to Normandie and the Drôme