Her Serene Highness Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois (Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi, née Louvet) (30 September 1898 - 15 November 1977), styled HSH The Duchess of Valentinois, was the daughter of Louis II, Prince of Monaco, and the mother of Prince Rainier III. From 1919 until 1944, she was the Hereditary Princess of Monaco, heiress to the throne.
Birth and adoption
Born in Constantine, Algeria, she was the illegitimate daughter of Marie Juliette Louvet, a cabaret singer, and Prince Louis II. On the death of Prince Louis II, theretofore without a legitimate heir, the throne of Monaco was due to pass to the German Duke of Urach , Louis II's cousin, son of Princess Florestine of Monaco; to forstall this event, on 15 November 1911 a law was passed recognizing Charlotte as Louis's daughter, and making her part of the sovereign family. Though it was later held to be invalid under the 1882 statutes, another law was passed in 1918 modifying the statutes to guarantee succession rights to an adopted heir. Louis adopted Charlotte in 1919, bestowing on her the surname Grimaldi and the titles of Hereditary Princess of Monaco and Duchess of Valentinois; she was thus his heir apparent from 1919 until 30 May 1944 (see below).
Charlotte (center) with her children Rainier
(left) and Antoinette
In 1920, Louis arranged Charlotte's marriage to Count Pierre de Polignac of Guidel , Morbihan, Brittany, France who, by the Prince's ordinance, took the surname Grimaldi and became a Prince of Monaco. The couple had two children:
Their marriage was not, however, a happy one; they separated in 1930 and were divorced in 1933.
On 30 May 1944, the day before her son's 21st birthday and in full agreement with her father, Charlotte ceded her rights to the throne to her son Rainier, subject to the stipulation that he did not predecease her. From this date she was no longer Hereditary Princess of Monaco, though she retained the titles of Princess of Monaco and Duchess of Valentinois.
Late in life she went to college, obtaining a degree in social work. After her son assumed the throne, Princess Charlotte moved to live at Marchais, the Grimaldi estate outside of Paris. Despite the objections of her children who feared for her safety, she turned the estate into a rehabilitation centre for ex-convicts. She lived at the estate with her lover, a noted French jewel thief.
In 1977, Princess Charlotte died in Paris, France.
|- style="text-align: center;"
| width="30%" |Preceded by:
| width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Duchess of Valentinois
1919 - 1977
| width="30%" |Succeeded by:
(merged with crown)