A humanist Prince

Portrait of H.S.H. Prince
Albert I of Monaco,
by Léon Bonnat (1904)

Fall 1889, Prince Albert succeeded his father. His high work capacity, his methodical mind, the skills of his close collaborators allowed him to carry out at once his new responsibilities as a Sovereign, his scientific works in oceanography and prehistoric anthropology, as well as diplomatic and social initiatives. All his endeavours aimed at modernizing his State, diversifying its resources and making it more appealing for his nationals as well as for foreign residents. He reformed legislation and promulgated a constitution. The hospital, social and school structures were constantly improved. The musical and artistic influence exerted by Monaco asserted itself with the Opera and the Exhibition of Fine Arts.

As a strong advocate for pacifism and arbitration between nations, he created in 1903 an International Institute for Peace in Monaco, a foreshadowing of the League of Nations.

He undertook an unflagging diplomatic activity in order to prompt a Franco-German rapprochement, for lack of a genuine reconciliation.

Until his death in Paris, on June 26th 1922, he pursued his activities, which philosophy he summarized as follows:

"Today, the Head of State could not find a more noble duty, in the role incumbent upon him, than to guide his people towards the evolution compelled by a fundamental law of the Universe, and to encourage scientific progress. Science, indeed, is the most powerful stabilizing influence of this evolution, since it stems from absolute truth."

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