19 November, the day of the 'Fête Nationale' - national celebration since 1952
As 16 May 1734 had been the day chosen by Honoré III, Prince Charles III (1818-1889) chose his patron saint's day (4 November) for his accession ceremonies in 1856. It is, therefore, on this date, from 1857, that the sovereign was celebrated each year. In the same way, in 1890, Albert I (1848-1922) decided on 15 November, Saint Albert's Day, for the Prince's celebration. Louis II (1870-1949) departed from the tradition as Saint-Louis is celebrated on 25 August during the holiday month. In the edict of 17 July 1922, the 'sovereign's celebration' was set on 17 January, festival of Saint-Antoine-abbé, patron saint of his grand-daughter, Princess Antoinette (1920-2011). Since 1952, the 'sovereign's celebration', called the 'Fête Nationale' from this time, has been held on 19 November, the day of the anniversary of the ceremony of the accession to the throne of Prince Rainier III (1923-2005) on 19 November 1949, and also the day chosen to celebrate the blessed Rainier d'Arezzo (edict of 27 October 1951). In 1950 and 1951, the 'Fête Nationale' had been celebrated on 11 April (edict of 4 July 1949); 11 April 1950 also representing the accession of Prince Rainier III. In 2005, in tribute to his father, H.S.H. Prince Albert II decided to keep the 'Fête Nationale' on 19 November, chosen as the day of his enthronement after the accession ceremony on the preceding 12 July.
The Prince's festival is the occasion for the national community to celebrate its identity and traditions. The ceremonies and festivities which are held on this occasion reflect Monegasque specificities and traditions:
- National traditions: presentation of honorary distinctions by the Prince and members of his family; parade in the 'cour d'honneur' in the Prince's Palace; taking the salute in the Palace square, which first took place in 1871
- Religious traditions: celebration of the thanksgiving mass and Te Deum in the cathedral, which marks the community's attachment to the Catholic faith
- Festive traditions: gala evening; shows, children's entertainments and free fireworks at the port organized by the Town Hall; amusement fair on Albert I Quay
- Social traditions: distribution of parcels and presents to the needy, the sick and the elderly.