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Last Updated: Friday, 8 April, 2005, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Faces of the week
Faces of the week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Prince Albert of Monaco (main picture), with Lee Bowyer, Mona Lisa, Saul Bellow and Grace Jones.

PRINCE ALBERT OF MONACO

With the death of Europe's longest-reigning monarch, Prince Rainier of Monaco, his son and heir, Prince Albert, will now be subject to even more intense scrutiny as he tries to keep the tiny Mediterranean principality off the rocks.

Few expect Albert to emulate his father's astute management of Monaco's affairs. Rainier's achievements were impressive and he also acquired a beautiful Hollywood bride, Grace Kelly, whose image helped to restore the sparkle to a fading Monte Carlo.

Rainier defeated an attempt by President de Gaulle to bring Monaco under French tax law and, realising that Monaco could not survive solely by its casino, encouraged manufacturing, banking and other tourist-generated activities.

Media circus

In 2002, he overturned the law that if a Grimaldi ruler died without a direct blood heir to succeed him, the principality would be absorbed into France. The constitution was amended to allow women to inherit the title, so that Rainier's elder daughter, Caroline, is now second in line to the throne.

Prince Albert of Monaco with his sister Princess Caroline of Hanover
Princess Caroline now follows her brother in the line of succession
Caroline's life has been a colourful carnival, and sister Stephanie's liaisons with unlikely partners, including a trapeze artist and an elephant trainer, have continued to entertain the media circus.

Their parents' lives, too, were peppered with stories of affairs, but Prince Albert the Second will take the throne unencumbered by scandal. Affable and intelligent, balding but generally considered handsome, he also has his own talents.

He speaks French, English, German and Italian and has spent the past 25 years preparing for his new role since completing his formal education at Amherst College in Massachusetts.

Passionate prince

Now 47, Albert has experience in several fields. He had a tour of duty with the French navy, worked for an investment bank and a luxury goods group and, in Monaco, has chaired the Yacht Club, the Red Cross and the International Television Festival.

Eight years ago, he also supervised the celebrations to celebrate seven centuries of Grimaldi rule, which began when an Italian pirate seized the citadel of Monaco in 1297 while disguised as a monk.

Prince Rainier III of Monaco with his children Albert and Stephanie
Princess Stephanie: Inheritance cut
He once dreamed of being a professional footballer, is a keen supporter of the Monaco team and has been a member of his country's bobsleigh team at four Winter Olympics.

But among the 32,000 residents of Monaco, there are many who think Albert's passion for sport is all-consuming, to the detriment of romance.

Often described as a playboy, albeit a shy one, he has been seen with a succession of glamorous women, including Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Brooke Shields, and more recently with the actress and former model Tasha de Vasconcelos. But he has yet to tie the knot.

'Russian refuge'

The prince has promised to devote himself to his new role "with strength, conviction and passion", but his success will depend on maintaining Monaco's stability.

Even now, France seems to eye the principality, which is little bigger than London's Hyde Park, with a mixture of avarice and disdain. It would also welcome the opportunity to close a bolt-hole for tax evaders.

Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Ernst of Hanover, Princess Caroline and her three children
The future of Monaco is in Albert's hands
Albert must hope there are no family squabbles, at least not in public, about his father's will, which slashed Stephanie's inheritance from 500m to 17m.

Crucially, he will try to ensure that Monaco does not degenerate once more into "a sunny place for shady people", as Somerset Maugham once described it.

The principality once accused of tolerating money-laundering by the Nazis has, since the fall of communism, become known as a refuge for the Russian mafia.

Prince Albert is one of the world's last remaining autocrats. He might need to use his power to intervene in almost every aspect of life in his realm to maintain its moral and sovereign integrity.

One of the most optimistic assessments comes from the author of the authorised biography of Rainier and Grace, Jeffrey Robinson, who says that Albert once asked him how he could follow his father and mother.

"The answer is you don't," said Robinson. "But Albert will cope."


Apology: Lee Bowyer
Lee Bowyer

The Newcastle United midfielder Lee Bowyer has released a statement apologising for his part in the brawl with team-mate Kieron Dyer during last weekend's Premiership game with Aston Villa. Bowyer, 28, said: "I'd die for this football club and all I can do is to plead with the Newcastle United fans to forgive me." He got his wish by way of a standing ovation in his next appearance as substitute, but was fined six weeks' wages and still has to answer charges from the Football Association.

The Mona Lisa: Change of scene
Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa has arrived in her new home, the Louvre's Salle des Etats, after undergoing a four-year, 4.8m euro makeover. "It's completely new, completely different," says a Louvre spokeswoman. Now there is more space for the 6 million people who visit the museum each year to view Leonardo's masterpiece. Even so, the world's most famous painting remains silent on her opinion about the new setting.

Nobel winner mourned: Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow, the Nobel Prize-winning US author, has died at the age of 89. Bellow's many books included award-winning works like Herzog and Humboldt's Gift. Critics considered the Canadian-born writer one of the finest American novelists of his generation, on a par with Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. Bellow won the Nobel Literature Prize in 1976 and was still writing up to a few months ago.

Grace Jones: Kicked off Eurostar
Grace Jones

Actress and pop star Grace Jones had a run-in with Eurostar staff after a disagreement over her ticket. Eurostar officials say that Jamaican-born Jones boarded the train in Paris with a first-class ticket but sat in the area reserved for premium-class ticket holders, a more exclusive travel class. Jones says she left the train at the earliest opportunity. She has a reputation for being temperamental, once slapping television chat show host Russell Harty.

Compiled by BBC News Profiles Unit's Chris Jones




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