This is one curse that every unhappy spouse can relate to. The sad string of “unhappily-ever-afters” for the current members of Monaco’s ruling family can be attributed to two of their ancestors being total creeps. The first—Francesco Grimaldi—was said to begin the family’s eventual domination of the tiny city-state after he and his forces captured the fortress from rival claimants. He dressed himself up as a monk and successfully tricked the guards into opening the gates of the fortress.
Another ancestor—Prince Rainer I—upped the ante in the jerk department when he abducted and raped a beautiful maiden. As revenge, the maiden became a witch and proclaimed “Never will a Grimaldi find true happiness in marriage.”
The curse has rung true since Prince Rainier III’s wife—the American actress Grace Kelly—died in a car accident. Their three children soon became embroiled in their own scandals and misfortunes. The eldest daughter, Princess Caroline, divorced her first husband, was widowed by her second husband, and there are allegations that her third marriage is on the rocks as well. At the same time, her younger sister, Princess Stephanie, went through a potpourri of men that included her bodyguard, an elephant trainer, and a circus acrobat, leading to three children born out of wedlock.
Their brother, Prince Albert II, has so far dodged the proverbial bullet and is still married to former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock—although their union has had its fair share of controversies, from the prince’s playboy past to Wittstock nearly calling off the wedding.