The Prince’s Palace of Monaco has announced that Prince Albert II has tested positive for COVID-19 — making him the first head of state diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. The palace said in a a statement that Albert had been tested at the beginning of the week, and that his condition is good. He is being treated by his doctor at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre in La Colle, Monaco. Albert, according to the statement, will be working from home during his quarantine. “His Serene Highness urges the people of Monaco to respect containment measures and to limit contact with others to a minimum,” they said.
“Only the rigorous observance of these containment rules will stop the spread of the virus.” Monaco is the second-smallest country in the world, with a population of fewer than 40,000 people. There are currently at least seven confirmed cases of of people with COVID-19, including Albert. Amid his coronavirus crisis, here’s what you should know about the prince, one of the wealthiest royals in the world and son to Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III.
1. He’s an Olympic athlete. Albert competed on Monaco’s bobsleigh team at five consecutive Winter Olympics. Sadly, he never took home any medals in the two-man and four-man events, during the 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, and 2002 games. He’s also a member of the International Olympic Committee. The athletic talent runs in the family. His maternal grandfather and uncle were both Olympic medalists in rowing.
2. His mother is famed actress Grace Kelly. Later becoming Princess Grace of Monaco, she was one of the biggest stars of the 1950s, with leading roles in films like Rear Window and Dial M For Murder. Princess Grace died from injuries sustained from a car crash in 1982; she was only 52 years old. Albert called his mother’s death an understandably “traumatic event” for the entire family.
3. He lived and studied in the United States as a young man. Albert had dual American-Monegasque citizenship because of his mother, and spent a great amount of time in the United States. After spending a year training in princely duties, Albert enrolled at Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1977, going by the name Albert Grimaldi. He graduated in 1981 with a degree in political science.
4. He’s a passionate environmental activist. He created the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006, which supports sustainability projects. Their three main focuses are climate change and renewable energy development; combating the loss of biodiversity; and water management.
5. He’s one of the wealthiest royals in the world. Albert has assets totaling more than $1 billion, including land in Monaco and France. He owns shares in the Société des bains de mer de Monaco, which operates the country’s famed casino industry and other entertainment venues.