Since Louis had no children of his own, a law was passed declaring Charlotte a member of the royal dynasty to avoid a succession crisis and to ensure the principality did not fall into the hands of his cousin Wilhelm, 2nd Duke of Urach, who was a German subject despite having been born and raised in Monte Carlo. Although Charlotte’s legitimacy was later proved to be invalid, an Ordinance was passed on 30 October 1918 allowing her to be adopted instead.
On 16 May 1919, Charlotte was officially adopted by Louis which allowed her to use the surname of Grimaldi and she was given the traditional title of Duchess of Valentinois. After her grandfather’s death in 1922, Charlotte became heiress presumptive, however the legality of her adoption would be a problem she would never entirely escape. Under the Monegasque Civil Code, neither Louis nor Charlotte had been the required age of fifty and twenty-one respectively for the adoption, and although the law for the child’s age was changed to eighteen to accommodate Charlotte’s age of twenty – the age for the adopter was never changed and Louis had only been forty-eight.
On 19 March 1920, Charlotte married Pierre de Polignac in a match that had been arranged by Louis and Pierre adopted the Grimaldi name, becoming a Prince of Monaco. The couple had two children, Antoinette, born in 1920, and Rainier, born in 1923. The marriage was not a happy one and as soon as an heir was born, Charlotte moved in with her Italian lover and was divorced on 18 February 1933. According to Pierre’s close friends, the marriage was complicated due his homosexuality and once the couple were divorced, Louis was rumoured to have banned Pierre from entering Monaco when they first separated in 1930. Three years later, after the divorce, the ban seems to have been lifted and Pierre was granted an annuity of 500,000 francs.
On 30 May 1944, Charlotte ceded her rights to the throne the day before her son’s twenty-first birthday on condition he did not predecease her and she lost her title of Hereditary Princess of Monaco. Once Rainier succeeded to the throne, Charlotte moved to the Château de Marchais, the Grimaldi estate outside of Paris, which she turned into a rehabilitation centre for ex-convicts. Much to her children’s horror, Charlotte had a controversial affair with a noted French former jewel thief named René Girier.
House (birth): House of Grimaldi
Father: Louis II, Prince of Monaco
Mother: Marie Juliette Louvet
Born: 30 Sep 1898
Died: 15 Nov 1977
Spouse: Pierre de Polignac
Charlotte Louise Juliette Louvet
30 Sep 1898 – 18 Jul 1911
Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi de Monaco
18 Jul 1911 – 15 Nov 1911
Charlotte Louise Juliette Grimaldi de Monaco, Mademoiselle de Valentinois
15 Nov 1911 – 16 May 1919
HSH The Duchess of Valentinois
16 May 1919 – 01 Aug 1922
HSH The Hereditary Princess of Monaco
01 Aug 1922 – 30 May 1944
HSH Princess Charlotte of Monaco
30 May 1944 – 15 Nov 1977
Born: 28 Dec 1920
Died: 18 Mar 2011
Spouse 1: Alexandre Noghès
Spouse 2: Jean-Charles Rey
Spouse 3: John Gilpin
Name: Rainier III
Born: 31 May 1923
Died: 06 Apr 2005
Spouse: Grace Kelly