Julian Fellowes

Louis XVIII’s Long-Lost Son is Found!

The Grimaldis of Monaco: Centuries of Scandal, Years of Grace


(HarperCollins 268pp £20) order from our bookshop

It is Anne Edwards’s contention that Grace Kelly arrived just in time to save the House of Grimaldi.

The same could be said of this book.

She delays the hard part by opening with a chapter on the tragic death of Stefano Casiraghi, the husband of Princess Caroline. The Princess was apparently told the terrible news at the hairdresser’s by her friend Inès de la Fressange who, according to Edwards, ‘suddenly appeared, her almond-shaped eyes even darker than usual. Nervously she began to speak’. How can Ms Edwards know this? Was she doing Princess Caroline’s hair? How nervous is ‘nervously’? And how dark are Inès’s almond eyes as a general rule? From this breathless trivialising one may correctly gather that Edwards is less a historian than a collector of facts as a loose framework on which a colourful narrative may be draped.

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