Monaco: The Principality's celebrations commence
Monaco National Day 2011
Monaco is preparing to celebrate its annual National Day this weekend, La Fête National Monégasque. The Principality will be decked out with its red and white flag, welcoming residents and visitors to take part in a range of festivities, musical events and a firework spectacular at Port Hercule.
This will be Princess Charlene’s first Monaco National Day as a married woman, making it an extra special occasion.
The tradition of the Monégasque National Day dates back to the reign of Prince Charles III in 1856, but it was Prince Albert II who chose 19th November as the official celebration day of the Principality - the feast day of St Rainier of Arezzo - in honour of his father, the late Prince Rainier III.
There will be a host formalities, including the presentation of awards to members of the Monaco Red Cross and mayors of neighbouring communities.
But there will also be a number of fun festivities, including a firework display and bonfire at Port Hercule at 9pm tonight, followed by a Roland Magdane Attention c’est show comedy spectacular for children 10-years-old and above at Salle du Canton at around 10pm.
There's a thanksgiving mass and Te Deum on Saturday at 10am, and a Ceremony of the Guard in the Court of Honour at 11.15am, where HSH Prince Albert will present badges and medals to the police and security officers of the palace. A ceremony will then be held at the Palace Square.
A cocktail party will be
thrown for Diplomatic Corps in the evening, followed by the Grimaldi Forum
invitation-only Gala Soirée in the Salle des Princes. The
evening will welcome the Opera Monte Carlo performing ‘Mefistofele’ by Arrigo Boito.
Closing the weekend’s celebrations will be a gospel concert for children at Salle du Canton at around 5pm. They'll be accompanied by the Golden Gate Quartet, a renowned American vocal group.