The Prince of Monaco’s Carabiniers
Find out exactly how the world’s smallest army operates in Monaco
Every day at 11.55am prompt, in front of the Palais Princier on the Rock, the guardians of the Prince come marching in to the beat of drums and the blare of trumpets. After a short but expertly executed changing of the guard the new watch is mounted. While this little piece of pomp, unchanged in over a hundred years, is the most visible role played by the Sovereign Prince’s Company of Carabineers (“La Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince”), it is but one facet of their duties.
While the Vatican’s famed Swiss Guard is often cited as the world’s smallest army, the “Compagnie des Carabiniers” has 112 men (three officers, 15 NCOs, and 94 private soldiers) to the Swiss Guard’s 134. The primary duties of both forces are similar: to protect the sovereign ruler. In the Swiss Guard’s case it is the Pope.
Founded in 1817 in the reign of Prince Honore IV, the “Carabiniers” have been the watchdogs of eight Princes of Monaco. In April 2005, they were in the world’s spotlight as the men who shouldered the casket of Prince Rainier as he was laid to rest next to the late Princess Grace in Monaco Cathedral…
The full text for this article is in the October issue of “The Riviera Times”. The paper is on sale now at international newsstands from Marseille to Alassio in Italy.