Those Wacky Grimaldis
Stephanie: Goodbye, cruel world!
Growing up in Monaco, Princess Stephanie lived in a palace. She still does, although now it's on wheels: For the past nine months Stephanie, 36, has been touring with the Swiss National Circus and its married owner, elephant trainer Franco Knie, in a Palace-brand trailer. At most performances Stephanie cheers as her daughter Pauline, 7, rides an elephant beneath the big top. Which is not to say Stephanie is wasting her royal upbringing. "She's so very discreet," says one circus vet. "She's made herself fit in."
By now, Stephanie—whose résumé includes swimsuit designer, pop singer and boutique manager—is accustomed to switching roles, and romances. Her yearlong marriage to former bodyguard Daniel Ducruet (father to Pauline and Louis, 8) went flooey in 1996, when Ducruet was photographed frolicking with a former Miss Bare Breasts of Belgium. Two years later Stephanie had Camille, now 3, reportedly with bodyguard Jean-Raymond Gottlieb. Stephanie was drawn to Knie, 46, at a circus festival in Monaco in January 2000 and quickly became friends with his wife, Claudine. By last March, however, Stephanie and her three children had joined the owner's caravan, and Knie had split from Claudine, with whom he has a 12-year-old autistic son. As a bitter Claudine, 52, told the German magazine Bunte, "She's always looking for a new experience."
Albert: The playboy prince
R. Couri Hay, the society editor of Hamptons Magazine, turned up late for a party in Southampton, N.Y., last August and found Prince Albert frolicking in the pool. "He said, 'Hi, Couri,' and extended his hand," says Hay. "I extended my hand and the next thing I know, kebunk! He pulled me in. That's when I noticed he had his underwear around his neck and everyone in the pool was equally naked. It was all rather fun."
Fun seems to be the order of the day, almost every day, for Albert, 43. Prince Rainier, 78, who underwent lung and heart surgery two years ago, has made no secret of his desire for his only son to wed and produce an heir. But to "I do" or not to "I do" is not yet the question for Albert. A serial dater who counts models Angie Everhart and Claudia Schiffer among his former flames, he has recently been linked with English socialite Tasha de Vasconcelos, 27. Although he has been caught on-camera with a variety of scantily clad women, he shrugs off his tabloid image. "I am sure you will understand," he told The Financial Times in May, "why it's nicer to be next to a lovely young lady, than an old bore of some sort."
When not busy providing the paparazzi with their next paycheck, Albert enjoys club-hopping. His day job is to attend cabinet meetings in Monaco and occasionally represent the principality of 7,000 citizens at the U.N. "He's always kind and respectful in his dealings with people," says a Palace staffer. And women? "He really appreciates them. I can tell you that."
Caroline: Unlucky in love
The most stately of Princess Grace's brood, Caroline (mother to Andrea, 17, Charlotte, 15, and Pierre, 14, and Alexandra, 2) has also proved the most stable. The same can't be said for her men. After a failed first marriage to playboy Phillippe Junot and the death of her second husband, Stefano Casiraghi, in a speedboat accident, Caroine, 44, wed Prince Ernst August of Hanover in 1999. Trouble has followed the ill-tempered Ernst, 47, around the globe: He has been charged by the Hanover district attorney's office with "battery and insulting" for allegedly beating up a hotel owner in Kenya, kicking a photographer in Austria and making harassing phone calls to a newspaper editor in Germany. That, of course, is in addition to being caught on-camera publicly urinating in Hanover last year in full view of a group of schoolkids.
Doubtless, Princess Grace would not have been amused.
Peter Mikelbank and Cathy Nolan in Paris, Karen Nickel-Anhalt in Berlin and K.C. Baker in New York City