- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 18, 2005

The year 2005 has been an “annus horribilis” for Prince Albert II of Monaco. After he lost his father, Prince Rainier III, in March, celebration of his becoming hereditary head of state of the tiny French Riviera principality was dampened by the revelation he had fathered a child with a French-Togolese stewardess two years ago.

The prince, 47, took responsibility, however, and has made his son, Alexandre, “totally part of my private life,” according to press reports. (Up to a point. Although all of his issue are automatically in line to inherit a portion of his estate, estimated at $1 billion to $2 billion, Monacan law forbids the accession of illegitimate offspring to the throne.)

Give His Serene Highness credit for gamely turning up Thursday night to headline the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s 10th anniversary dinner at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Though heavily guarded and generally inaccessible to guests not attending an exclusive pre-dinner VIP cocktail reception (“He’s got as much Secret Service protection as Vladimir Putin,” one cordially uninvited onlooker grumped), the prince effected a notably practiced grand entrance down the steps of the Cotillion Ballroom that might have pleased his American movie-star mother, the late Princess Grace. (What she would have thought of his sitting at a table where the guests had no place cards can only be imagined.)

Speaking nervously in a soft voice that was barely distinguishable at times, he told the crowd of his lifelong love of soccer, his days on the team at Amherst College and how he and his friends once sneaked out of a summer camp in New Hampshire to watch Brazilian star Pele play.

“I’ve always believed in the potential of soccer in the USA,” he told the crowd, who raised a record $250,000 for the foundation’s national training center in Carson, Calif.

The spotlight later turned to a surprise guest, National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who presented the foundation’s lifetime achievement award to Lamar Hunt, owner of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, but also a great investor in soccer enterprises (he owns three Major League Soccer teams) since the 1960s.

— Kevin Chaffee and John Haydon

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide