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artist: Irina Moskalyova

Charlotte Casiraghi
is turning 18!


On August 3, 1986, at Princess Grace Hospital, 29-year-old Princess Caroline of Monaco and her husband of almost three years, Stefano Casiraghi, welcomed their second child, Charlotte Marie Pomeline.

Like her elder brother Andrea, born in 1984, the 6lb 8oz little girl would not receive a royal title, taking instead her father's last name. In making this decision her mother presumably hoped Charlotte, named after Prince Rainier's late mother, would be able to lead a more normal life, escaping the difficulties associated with being a princess.

Caroline, fiercely private when it came to her growing family, was keen on keeping the birth a secret for as long as possible. Just two hours after Charlotte's arrival, Prince Rainier and 25-year-old Stefano, who had driven Caroline to the hospital, attended a championship boxing match together, while the press remained unaware Monaco had welcomed a new little "princess".

Eight years after Charlotte's grandmother, American actress-turned-Monegasque royal Princess Grace, died in car crash, the Grimaldi family once again suffered a tragic loss.

In 1990, Stefano dad to six-year-old Andrea, four-year-old Charlotte and Pierre, three was killed in a speedboat accident during a world championship trial race off the coast of Monaco. Handsome and charismatic, Stefano, the 30-year-old son of a wealthy Italian industrialist, had begun racing in 1984, winning the world title just five years later.

After her husband's death, his widow Caroline settled, along with her children, in the French village of Saint Remy de Provence. "For personal reasons she wanted to move away from the gossip and hoopla of Monaco," said her brother Prince Albert in 1997. "But she's here (in Monaco) whenever she's needed."One legacy Charlotte's dashing young father left her and her heart-throb siblings, Andrea and Pierre, for that matter was his Italian good looks. And the radiance of her American film star grandmother has also carried through the generations.

"No one has failed to spot the incredible resemblance between Charlotte and Caroline when she was her daughter's age," says one royal style watcher. Another opines: "Charlotte is outstandingly attractive in that dark Mediterranean way She is a sweet girl with stunning looks who remains very down to earth."

The press caught on early that Charlotte would take after her gorgeous mother and grandmother. She was just five years old when newspaper headlines trumpeted her as "Princess Charming" and heralded "the next generation of Grimaldi beauties".

As a toddler Charlotte was known as a frequent visitor to high end boutiques perusing the latest fashions alongside her mum. And she was an eight-year-old schoolgirl when Chanel designer and family friend Karl Lagerfeld pronounced: "She makes me think of Brigitte Bardot."

By the time she had reached the age of 15, Charlotte was already a budding fashion icon and international teen pin-up. But while other girls her age flocked to imitate the skimpy tops and low-slung jeans of Britney Spears, Charlotte highlighted her model looks with an ultra chic wardrobe.

"She is a princess and yet she's also cool," said celeb watcher Nathalie Dupuys from Elle magazine. "She's fantastically beautiful, so she can get away with just about anything. But although she always wears the latest thing, her look never lapses into vulgarity. She wouldnt just wear trainers with a crop top, showing off her belly button."
For a little girl with everything her paternal grandparents even presented her with a $9-million island off Sardinia for her fifth birthday it was only a matter of time before she had the world in the palm of her hands.

And Charlotte, who seems to have had neither an awkward age nor a "wild child" phase, has made the most of her youth. Always discreet, her public romances are few and far between, though reports say she 's been known to flirt with Andrea's pals David Alexis, the son of a French businessman, and Hubertus Herring-Frankensdorf, a wealthy Austrian business student.

The multi-lingual teenager she speaks French, Italian and English as well as a little German counts playing piano and socialising with her best friend Valentine Pozzo di Borgo among her pastimes. Her passions include being big sister to her goddaughter and half-sibling Alexandra, whose dad is Prince Ernst of Hanover, and of course, she's also famed for her skills in equestrian pursuits. "She knows how to hold herself, how to sit properly," said a friend. "She has class like her grandmother."

July 29, 2004

Monaco's newest glamour girl, Charlotte Casiraghi, is set to ring in her 18th birthday in style this weekend with three days of lavish celebrations in Monte Carlo.

Festivities kick off on Friday with a private party organised by Charlotte herself at the Stars 'N' Bars restaurant, whose past clients include Sharon Stone, Janet Jackson and Rod Stewart, overlooking the Port de Monaco. Her closest pals, including best friend Valentine Pozzo di Borgo and equestrian trainer Thierry Rozier, are expected to attend.

On Saturday, Charlotte's brothers, Andrea and Pierre, have reportedly planned a beachside brunch for the young beauty to continue the celebrations. But it is the night's spectacular gala which is the centrepiece of the weekend.

The birthday soiree will be held at Prince Rainier's La Vigie, one of the most prestigious villas on the Riviera. The historic 40-room mansion, famed for its panoramic views of the sea, was apparently handpicked by Charlotte's mum, Princess Caroline, for the occasion. Previous guests at La Vigie, restored by Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld during the 1990s, have included Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, who stayed there while attending the Monaco Grand Prix this year.

Sunday will see the whirlwind weekend wind down, with a private Grimaldi family breakfast at the royal palace. And August 6, three days after her 18th birthday, Charlotte will make her official society debut at the traditional Red Cross Ball.

Charlotte Casiraghi comes of Age
(information and photos by HELLO magazine)

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