Red Cross Ball marks 70th anniversary of inaugural fund-raiser

The “highlight of summer” was how HSH Prince Albert described the Monaco Red Cross Ball on Friday, July 28. The event also celebrated its 70th anniversary.

The Sovereign Prince and Princess Charlene, together with their fellow guests, enjoyed a performance by Seal at the annual charity event.

Princess Grace looks on as Prince Rainier donates blood in 1968.
Princess Grace looks on as Prince Rainier donates blood in 1968.

Prince Rainier III presided at the first gala, held by the newly founded Monaco Red Cross, in 1948. Ten years later Princess Grace of Monaco became chairwoman of the event. Prince Albert told People magazine: “Pretty soon after their wedding, in ’58, Mom took it on and then it became something else.”

The Princess used her strong connections with major stars such as Sammy Davis Jr., Shirley Bassey and Ella Fitzgerald headlining the Gala, which is the charity’s main source of income.

“It is special. The Red Cross Gala is unique. There’s great history there. It’s the highlight of the summer in terms of social and charity events,” Prince Albert told the magazine.

“I remember we would see Mom and Dad get ready for it when we were kids,” the Prince recalls. “It was always something to see. I didn’t attend it until I was 16. But I haven’t missed too many years since then.”

“Mom remained president until her passing [in 1982], and I’ve been privileged to head the Monaco Red Cross since then,” he said.