Although Charlotte Casiraghi never knew Grace Kelly, she sees her late maternal grandmother in her own mother, Princess Caroline. “I see a lot of your mom’s things in you,” Charlotte told her mom during a candid interview with Madame Figaro (translated from French). “The relationship between a mother and a daughter is a complex thing, the mother occupies an all-powerful place, even when she is loving and tender… There is no question of comparisons, but there are mirrors. When I watch films of my grandmother, I see in her your grace, your requirement, your discipline and your mystery too.”
While they might share some similarities, Caroline, 63, doesn’t believe she resembles her late mom “at all.” “Physically, I look like my paternal grandmother. She was a very free woman and a crazy originality. She was a nurse during the war, then a prison visitor. Totally unclassifiable,” Prince Albert of Monaco’s sister said. Charlotte added, “I feel rich in all these family stories, all these contrasts, all these women who have come out of a clear path. My whimsical great-grandmother. My grandmother who made the choice to stop the cinema.”
Despite her mother being an Oscar-winning actress, Caroline is not a big film buff. The royal, who is passionate about culture and the arts, confessed, “If there is something that I do not know well and with which I have the least affinities, it is the cinema. Maybe because it was there? I’m not a very cinephile and my film culture ends in the 1980s: I mostly know old films.” Caroline continued, “My taste for culture comes from elsewhere. Not from my parents, who were not great readers, unlike my grandparents. I also owe this taste to wonderful teachers I had as a child, then at university.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Charlotte spoke about forging her own path outside of the Monegasque royal family. “I believe that we are all imprisoned in prejudices, projections, determinations, stories which precede us,” she said. “It is perhaps reassuring to imagine that we will not be forgotten, but it is illusory. What is interesting is to seek to escape the law, the rule, the lineage, what is planned and assigned. I have a memory to honor, a transmission to respect, but it is essential to knit things differently, to be surprised, to choose your life.”
Last year, the 34-year-old royal married French film producer Dimitri Rassam, whom she shares son Balthazar Rassam with. Charlotte is also a mother to son Raphaël Elmaleh, from her previous relationship with Gad Elmaleh. “To be a parent, you have to be creative every day,” the mom of two said.
Charlotte, who is the co-founder and president of The Philosophical Meetings of Monaco, revealed that her passion for philosophy began with her “taste for books.” In the past, the mom of two said that joy is more important than happiness. She explained to Madame Figaro, “Maybe that’s what brought me to philosophy. By schematizing, happiness is felt, joy is shared more easily. Joy is communicated, expands, spreads. Happiness is the land of intimacy. Happiness is fragile and can be torn from us at any time.”
When asked by the magazine if they consider themselves feminists, Caroline replied, “I belong to a generation where the question was lively. However, I remember my mother telling me in good faith, ‘You don’t need to go to school.’ I also remember a university professor who told me with incredible cruelty: ‘You are taking the place of a deserving student.’”
Caroline admitted that she always “wanted to brave obstacles.” She said, “I always felt in competition with the boys: I wanted to do better than them, at school or in sports performance. It is not necessarily glorious, but this thing of the competition has long haunted me. At 20, I was like that. Afterwards, of course.” Meanwhile, Charlotte answered, “Being a woman and wanting to express your uniqueness is a struggle, whatever your position. It is a struggle, not a war, but it is not an easy thing. Under the pretext that women have emancipated themselves, that they are allowed to have a career, children, while remaining desirable, we see less today the part of sacrifice that there is in being a woman. . And yet!”
The mother-daughter duo is often praised for their beauty, which doesn't bother Charlotte. “Frankly, it’s not a joy to grow old. This does not concern me today, but I can see how women are weakened, feel hurt at a time when the body envelope is so important,” she admitted.
As for whether they are annoyed by the “clichés relating to modern Princesses,” Caroline said, “When you read the biographies of certain legendary queens, you tell yourself that the princesses of the twentieth century were very wise and affectionate ... Wear a bikini? The big deal! Really, there are more interesting things.”
Naturally, the royals are a topic of interest and are not strangers to media attention, but Caroline makes an effort to tune it all out. She said, “You have to be indulgent towards people who believe everything that is written. But it is certain, it is necessary to have a tough skin in the face of intrusions. Read nothing of what is written, not even the praises, do not look at anything, remain benevolent. And then, today, there is this very violent thing: social media.” The mom of four went on to liken social networks to an invisible hand. “What good is having 4000 virtual friends? This is not my generation,” Caroline noted. “It might be smarter to get out of your house and see a real friend or two.”