There’s not much that I love more than hobnobbing with royalty. Even if it’s from a distance.
Each year Uzes hosts a musical event during the summer that brings in famed artists from around the world. This year, the festival brought in French royalty — Prince Albert of Monaco. All in all, there were eight princes and eight princesses attending the festivities.
Prior to the Prince, his family and entourage arriving, the town was abuzz with where the royals were going to stay. Would they visit with the Duke at the Château de Duché? Or would they be hanging out at Maison d’Uzes — the fancy hotel in town? Oh … the suspense. I learned it was, in fact, the Maison d’ Uzes, right around the corner from where I live. The royal guest were brought into Uzes by helicopter, according to Midi Libre, and they were guarded during their stay by the gendarmerie d’Uzès.
Before I continue the story about my “meeting” with the nobility, I’ll admit I’ve been trying to catch sight of the Duke of Uzes, Jacques de Crussol, since I’ve lived here.
After all, we are neighbors. As luck would have it, when my friend and author, Patricia Sands, was here visiting, we had a “Duke sighting.” We were walking to the market and passed by the garage door of the Duché. There a handsome man, who looked very “Duke-y,” was having an animated conversation with someone who could have been his driver. Trying not to be noticed, I snapped a photo, supposedly of Patricia, who was standing between me and the “Duke.” Here’s the shot — without Patricia.
My next “Duke-sighting” was on a visit to the Duché during the European Heritage Days last September. On those days many cultural landmarks in France are opened to the public at free or reduced prices. While touring through the rooms of the château, I saw the quick movement of someone heading toward the back stairs. It was the Duke. Excuse the bad image but I was surprised to see him and I didn’t have my camera ready. Perhaps he was in a hurry because I accidentally blurted out “there’s the Duke!” when I saw him, loud enough for everyone to hear. So much for protocol.
Back to the story about Prince Albert
Prince Albert of Monaco and Jacques de Crussol are “cousins” of sorts. The two royal houses were linked by the marriage of Anne-Hippolyte de Grimaldi, Princess of Monaco, daughter of Louis I, to the 7th Duke of Uzes, Jean-Charles de Crussol. The royal bond was broken, tragically, when the princess died in 1700 giving birth to twins who did not survive.
On his first visit to Uzes, Prince Albert II was treated to a Nuits Musicals concert in the courtyard of the Duché which is where I was lucky enough to be at the same time. When I made plans to attend the event, I had no idea there would be such illustrious guests.
Here’s a slideshow of the evening, the music, the people and the regal atmosphere.
The LES SIECLES ROMANTIQUES choir and orchestra playing the national anthem of Monaco for the royals.