Seldom photographed together, Caroline and Stephanie shared the anguish of their loss along with brother Prince Albert at their father's funeral
Photo: AFP
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Friday's image of a grieving Princess Caroline is, unfortunately, a familiar one
Photo: AFP

15 APRIL 2005

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When Princess Caroline of Monaco stood behind her father's coffin during Prince Rainier's funeral cortege, the image of the distraught princess, head bowed, hair covered in black lace, was sadly familiar.

Caroline, in many ways the first lady of Monaco, was grieving for her family before the eyes of the world for the third time in her young life. Not only had she lost her mother, Princess Grace, in a tragic car crash more than 20 years previously, she'd also been widowed aged 33, when her glamorous young husband, Stefano Casiraghi father to her elder children, Andrea, Charlotte and Pierre was killed in a 1990 speed boat accident.

Wiping tears away as she said goodbye to her father on Friday, Caroline was undoubtedly also thinking about her husband Prince Ernst-August of Hanover, who has remained in hospital, gravely ill, since the day before Prince Rainier's death. The two events happening so closely to each other marked yet another unfortunate and unfathomable blow for the princess.

While the picture of a bereaved Caroline is almost iconic, the sight of Prince Rainier's youngest daughter, Princess Stephanie, mourning with her siblings was a rare one. Unlike Caroline, she did not say publicly goodbye to her mother, Princess Grace, years ago. Seriously injured from the car accident which took Grace's life, Rainier's youngest daughter was still in hospital at the time her mother was laid to rest.

The so-called wild child of the Grimaldi clan who has reportedly been at odds with her elder sister for some time has remained out of the public eye since her father's death, and according to sources, has been inconsolable behind palace walls.

Hardly looking at each other, and physically separated by their stoic brother Prince Albert, the suffering sisters seemed painfully, but characteristically, distant at Prince Rainier's funeral. As the Grimaldi saga continues, only time will tell if their father's death will serve to unify them, if only in grief.

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