Thursday, January 15, 2009

Royal Visit

His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco is visiting Antarctica as part of his interest in global ecology and climate. Americans may remember that he is the son of Prince Ranier and American actress Grace Kelly.

Wednesday, January 14, he visited the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and Thursday he visited McMurdo Station. He spoke with the assembled people in our dining hall at 7:15 pm. His comments were extemporaneous and unrehearsed. He spoke of his pride that Monaco is one of the signatories to the Antarctica Treaty, that the principality participates with Italy and France in other environmental issues and that his trip to both the Artic and Antarctic arose from his interest in the vital roles the poles play in global ecology and climate.

As you can see in this underexposed photo, he spoke to the crowd for about 15 minutes then he took a few questions from the audience. The questions were generic in quality as were the answers. He describes Monaco as a 2.2 square mile area with 33,000 residents, the majority of whom are not Monegasques (the name given to natives of Monaco....they are not Monicans). There are over 125 different nationalities living in Monaco where they receive over 4 million tourists annually. Prince Albert's grandfather was also a polar explorer, according to his remarks.

From McMurdo he travels to Antarctic bases of other countries: Concordia (France & Italy), Vostok (Russia), and Davis (Australia).


Anonymous said...

Mingling with Royalty...very cool!

Sarah said...

Wow, it's really neat to read this whenever I can, you seem to be having such fascinating experiences,makes me want to take a trip and see it for myself. I hope the rest of your stay is just as interesting, and I hope you return back to the states safely, you are missed :)