As a young boy, Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848-1922) stared out across the waters below the Palais Princier and dreamed of the days he would sail out of Port Hercules to explore new lands and seas.
When he ascended to the Monegasque throne in his early 40s, the prince already had decades of experience out on the water from his days in both the Spanish and French navies and later aboard his faithful two-masted schooner, the Hirondelle, as well as several other high-performing vessels for the age. He led 28 scientific expeditions – in the Mediterranean, to the Azores and up to the Arctic – and devoted much of his life to the then-relatively young field of oceanography.
The great-great-grandfather of Monaco’s current sovereign, Prince Albert II, also played a role in some major scientific discoveries such as: the Princess Alice Bank in 1896; two skeletons dubbed Grimaldi Man that were found in the Balzi Rossi cliffs near Ventimiglia in 1901; and anaphylaxis (collaborator Charles Richet was awarded the Nobel Prize of Medicine for his work in 1913), as well as severalnew marine species. One of his most memorable achievements was the foundingof the Oceanographic Institute in 1906, which is today represented by the famous OceanographicMuseum in Monaco and the Ocean House in Paris.
Over 54 wonderful pages, the Glénat publishing house recounts 30 years of Prince Albert’s adventures in a comic book called Albert Ier de Monaco: Le Prince Explorateur that was created by author Philippe Thirault and illustrator Sandro. It is part of the Explora Collection headed by Christian Clot, which includes other epic adventurers and scientists like Magellan, Marco Polo, Darwin and Fawcett. It is available to purchase from the Musée Océanographique for €14.95