The Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco hosted its traditional harp music concert followed by a special rendez-vous between HRH The Princess of Hanover and Irish author Flor MacCarthy, who spends this month as The Ireland Funds Monaco Writer-in-Residence at the Library and whose book The Presidents’ Letters – An Unexpected History of Ireland contains a letter from five-year old Princess Caroline to the President of Ireland in January 1962.

The twist to this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations centred around correspondence to the Presidents of Ireland, including thank you letters from the mother and daughter Princesses of Monaco to President Éamon de Valera for his gift of an Irish pony to Princess Caroline in 1962. 

The surprise gift, named ‘Babbling Brook’, was on the occasion of a visit to Ireland’s National Stud by Prince Rainier III with his family in June 1961.

The Presidents’ Letters – An Unexpected History of Ireland (New Island Books) covers correspondence to and from nine Presidents since the inauguration of the first President of Ireland in 1938. Remarkably, the first ever state visit to Ireland by any head of state was in 1961 when HSH Prince Rainier of Monaco was accompanied by his wife Princess Grace and their two eldest children. Unsurprisingly the world media covered the event and as a result it truly placed Ireland on the international map, with subsequent visits by other heads of states, including President of the United States of America John F. Kennedy in 1963.

The audience at the library also enjoyed the display of talent by four harp students from L’Académie Rainier III Musique et de Théâtre, as well as dramatic readings from letters in Flor MacCarthy’s book by actors from the Monaco-Ireland Arts Society.

 The journalist and author Flor MacCarthy, presents highlights of her bestselling book which shows the warm friendship between Ireland and Monaco that continues to this day on Tuesday, March 19 at 14:30 at the Princess Grace Irish Library. Discover more here.

PHOTO: HRH The Princess of Hanover with Trustees of the Library and others. From right to left: Paula Farquharson, Director of the Princess Grace Irish Library, Anne-Marie Boisbouvier, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary – Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Flor MacCarthy, The Ireland Funds Monaco Writer-in-Residence, HRH The Princess of Hanover, Peter K. Murphy and his wife Jacqueline and Mark Armstrong. Prince’s Palace