Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist


Click To Enlarge

 

 



The Man Telling Caroline's Secrets

Daily Express 16th November 1993

HE SCOOTS across the floor of the aptly named (as we will discover) El Horno restaurant in Madrid taking quick, short steps like a Flamenco dancer. Jose Luis Roig is dancing a rather heavy   fantastic   all   over   the House of Grimaldi.

In particular, the First Daughter, the troubled and often troubling Princess Caroline. Roig has dark, curly hair and behind the Armani tortoiseshell glasses there is a serious, watchful gaze. He blinks and focuses and allows his eyes a professional tour of the crowded restaurant.

This is the Andrew Morton of the Continent. Carolina, his best-selling biography of Princess Caroline, investigates her turbulent life. It also explores the recent history of her family as well as their paparazzi and problem-plagued principality.

Carolina like Morton's Diana is the result of hard work and good sources, three of whom have been Caroline's best friends since her days as a student in Paris. It tells of the "crisis in her life" following the death of her second husband, Stefano Casiraghi, and of her hectic love life which he describes to me this way: "Her affairs? How can I put it? Except from her husbands, she's had lots of lovers."

He also hints that Caroline knew French actor Vincent Lindon, who she is soon to marry, before Casiraghi was killed during a powerboat race off Monaco three years ago.
Roig claims the business that is Monaco is hanging in the balance. He points out that when Caroline was born on June 23, 1957, she was welcomed into the world with a 21-gun salute, the prison population was freed and everyone was given the day off, except the croupiers in the casino where it was business as usual.

The 33-year-old author conjures up Caroline in his 250 pages as a vain, tormented woman who has made selfish choices throughout her life. He doesn't make excuses for her, but he does attempt to explain her motives.

There's her doting mother, her collection of more than 100 dolls (she still has her favourite, Pearl) and her rebellion against her strict Catholic upbringing. She's sulky when told to leave the table for not eating. When she does sit down, she says she's not hungry. She's a show-off, she loves dressing up.

Roig quotes her as saying: "I didn't like being a girl. It was humiliating. I couldn't wait to grow up. My friends could do things I couldn't. I wasn't allowed to wear jeans and bikinis. My parents were very strict with me. I didn't understand then and I don't now. It was unnecessary.

"I'm Aquarius. I've a terrible character, a fragile balance. And I'm attracted by extremes."
And by men. And freedom of choice. Especially about the lovers in her life.
Roig's book is a number one bestseller in Spain and is expected to have similar success throughput Europe except, of course, in Monaco where it got Prince Rainier so hot under his size 17 collar that he banned the page-turning tome.
This does not upset the author who looks after the arts pages of Spain's weekly Tempo magazine. He had, he says, to be persuaded to write the biography. "I was not someone who was involved in heart-throb books, but it became too interesting for me not to do it."
Roig says when the deal was completed that he pursued his task with enthusiasm, and is regarded as an expert on the present and future of Caroline and Monaco. His greatest difficulty was persuading Caroline's confidants that the book he was going to write was not going to destroy her.

To this end, he used the example of Princess Diana's survival and, through that, received close co-operation. In fact, the misery of our royals has been a positive boost all round for the Monaco mob.

The traumas of the British Royal Family — in particular the break-up of Charles and Diana — had left the Grimaldis feeling better: "Problems happen to others as well as to them. They felt they were not the only family suffering in the spotlight. It made them feel happier.

"But Monaco is in a terrible crisis, like it was decades ago when Grace turned up. It doesn't know where it's going. Poor Prince Rainier, he's in the same situation he was 37 years ago. There's nobody to inherit Monaco. The women wear the trousers in the Grimaldi family. Albert has no charisma."
But what of Albert's much heralded, and photographed, relationship with supermodel Claudia Schiffer?
"Claudia Schiffer. That is all an act."
And so, says Roig in his startling speedy sentences, is Princess Caroline.
"Caroline is more important than Princess Caroline of Monaco. She does favours for her father and for the principality of Monaco. But her concern is concentrated on her own well-being.
"Caroline is a product of what was wanted from her by the House of Grimaldi. Her life has been a struggle between what was expected of her and what she wanted to be.
"My book was to expose Caroline but without destroying the myth, to wash her dirty laundry in public but not in such a way as to turn people off. It's logical because a lot of people love her and she also awakens ghoulish interest in what has happened to her. People are generally sympathetic towards her, unlike Princess Stephanie who is treated differently.
"Caroline has the crowd's sympathy, but she has paid a price for it. She acts for the public. So that the world understands what she's all about, she has to exaggerate her gestures wherever she's living or whatever she's doing."
Soon we are going to see her grand gestures on the public stage again. Roig predicts that the Princess will marry 35-year-old Vincent Lindon by the turn of the year. This month, her Jewish lover agreed to become a Roman Catholic and this will put him in line with Monaco's constitution.

BUT Roig says Caroline needs  to   be   married and that other considerations    were    more important to her than Vincent's    religious conversion. Since the death of Italian businessman  Casiraghi, she has been living with their three children in St Remy de Provence in the South of France. At   first   they   were   terrible days. Roig says his sources knew CaVoline's state of mind after her husband's death: "Princess Caroline was in such a deep and profound   depression   that   life had no further meaning for her. She   stared   out   the   window, chain-smoking.
"Her life had no meaning for her, or so it appeared."
Today it has, as Roig explains: "She has lived through her crisis. Time is a great healer. And there were always her children to think of. She is also always aware of photographers, whether she's living in Monaco or Provence. It's like when she was in mourning and always wore a black bikini to the beach. Her gestures are larger than other people's. Does she pretend to cry? There's a touch of Hollywood about her. She's an actress, yes.
"But I don't think you can doubt her pain and what she went through during the funeral of her husband. Afterwards, certainly there was pain and suffering. She knew the photographers were going to be there but did her best to look the part."
In St Remy where she is known as Madame Casi — an abbreviation of Stefano Casiraghi's surname — she slowly began to rebuild her life. The children, Andrea, nine, Charlotte, seven, and five-year-old Pierre attend local schools and Caroline has found a fondness for the more rural life. And Lindon has been around.

His importance is emphasised by Roig: "I have no doubt he will be her third husband. She has got very special circumstances and needs. She's a widow with three children; she's a Princess, and she needs someone who can cover all those categories. She needs someone who is not going to take advantage of her situation as a Princess, who is going to abide by whatever the conditions are, and who is prepared to live in her shadow.
"She has always had this view of herself as something of an intellectual and Vincent Lindon fits into that as he's slightly bohemian, he's an actor and it's also important that he's French. He comes from a prestigious, moneyed family — he may not have the money but he's not wanting for it."
Caroline was also "looking for someone whose personality she could dominate". Roig says she was able to "handle" Casiraghi but not her first husband, French playboy Philippe Junot.
Her parents were aghast at the very thought of her having a relationship with Junot. Marriage? Never!

But their wild daughter had a rebellious track record. As an 18-year-old, she had gone to the Paris nightclub Dani's with a pop singer and a disc jockey.
That wasn't scandalous. But her gown, plunging to the royal midriff, was and earned her the headline title of The Peepshow Princess.

She had also become involved with another pop star of whom Roig reports: "He was a mediocre singer and he had one hit — I Don't Know What To Do With Women." Neither did some of the men who at that time were candidates for Caroline's club circuit nights out.

Roig explains how Junot took full advantage of that: "He came on the scene when she was surrounded by bland, weak men who treated her with deference. He was twice her age. He knew how to seduce her. He knew how to treat her. He knew how to win her over.
"What he didn't know was how to treat her after the marriage. He had set it up to some degree. He was pictured kissing her breasts on a yacht. Junot had tipped off the paparazzi — the pictures were bought by Prince Rainier for an undisclosed amount.
"He orchestrated things before the marriage, but not after it. From what I've been told, Junot was in love with her but knew the marriage would not laSt. It did last, officially, 831 days but the longest part of it was the honeymoon. And he took the paparazzi along on that.
"They went through some tense patches. A close friend offered her some cocaine to calm her down. But she refused to take it and flushed it down the toilet.
"Junot was cross with her at this time. He didn't beat her, but he shook her. Rainier used it as part of the divorce settlement.
"Princess Grace thrashed out the settlement with Junot in his Paris apartment in 50 minutes. Under the settlement he was paid £2 million.
"Grace immediately asked the Pope to annul the marriage. Caroline locked herself in the palace and repeated to herself, 'A clever person recovers from failure. A stupid one never recovers from success'."
SHE   recovered   from divorce in the arms of Argentinian     tennis player Guillermo Vilas. They    holidayed    in Hawaii    following   her friendship     with     Roberto Rossellini, the son of the late Ingrid Bergman and Italian film director Roberto Rossellini.
Princess Grace was upset. Roig explains Caroline's actions: "Vilas was the first man who made her feel she had come of age — that all the sacrifices of the past were worth it.
"He was a tennis player, he was good looking. It was very much a sexual attraction. Divorced women still have a great sexual appetite. She'd tried it, she liked it, she'd made a habit of sex and she wanted more of it. She enjoys sex but she's not addicted to it.
"It's not her principal objective. She thinks of herself as a sensual woman. She likes to think she lives from her belt upwards rather than from her belt downwards. She's more interested in being thought intellectual. She is too smart now to make sex too important in her life."
With Villas she got the sex -and poetry like this offering written by the sportsman: "Give me the rose of your body, show me the lesson of your life. When-your love filled my life, my hungry body vibrated. I know your castle has been lived in, and that your fondles taste of memories."
VILAS was more of a fad than a lover. Rossellini is still a friend and Roig says: "When their    relationship started out, they were lovers but it ended up that they were more brother and sister.
Rossellini could wander around as he pleased at the palace. No one would ask who he was. Rainier clearly wanted him to marry Caroline.
"But she is going to marry Vincent Lindon. Maybe that will be a fairy-tale ending for her. But it will not be a solution for Rainier.
"Albert can't inherit the throne without being married. The people of Monaco want a Princess.
"Rainier is in a quandary. His wife is dead and he has lost Princess Caroline to her own life now.
"Rainier would let Albert take anyone at the moment — even Claudia Schiffer. Remember Rainier first set his sights on Marilyn Monroe.
"At this time of crisis, the business needs a figurehead. It doesn't matter if whoever comes along has brains.
"Cleavage is more important than class in the House of Monaco."

Back | Gallery | Star Talk | Home

Back to the top