A PRINCE is expected to visit a Cork school next year which his mother, the late Princess Grace of Monaco, helped nearly 50 years ago.
Prince Albert II of Monaco is expected to confirm soon that he will visit Coláiste Chríost Rí in late April or early May 2010 as part of what will be his first official visit to Ireland.
It is understood the prince was touched by the fact that his late mother helped the then-fledging school in 1960, with a special donation.
Princess Grace sent a life-size doll to the boy’s school in 1960 to be raffled in a fundraiser.
A gold bangle on one of the arms bore the coat of arms of the Principality of Monaco.
Also in the parcel were two smaller-sized dolls in the traditional costume of the principality, and a straw statuette of St Agnes, the patron of Monaco. A personal card read: “La Princesse de Monaco.”
The school, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, issued an appeal in the Irish Examiner two months ago for help tracing the doll. The appeal made headlines across Monaco.
The doll hasn’t been traced but Margaret Field, a granddaughter of the raffle winner, Margaret O’Sullivan, came forward with a wonderful photograph of it.
The Prince’s visit to Ireland is the brainchild of Cork-based Green Party activist Mick Murphy.
He wrote to K Club owner Michael Smurfit, the Irish Consul to the Principality of Monaco, suggesting he host a golf tournament in memory of Princess Grace, and at the same time mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Irish Library in Monaco.
Mr Smurfit and the Monaco government agreed and the golf event is due to take place in late April or early May, 2010.
But following extensive talks, the prince also intends to visit Cork, taking in Coláiste Chríost Rí, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, and the city council’s Lifetime Lab on the Lee Road.
It is expected the prince will plant a tree in the school grounds in memory of his late mother during his visit.
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