The Monaco Red Cross Gala
In 1948, the young Prince Rainier III of Monaco presided at the first Gala held by the newly founded Monaco Red Cross. The main aim was of course to raise funds to finance actions in keeping with the spirit of the great humanist, Henry Dunant.
For that first ball, the star was none other than Maurice Chevalier. Every year since then, the event has tried to outdo itself in terms of prestige, holding a Christian Dior fashion show in 1952 and a Zizi Jeanmaire fashion show in 1953.
Princess Grace’s presidency
Ten years after its creation, the Monaco Red Cross Gala replaced its Chairman with a Chairwoman: Princess Grace of Monaco. Under her presidency, the Gala welcomed many prestigious performers such as Ella Fitzgerald (1959), Sammy Davis, Jr. (1961), Charles Trenet (1962), Sacha Distel (1963), Gilbert Bécaud (1968), Charles Aznavour (1970) and Shirley Bassey (1971).
Josephine Baker’s comeback
The year 1974 was a turning point for the event. The gala was held in the new Monte-Carlo Sporting Club, where a legendary star, Josephine Baker, took to a brand new stage for her final comeback. Financially ruined at the age of 68, she died just a few months after returning to the stage.
Line Ren aud (1975), Enrico Macias (1977), Gloria Gaynor (1979) and Frank Sinatra (1980) also performed in the new club.
After the accidental death of Princess Grace in 1982, her son, Prince Albert, took up the torch. It was under his presidency that the Monaco Red Cross Gala opened its doors to Elton John (1984), Liza Minnelli (1989), Tina Turner (1980), Stevie Wonder (1994) and Lionel Richie (2004).
Over sixty years after its creation, the Monaco Red Cross Gala is still a very lively event. The 2011 edition presented a living legend: Joe Cocker.