Having experienced a traditional Philadelphia upbringing, Monaco’s Princess Grace insisted her children appreciate their American heritage. In the kitchen, this included sharing her love of Philadelphia-style scrapple, pancake Sundays and, of course, Thanksgiving.
The November holiday, however, posed problems — even for a princess. While yams are a pretty prevalent tuber and pumpkin, an agreeable gourd, turkey remained a fairly native North American dish (as anyone who has ever been caught overseas with a drumstick appetite can vouch). Though the English have a nice Dickens-styled Christmas turkey tradition, on the continent, in France and Monaco, la dinde (turkey!) didn’t really hit le supermarche until the 1980s.
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Today, Grace’s son Prince Albert maintains the family holiday tradition — but admits his practice isn’t as consistent. The American holiday, which floats into the calendar somewhere behind Monaco’s National Day celebrations on November 19, sometimes gets shorted “because other commitments get in the way, sometimes travel schedules, and so we don’t celebrate every year.”
“We used to, in my mom’s day, of course,” Albert tells PEOPLE. “We either had a Thanksgiving lunch here at the palace, or we would join the American Club over there on the Riviera or the Monaco/USA Association. They had Thanksgiving luncheons either at the Hotel de Paris or in another location, and so we would participate in that.”
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It was a rare treat, he recalls. “Turkey wasn’t common on European tables. We had turkey in the ’60s and ’70s because these organizations which had links with the U.S., of course. But it was virtually unknown in France and there was very little of it.
Prince Albert continues, “But Mom insisted and if we didn’t have turkey at the palace for Thanksgiving, we would have it at Christmas time.”