Sainte Dévote and the Principality of Monaco – an ancient and strong relationship – Royal Central

By Pramzan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The relationship between the Princely Family of Monaco and Sainte Dévote is both ancient and strong. 

Every year, members of the Princely Family take part in the festivities remembering the Patron Saint of the Principality. On the 26th of January, the eve of her feast day, a symbolic fishing boat is brought in a procession from the port to the chapel and is set on fire. On the 27th of January, her feast day, a church service is held at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, followed by a procession of the Saint’s relics, during which the Monégasque people ask the Saint for her protection towards the Princely Family.

Dévote was a Corse girl who was tortured to death for her faith during the Diocletian persecutions. Her body was supposed to be burned, but, having been saved by Christians and put on a boat headed to Africa for a proper burial, the ship was met by rough waters. However, a dove appeared and signalled for the body to be buried in the current location of the Saint Devote Chapel in Monaco. 

Embed from Getty Images

Sainte Dévote has been since venerated by the Monégasque population and has been indicated as the saviour of the Principality from invasions, pestilence, and even an attempt from a florentine boat to steal her remains from Monaco. Prince Honoré II (princedom 1604-1644) was the sovereign who made Sainte Dévote the Patron Saint of the Principality of Monaco. He was also the one who transformed Monaco into a Principality. 

Embed from Getty Images

Just like royal brides in the United Kingdom leave their flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey, or Spanish royal brides leave their bouquets in the Virgin of Atocha Chapel, Monaco’s royal brides leave their wedding flowers in the Sainte Dévote Chapel as a request for protection and happiness throughout the marriage. 

It is a tradition that Princess Charlène carried out, following in the steps of the mother-in-law she never met, Princess Grace, who in 1956 laid her bouquet in the same chapel following her wedding to Prince Rainier III.