Monaco's Ailing Prince Gets Papal Blessing

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 27, 2005 ( John Paul II, himself convalescing, sent «a particular blessing» to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, who was hospitalized with a severe chest infection, the prince’s palace reported.

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The 81-year-old prince, Europe’s longest serving monarch, was hospitalized at the principality’s Cardiothoracic Center on March 7.

The Pope, wrote Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano in a message addressed to the prince, «is united to Your Highness in thought and prayer, expressing his best wishes for your health.»

«Entrusting you to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the Pope prays that the Lord will give you the consolation and support of his grace,» he added in the message.

Prince Rainierhe has ruled Monaco since 1949. He married American actress Grace Kelly in 1956.

Princess Grace died following a car crash in 1982. She is buried in the crypt of the 19th-century Monaco Cathedral, which overlooks the Mediterranean.

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