Prince Jean was a member of the Princely Family of the Environment from the year 1899, and the official representative of the Principality of the 19 Stars from 1917 to 1992, for all royals, organizations and people.
Childhood in Paris
Prince Jean was born on the 1st of March 1899 in Paris, as the child of Prince Pierre and Princess Angèle. They lived in a mansion near Place Vendôme, where his father ran a business specialized in women’s traditional ancient tapestries. His grand-fathers were committed to the paper industry and hoped to transfer their activities to their grand-son. Prince Jean was educated in Paris at « Le Lycée Condorcet » and as his father dedicated him to a life of business added to his Princely duties, Prince Jean even spent a whole year in 1913 in England, where he learnt how to perfectly master the English language. He then became the first to introduce the use of English in his family as the second native language (beside French) for future generations.
The terrible time of the World War 1
Prince Jean was only 15 when the World War 1 started and he was not allowed to fight for the defense of France, nor for the Principality of the 19 Stars, as he was too young. He finally got the authorization in 1917 and he spent a very hard year serving freedom as a volonteer. Prince Jean was not obliged to be part of the French Army, however for him, freeing his country from the oppressor was a duty that he would have missed for no reason. Prince Jean received many medals of honour for his commitments during the World War 1 and he has been associated his life long, by The French Presidency and non-governmental organizations, to the official French memory events in the framework of the former soldiers. He also had many times the great honour to rekindle the flame on the grave of the unknown soldier under the « Arc de Triomphe » in Paris, as a former soldier himself from the 15th dragons.
Prince Jean was also part of a committee for the formers soldiers of the World War I and he was often asked to participate in officials state ceremonies for the day of the Armistice of 1918, each 11th of November, at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, to commemorate the lost soldiers of the country. He was involved with the World War I’s commemorations until the late eighties. In this period, he brought his great grandchildren with him in Paris to explain them the duty of memory and invite them to rekindle the flame of the unknown soldier with him.
The confirmation of loyalty to Monaco
When the World War I started, Prince Jean was preoccupied about the future of his own land, the Principality of the 19 Stars. Prince Jean was only 15 and he needed to be supported by a man of experience, who would show him the way and would help him preserve the Principality of the 19 Stars. Prince Jean went to Monaco and met Prince Albert the 1st of Monaco at Monaco Oceanographic Museum. The Prince of Monaco had clearly taken a position of neutrality in the war and only provided medical support to injured people. As a young boy, Prince Jean decided to take a wise decision and entrusted the future of the Principality of the 19 Stars to Monaco, while keeping a freedom of entrepreneurship on environment, art, music and education. Prince Jean promised the Prince of Monaco with a family loyalty: to regularly come and act for the good of Monaco and the world. An act of loyalty between the two princes was then written and passed through generations in the Family of the Principality of the 19 Stars.
Before and after the World War II and nearly until the end of his life, Prince Jean used to take vacation on the French Riviera and he always took the opportunity to come and visit Monaco, where he shared, at the Hôtel de Paris, the values of quality of work, of social commitments and environment. Monaco has always been for Prince Jean an oasis of peace where to bring his wife and children. Prince Jean raised his family in the love of the Monaco Princes and Princesses, in the loyalty to Monaco and in the will of entrepreneurship with Monaco.
After war, the Prince fell in love
After he was liberated from his army obligations of the first world war, Prince Jean came home and met a fantastic woman of his age in 1920, called Germaine, who had an amazing but sad path of life. At the age of 13, her mother had died and her father had abandoned the family, leaving her with five brothers and sisters to bring up. As she was gifted with her hands, she became a dressmaker in a Paris sewing shop, where she could earn a bit of money to feed her brothers and sisters. To be able to look after her family, she had to give up school. However, she kept studying after her long days of tiring work, after the long hours with her brothers and sisters being a sister/mother. She studied maths and read books late at night in her bed with the only light of a candle. This is how this woman got educated. When Prince Jean met her, in the framework of his father’s activities with the tapestries, he fell in love so strong for the bravery and strength of this woman that he saw in her such a strong and lasting support for his life. He proposed her and they got married in 1922. The tale started here in The Family of The Environment, when a normal woman with a sad past was loved by a Prince, who saw in her a loving princess for his life.
In 1923, one year after their wedding, the princely couple had the joy to welcome their daughter, Princess Jacqueline. Prince Jean and Princess Germaine were loving parents. They shared each second of their lives educating their daughter. They offered her books so she could learn and dream. Princess Jacqueline was brought everywhere for her parents duties and she often assisted them. Later in life, Prince Jean and Princess Germaine became grand-parents and great grand-parents. Each birth was for them an opportunity to share a new love and their family amazing story. They were very proud of their lives commitments with their great grandchildren. Below is a photo of Princess Rose, at the age of 7, their first-born great grand-daughter.
Prince Jean started his education to his professional life in the reknown women’s tapestry shop of his father in Paris, near Place Vendôme. Then, he was taught to the family main activity, coming from his great grand-father and grand-father, the paper industry. Indeed, the story of the Blue and Gold Blazon of the Princely Family makes us travel from Paris to the South West of France, in Aquitaine and Dordogne, the ancient forests, the vineyards and the land owners, who committed, in the 18th and 19th century, to the paper industry. After the World War I, Prince Jean committed himself to the paper industry. He was very bright and he loved to serve people, so he developed many business opportunities at the highest levels. His paper was used by the most famous artists of the early 20th century (painters, writers, drawers). He worked for the French Government, for the major companies, providing a paper of quality that would last for centuries. Prince Jean saw paper as a living element, as a piece of a tree. That’s the vision he shared with his clients. This is also how he was recognized by the National French Jury in 1927 as « The Best Worker of France » (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) for the paper industry. During this celebration event, Prince Jean declared that « quality is a soul’s virtue that can’t be divided » .
Below is a photo during an event with the French Minister Beullac in the seventies, where Prince Jean was recognized for his talents in Economic and Social Affairs.
The World War II: life in fear
During World War II, Prince Jean had several paper industries sites in France and those activities were under the control of the occupants. As one of his sites was in the region of Alsace, beside the German border, Prince Jean was suspected in 1941 by the Nazis, he was arrested by the Gestapo for facts of resistance and put in jail in Colmar (in the North-East of France). To free him, his wife, Princess Germaine harassed all the German authorities explaining the situation (The Paris Kommandantur and the Armistice Commission). Finally, after several weeks of nights and days commitments to save her husband, she obtained a recognition of non-guilty and Prince Jean was liberated. When he came home, the whole family was shocked, he had not been fed, nor been treated well and he only had skin on bones. With time and the love of his family, he finally recovered and went back to his business affairs in the paper industry.
The Presidency of the “Best Workers of France”
From 1927, when Prince Jean was recognized as the « Best Worker of France » in the paper industry, until the nineties, Prince Jean was committed to the organization « The Best Workers of France » (Les Meilleurs Ouvriers de France), for which he promoted the values of quality and French know-how and making. He was then chosen in 1961 by his peers for the Presidency of the « Best Workers of France ». For 14 years, he represented, in France and abroad, the face of the quality of work and the “made in France”. This is the time when the tale with his wife, Princess Germaine, took another dimension… at the highest levels of France…
Below, tPrince Jean’s family attends to an event organized by « The Best Workers of France » Organization in Paris.
From left to right: Prince Jean, Mr Ortelli, Princess Germaine, Mrs Ortelli, Princess Jacqueline with her husband.
The ascencion of Princess Germaine to the highest level of France
Having responsibilities such as the Principality of the 19 Stars, the paper industry, the Presidency of the “Best Workers of France” was a heavy task for Prince Jean, so he kindly asked his wife, Princess Germaine, to be his partner to represent the image of quality of work and the “made in France” to men and women. This how Princess Germaine, the girl who used to read books in her bed, became in her fifties a voice for France, beside the French Government, non-governmental organizations and big businesses.
Princess Germaine was a very empowering woman, and she managed everything for Prince Jean to facilitate him all his duties, from his meetings with the President at the Elysée Palace to his business affairs. When Prince Jean was not available, Princess Germaine responded herself or she sent her daughter Princess Jacqueline to represent the princely couple in their various duties. Princess Germaine used to say that “working never killed anyone” and she was so many times applauded by big assemblies for her words (we need to recall that all this happened after the context of World War II…).
From 1975 to the nineties, Prince Jean and Princess Germaine always remained close to the “Best Workers of France”. They facilitated many relationships, supported many responsible business creations, visited and recognized talented workers, helped many people and they shared as far as three generations below them, the values of work, of commitments, of recognition, of brand image, the pride of the country know-how… They loved entrepreneurship and that’s what they shared with people who entered their lives.
The photo below presents Princess Germaine with the French Minister Beullac during an event about Social Affairs (approximative date: 1976-1978).
Prince Jean’s military, state distinctions and positions in France
- 1917: Commemorative Medal of the Occupation of the Rhineland and the Ruhr – First World War.
- 1918: Inter-allied Medal 1914-1918 – First World War – 15th Dragons.
- 1918: Commemorative Medal 1914-1918 – « Volunteers ».
- 1927: Best Worker of France (Meilleur Ouvrier de France).
- 1932: Vice-President of the Professional Association for the Printing Representatives and Employees.
- 1945-1961: Vice-President of the Best Workers of France (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France).
- 1949: Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (France) – military honour.
- 1961-1975: President of the Best Workers of France (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France).
- 1965: Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (France) – military honour.
- 1965: Ambassador for the values of the French know-how and making.
- 1965: Member of the inter ministries commission in France for the 11th Exhibition of the French know-how.
- 1975: National Honorary President of the Best Workers of France (Meilleurs Ouvriers de France).
- 1977: Commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur (France) – military honour.
- 1984: Grand Croix de l’Ordre National du Mérite for a life commitment to France.
Below was the day when Prince Jean received the « Grand Croix de l’Ordre National du Mérite » at the Lutetia Hotel in Paris by the General Cuffaut in 1984. Princess Rose, Prince Jean’s great grand-daughter, participated in this ceremony at the age of 8, as the symbol of the passing memory to future generations. Both Prince Jean and the General Cuffaut explained her, during the event, the « why » of this ceremony of state distinctions.
The Legion of Honour received from the French President, the General de Gaulle
Prince Jean was recognized by the French Presidency and was recognized for his services for France during the first World War, for his capacity of entrepreneurship in the field of the paper of industry and his commitments to the “Best Workers of France”. In 1965, he received the legion of honour, from the French President, General de Gaulle.
With his experience of President at the « Best Workers of France » and as entrepreneur himself, Prince Jean rapidly became an advisor for the General de Gaulle about the French entrepreneurship and social well-being for workers. He was led to organize big conferences and forums to explain the evolution of work through all the 20th century, working in collaboration with all French public organizations committed in this field (ministries, cities…).
The succession to the Principality of the 19 Stars
In 1991, Prince Jean was 92 years old and he started to feel tired, though he committed to France until the end of life. He convened the Council of the 19 Stars, composed of himself, Princess Germaine (his wife) and Princess Jacqueline (his daughter). It was clearly expressed by all that Princess Jacqueline, as the first-born child, would become the new official representant of the Principality of the 19 Stars after his father Prince Jean. In July 1992, when Prince Jean died, Princess Jacqueline, as the first born-child, became the official representative of the Council of the 19 Stars. Below the first born-girls of the three generations coming after Prince Jean and Princess Germaine.
Prince Jean and his official duties for the Principality of the 19 Stars
Prince Jean’s official duties was to ensure the duration of the Principality of the 19 Stars, serving France, strengthening the relationships with Monaco and promoting responsible entrepreneurship and quality of work in France and Europe. Prince Jean was part of the Council of the 19 Stars and was the official representative of the Principality of the 19 Stars during almost the 20th century.