Catching up with the prince of Monaco

Frank Sinatra used to be a regular here, along with Kirk Douglas and Gregory Peck. So too, gamblers, tycoons, even Agent 007 himself. It’s Monaco, the mythical Mecca for the super-rich where residents feel safe parading their jewels and the party never ended, even as political upheaval and income inequality vex the rest of the world. Anderson Cooper drops in for a visit and meets His Serene Highness, better known as Monaco’s Prince Albert II, on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m., ET/PT on CBS.

There was a time when American actors could only play royalty on the big screen. But movie star Grace Kelly, Prince Albert’s mother, moved to Monaco and became a real-life princess when she married Prince Ranier III in 1956. It wasn’t long before her Hollywood friends began visiting, putting the tiny principality on the map among the jet-set. “I remember different parties and different luncheons in the summer; when we’d have Frank Sinatra and Kirk Douglas… Gregory Peck came by,” recalls the prince.

It may be the smallest country in the world outside the Vatican, but managing Monaco is a lot of work for the prince, who is no figurehead; he’s actually running the place. Its tiny size and concentration of superrich give Monaco the unique distinction of housing more multi-millionaires per square foot than any other place on the planet, along with the world’s priciest real estate. Cooper is shown a penthouse apartment on the market for $300 million.  

The prince may rule Monaco, but the king of the night here is Flavio Briatore, nightclub and restaurant owner, and driver of a new Lamborghini, purchased with the help of some of his big-spending customers. “We have people [who] spend 300,000 euro in one night,” he tells Cooper during a ride through Monte Carlo.

Briatore picked Cooper up in his Lambo after 11:00 p.m., because the real fun in Monaco starts late. “You have two faces of Monaco. You have the day, quiet; in the night, people go around…to the disco…to the restaurant…The party goes on.”

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