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The Prince's Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

Built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress, during its long and often dramatic history it has been bombarded and besieged by many foreign powers.

This Renaissance architecture seems to mask earlier fortifications, the towers of which rise behind the differing classical façades.

These towers—many complete with crenellations and machicolations—were actually mostly rebuilt during the 19th century.

Illustration 3: The Prince's Palace in 1890 shows clearly a blend of classical facades and medieval fortifications.

This drawing room is lined with Italian gilded and painted polychrome boiseries by craftsmen brought to France by Cardinal Mazarin, who was related by marriage to the Grimaldi.The throne, in the Empire style, is positioned on a dais, beneath a red silk canopy of estate surmounted by a gilt crown. All state ceremonies have been held in this room since the 16th century.Other rooms in the state suite include the Red Room — so called because its walls are covered in red brocade — a large drawing room containing paintings by Jan Brueghel and Charles Le Brun.Indeed, when its fortifications were finally relaxed during the late 18th century, it was seized by the French and stripped of its treasures, and fell into decline, while the Grimaldi were exiled for over 20 years.The Grimaldi's occupation of their palace is also unusual because, unlike other European ruling families, the absence of alternative palaces and land shortages have resulted in their use of the same residence for more than seven centuries.

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