onaco used to be a colony of the Italian city-state Genoa. A small isolated country between the mountains and the sea with one castle on the Rock of Monaco, overlooking the entire country.
Francesco Grimaldi disguised himself and his men as Franciscan monks and infiltrated the castle to take control. It was not long before Genoan forces succeeded in ousting him. Later his descendents simply bought the castle and the realm from Genoa and turned it into a principality.
At this point the flag of Genoa was the St. George’s flag. They allowed England, for a fee, to fly their flag so they could use their sea and ports to trade.
The Monaco Coat of Arms has represented the country for as long as the Grimaldi dynasty has been in power, since the early 15th Century. Although the design has changed gradually over the years, the key elements have remained the same. The motto, ‘Deo Juvante’ is Latin for ‘With God’s Help’. This coat of arms today serves as the state flag.
The colours on the shield, red and white in a pattern known as ‘lozengy argent and gules’ in heraldic terms, are the national colours. A flag bearing only the red and white lozenge pattern has been commonly used throughout Monaco’s history to represent the Grimaldi family, and by extension, the country.
The rise of nationalism across Europe in the 19th Century brought with it the notion of a national flag. In 1881, it was Monaco’s turn to adopt one, and the diminutive principality adopted the colours of Grimaldi into a simple bicolour design.
The Princely Standard
The current Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II, uses the princely standard. It can only be used in his immediate presence, including the cars he uses.
It is made up of the Crown of Monaco over two opposing letters A on white background. Sometimes it includes a gold fringe on the top, bottom and right of the white field.