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Working visit for Monaco’s Princess Caroline

Princess Caroline of Monaco is arriving in Manila today without her royal crown. Instead, she will roll up her sleeves for a three-day working visit to 12 shelters for street children in Makati City, under the auspices of the Virlanie Foundation.

The foundation is a private organization seeing to the welfare of some 300 abandoned children. It is an affiliate and beneficiary of the World Association of Children’s Friends (Amade), established by Princess Caroline’s mother, the late American movie star Grace Kelly, in 1963.

In the last four decades Amade has worked continuously in developing humanitarian aid projects from its central office in Monaco. It aims to protect children’s rights. The 47-year-old princess is Ama­de’s president.

Often called the “working princess,” Caroline has led an active public life since her mother’s tragic car accident in 1982. Her tireless involvement in numerous charitable organizations, including the Princess Grace Foundation, the Red Cross and Amade, has earned much praise from the international press, and she is the constant source of pride for her father, Prince Rainier of Monaco.

The British society magazine Hello! quoted the Prince as saying, “After Grace’s death, a miracle happened. Princess Caroline stepped into her mother’s shoes. She has the same spirit as her mother. The way she is handling the jobs I have given her is a source of satisfaction to me.”

To keep the Princess’ visit as private as possible, the Virlanie Foundation, headed by its founder, Dominique Lemay, has chosen to keep the details of her arrival today from the press. Sources say, however, that she will be flying into Manila on a private jet, along with her husband, Prince Ernst of Hanover, who is 12th in line to the British throne.

Besides visiting the children’s shelters, Caroline’s itinerary also includes a courtesy call on President Arroyo in Malacañang Monday, to be followed by a fundraising gala at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel in the evening.

Organized by Virlanie Foundation’s Lemay, and civic leaders Marietta Santos, Marilou Arroyo and Dr. Antonio Protacio, the formal dinner aims to raise at least P20 million to be used for land purchases and the construction of more shelters for street children.

The P10,000-per-plate gala dinner at the Rizal Ballroom will include performances from the Virlanie Children’s Choir and a fashion show from the designer Inno Sotto.

Rustan’s has reportedly donated Chanel gift packs for the fundraiser’s benefactors.

To cap her visit, the princess reportedly asked to have lunch with all of Virlanie Foundation’s 300 wards.

By Tessa C. Mauricio

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