The Monegasque Red Cross Gala -- or, Gala de la Croix Rouge -- has been held every late July/early August in the Salle des Etoiles in the Sporting Club -- Sporting d'Eté de Monte-Carlo -- since it's inception in 1948, by the present sovereign's great-grandfather, Prince Louis II. It's presidency is served by the sovereign, Prince Albert II. Until 1957, the year after Prince Rainier III gave Monaco a new princess, the event remained low-key. The purpose of the ball is to raise funds for Monaco's division of The Red Cross. It was in 1957 that the Red Cross Gala became what it is today. Since 1957, the ball has hosted performers including: Eddie Fischer, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Gloria Gaynor, Frank Sinatra, Julio Iglesais, Elton John, Liza Minelli, The Beach Boys, Gloria Estefan and this year's performer was Joe Cocker.
Of course, throughout the years, like many events involving the Princely family of Monaco, the Red Cross Ball is no exception to dramatic moments. In 2002, Princess Stephanie canceld her Red Cross Ball appearance at the last minute due to a dispute with her sister over her chosen date for the evening-Princess Stephanie had chosen to ask Richard Lucas, her father's married butler. The story goes that Princess Caroline asked her sister and her chosen date to lay low to avoid further scandal. Of course, Princess Stephanie would have nothing to do with her sister's request, and the two ended up in a large argument-leaving their father and brother in the middle. Typically, until the ball of 2010 when he began opening the ball with his then fiancee, Prince Albert would open the dancing with his baby sister. Prince Rainier was just in the middle, trying not to take sides with his two daughters. In 2002, it was decided that instead of Prince Albert and someone else opening the dancing that everyone at the royal table sat it out while the band played on.