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Monaco (AFP) – “There are people who never go out”: on the eve of his entry into the Pantheon, Albert of Monaco paid tribute on Monday to Josephine Baker, buried in 1975 in the Principality.
The Monegasque sovereign has thus taken the words of his mother, Princess Grace, of American nationality, such as Josephine Baker to whom “she offered her last home, a tomb in black granite from Africa”, in which the artist rests in the cemetery of Monaco.
After her expulsion from the Château des Milandes, in the Dordogne, it was on the Rock that Joséphine Baker and her children settled in 1969, with the help of the princely couple.
Evoking “the courage of the granddaughter of slaves” as during the Second World War, the sovereign underlined “the ideal of universal brotherhood and its corollary, the fight against racial segregation, of which Josephine is a symbol”.
Become a close friend of Princess Grace of Monaco, who had given up her acting career to marry Prince Rainier, Joséphine Baker then performed often in the Principality as “on June 22, 1974 where she had replaced at short notice” , singer and actor Samy Davis Jr, for the inauguration of the new Summer Sport, recalled Prince Albert.
Joséphine Baker, born in the United States but who had adopted France as a second homeland will enter the Pantheon on Tuesday during a ceremony rendered by Emmanuel Macron.
Her many children have decided not to move their mother’s coffin from the Monaco marine cemetery, where she lies with her last husband and one of her children.
Even if a coffin will be carried for the celebration, it is therefore a cenotaph (tomb not containing the body) which will be installed in vault 13 of the crypt where the writer Maurice Genevoix, the last to enter the Pantheon, is already located.
Prince Albert symbolically explained that he would take a little Monegasque land: a land “which will enter the Pantheon tomorrow, mixed with that of Saint-Louis, his land of birth, with that of Paris, the land of his audience, and to that of the Milandes, the land of his “rainbow” tribe.
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