People who make Monaco: Cécile de Massy
Baroness Cécile de Massy
is the founding president of the Ladies' Lunch Association of Monte Carlo, whose members meet at the Hotel Métropole
. But although theirs may sound like a rather exclusive social circle, Cécile explained to us that the aims of the society go much further than casual meeting and eating. And as we rapidly learnt, this is a lady who despite her connections, is
at heart very simple, keeps her feet on the ground, and respects the
values of life, health and happiness - 'above all, what God gives us'
"We're so privileged to live in such a magnificent location as the
Principality, with its population drawn from every part of the world -
exceptional in its level and quality of life, and surrounded by sea and
mountains and sunshine. But the children of Monaco can still suffer from illnesses, can still be hooked on drugs, and they can still suffer abuse. It doesn't matter whether you come from the developing or the developed world, no-one is completely immune. That's why we set up the club."
Photo ©Naneen Rossi for CityOut
So its main aim is to raise charitable funds? "Exactly - we support a wide range of welfare organizations: Jeune J'Ecoute, Action Innocence Monaco, les Enfants de Frankie, Athina
Ichthyose, Monaco Disease Power, Fight Aids Monaco
, Ecoute Cancer
Reconfort, the Pediatric Unit of the Princess Grace Hospital, the
Special Olympics, the FAR and - last but not least - the Princess Grace
Dance Academy. It's thanks to fundraising like ours that these charities
are able to continue their fight for the well-being of each child in
And the association is still an important meeting-point for the women of Monaco? "Of course, the association also brings us together
socially; we meet old friends and make new ones in the context of wonderful
food prepared by Joël Robuchon, and fashion shows from the great
fashion and jewellery houses - Boucheron, Elie Saab, Cartier,
and Valentino. But to us they're much more than just brand names - I
can't thank them enough because without them we couldn't raise money for our charities. We're also enormously grateful to our local sponsors Fleurisia,
Studio Bazile, the Métropole, and banks such as Julius Baër and UBS."
Photo ©Naneen Rossi for CityOut
How is the association organized? "We're composed of an Executive Committee (seven women drawn from a variety of circles) and an Honorary Committee (a further six women who play an active role in society)." And I believe you have a special connection with the future Princess of Monaco? "We do. Two years ago I approached HSH Prince Albert
to ask if Mlle Charlene Wittstock would like to become our Honorary President. The reply was both immediate and positive. It was a real honour for us, as Miss Wittstock is well-known for her gentle and caring approach to the welfare of children. So at our fifth anniversary 'Ladies invite Gentlemen' event in June 2009, Miss Wittstock was enthroned in her new role. It's one we hope she will continue as Princess of Monaco, lending her flair and confidence as well as her humanity and generosity."
As the wife for the last fifteen years of Baron Christian Louis de Massy, Cécile has been close to the princely family, and has recently lost her beloved mother-in-law, Princess Antoinette. "I loved her deeply. It's a marvellous family. But you know something?" she smiles, "Monaco may be a small country, but it has a big
heart. I like to think that every one of its inhabitants is as generous
in their giving as the Princely family itself."
Interview by Alex Went / photos by Naneen Rossi