Nothing is more cutthroat than a royal court.
Through the ages, worldwide, courtiers and relatives of a sovereign king or prince have regularly murdered one another for closer access to him or her—or to become Sovereign.
The Principality of Monaco is one of the last absolute monarchies in the world—and today it thus provides the best example of Machiavellian backstabbing within a royal court.
Royal relatives, courtiers, government ministers, subjects, ambassadors, and residents of the principality alike play an endless game of who can attain the brownest nose, by ingratiating themselves with the prince through flattery, compliments, and gifts.
Everyone wants the ear of the Sovereign, whether it is for social prestige or financial gain, or both. They want to be his best friend and/or chief adviser; their seating positions at social events involving the Sovereign attest to others their importance, or lack thereof.
Murder and mayhem has given way, in modern times, to vendetta and character assassination.
Courtiers content with the status quo conspire to quash the newcomer possessing honorable intentions, and intent on cleaning up graft and corruption.
Such was the case, in Monaco, of Prince Albert II’s first chief-of-staff following the prince’s enthronement.
With the assistance of the prince’s spymaster, the new chief-of-staff attempted to implement, at the prince’s direction, a new code of ethics for his principality.
Corrupt courtiers and government ministers were mortified by the advent of such proposed change, and, fearing the worst for their positions, conspired to oust the chief-of staff from his perch inside the palace.
The metaphorical knives were plunged, the chief-of-staff, exiled—with the prince’s spymaster to follow.
The prince then perpetuated the pretense of an ethical code while he himself accepted inappropriate gifts, applauded by corrupt courtiers that had the most to gain from their organized crimes.