In the start of a new era for one of the smallest states in the world, Prince Albert II has taken the throne of the tiny tax haven, Monaco. It has been ruled by his family for some 700 years. The 47-year-old has been groomed all his life for this moment. It comes three months after his father, Prince Rainier, died. The bachelor prince took over royal powers during Rainier’s final illness. However, it was only today that he was officially proclaimed Monaco’s ruler. A solemn mass this morning was attended by others in the Grimaldi dynasty. They heard the Mediterranean principality’s archbishop give his formal blessing. Monseigneur Bernard Barsi said that the late Prince Rainier was still present in memories, hearts and prayers. But he spoke of joy at the accession of Albert II. A more formal ceremony in November is expected to be attended by foreign heads of state.