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Stefano Casiraghi, Husband Of Princess Caroline, Dies

October 3, 1990 GMT

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) _ Stefano Casiraghi, the 30-year-old husband of Princess Caroline, was killed today when he flipped his speedboat while defending his title in a world championship race, the Royal Palace said.

Caroline, 33, was in Paris when she learned of the death of Italian financier husband. She quickly left for Monaco, wearing black mourning clothes. It was the second tragedy to strike the Grimaldi family in eight years - Caroline’s mother, Princess Grace, died after a car crash in 1982.

Witnesses said Casiraghi and co-pilot Patrice Innocenti drove their catamaran, the Pinot di Pinot, straight into a wave at 93 mph during a morning run for the World Offshore Championships.

The 42-foot boat flipped over, ejecting Innocenti. But witnesses said Casiraghi remained strapped to his seat and bore the full impact of the vessel slamming into the water.

The two-engine, five-ton boat sank with Casaraghi aboard, witnesses said.

″He surely didn’t have time to look out and, at that speed, stuck under the boat, must have been killed by the blow,″ said another competitor, Michel Karsten.

Emergency crews pulled both men from the water and rushed them to Princess Grace Hospital.

The hospital said Innocenti, the boat’s driver, was being treated for his injuries.

Weather conditions off Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, between Monaco and Nice, were described as normal. The accident came 30 minutes after the second stage of the race opened today. Organizers canceled the day’s events but did not say when or if they would be rescheduled.

Today’s accident is the worst blow to Monaco’s ruling family since Princess Grace, the American actress who gave up Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier III, died in 1982. Caroline’s younger sister, Princess Stephanie, also was injured in the car crash.

Caroline married Casiraghi in a civil ceremony Dec. 29, 1983 under a portrait of her mother. The marriage followed an unhappy two-year union with French playboy Philippe Junot.

Caroline and Casiraghi had three children: a son Andrea, 6; Charlotte, 4; and Pierre, 3.

Caroline married the tall, blond Casiraghi after divorcing Junot but without obtaining a Roman Catholic Church annulment of the marriage.

She said she married again because she was in love and knew an annulment - first sought in 1981 - would take a long time.

″I wanted a real home and children,″ she was quoted as saying. ″It was difficult for my conscience, but I was overwhelmed by the desire to have children. Surely that can be understood from a Christian point of view.″

The relatively low-profile lifestyle Caroline had enjoyed since marrying Casiraghi contrasted sharply with the weekly splash she made in celebrity magazines during the 1970s.

The couple were reported to have a close relationship and divided their time between Monaco and Casiraghi’s home outside Milan, Italy.

The fun-loving but steady Casiraghi ran a successful real estate firm in Milan as well as a retail export business. His father made his fortune in heating and air conditioning equipment.

Casiraghi studied economics at the University of Bocconi in Milan but dropped out before getting his degree.

The financier had a passion for offshore racing. Competing since 1984, he won 12 of 80 races, including last year’s world championship held off Atlantic City, N.J.

The Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco since the 13th century.

The area is about the size of New York City’s Central Park. Rainier and Grace had three children - Caroline, Prince Albert and Stephanie. Only Caroline has married and had children.