PEOPLE : Monegasques may get a new monarch

Is Prince Rainier of Monaco planning to step down in favour of his son, Prince Albert? Paris Match thinks it has buttoned down the story, but the palace has denied it. The magazine reports that the palace has ordered new uniforms with Albert's in itials engraved on the buttons in preparation for an abdication in February or March. Leave for policemen and gendarmes in the principality has also been cancelled for the two months, it said. "The order came from the top and is secret."

Prince Rainier, who is 71, underwent heart bypass surgery a month ago. On Tuesday, he made his first public appearance since then, attending a Christmas party at which his daughter, Princess Stephanie, distributed toys to Monegasques. This was Stephanie's first official appearance with her father in years. He reportedly disapproves of her liaison with her former bodyguard, Daniel Ducruet, with whom she has two children.

A palace spokesman said: "We have no comment, but you can imagine that if such an important decision had been made there would have been a press release."

The new Speaker of the US House of Representatives won't be driving around in his 1967 Ford Mustang after all. Now that he is a big wheel in Congress Newt Gingrich has bowed to the pleas of the Capitol Hill police and agreed to use the car, driver and security detail he had previously shunned.

Mr Gingrich, known for his outspoken conservative views, has received death threats since the Republicans won control of the House in November. As House Minority Whip, he often walked to work, but things have got more dangerous around the seats of American democracy in recent months. Shots and planes seem to land regularly at the White House and an armed man was recently caught trying to enter the Capitol.

Contrary to rumours, Mr Gingrich's car won't be an armoured limousine, or even a red pick-up truck. "It will be a standard American car, probably a mini-van sort of car. . . the sort of car that shuttles kids to soccer games across America," according tothe police. It will be driven by officers specially trained "in defensive and evasive driving tactics" and "trauma management", and also "familiar with the locations of the major medical facilities in the area".

Mr Gingrich can alleviate any trauma he's feeling by contemplating his seven-figure advance from HarperCollins for writing two books on his conservative political philosophy. They'll guarantee trauma for Clintonites.

Bombay has a new sheriff. Sunil Gavaskar, who set a record in 1984 when he attained 34 centuries in test cricket, was sworn in yesterday. He is the 99th honorary occupant of the post and the third cricketer to hold it in its two-century history. Mr Gavaskar, the India captain in 47 test matches, retired from the sport in 1987. He is cricket columnist and commentator and runs a sports management consultancy.

Paris is a glamorous and elegant city, but silk sheets for Carlos the Jackal in his prison cell? No, not really. That was the prison guards' little joke. But the director of La Sante prison concedes that Illich Ramirez Sanchez has a special quilt on his bed, provided on doctor's orders. He is said to have a skin complaint. His bed linen is changed twice a week and taken away for laundering by staff of his lawyer, Jacques Verges.

Nor does Carlos have a cigar cutter in spite of a ban on sharp objects in cells. He has a small pair of scissors available to any inmate, said the prison director, Yves Tigolet.

Carlos is apparently allowed to have plastic rubbish bags, which are normally banned in case inmates use them to commit suicide. Perhaps that is the clearest sign yet that the era of the international terrorist is over.

Maryann Bird

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvSpoiler alert: It has been talked about for months
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington
tv
Voices
Almost one in 10 of British soliders fall victim to serious psychiatric side-effects after being prescribed Lariam.
CHRISTMAS APPEALThis is how one charity is using that 'waste' to feed Britain's war heroes
Life and Style
Facebook has apologised after a new feature inviting users to review a collection of their 2014 highlights caused some to be confronted with pictures of their recently deceased family members and friends
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Property Manager

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Junior Property Manager in a yo...

Recruitment Genius: Web Development Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Service and Installation Engineer

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: SEO / Outreach Executive

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a global marketin...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?