An interesting case this. Tiny Monaco is one of the very few countries we may not basically have invaded. And yet it’s also one of the relatively few countries that have sort of invaded us. Amazing. Charles Grimaldi of the ruling dynasty of Monaco took part with his ships in the sack of Southampton in 1338.
And in another bizarre twist in the Southampton/Monaco relationship, it is HMS Southampton that has one of the better British claims to having been in action in Monaco, or at least in what are now its territorial water. HMS Southampton is recorded as capturing the ship Corso off Monaco on 2 December 1796. It’s also worth noting here that Nelson found himself patrolling the area off Monaco. Though having said that, it doesn’t seem to have been one of his most exciting experiences. He noted with some disgust at one point that there were no significant vessels in any bay from Monaco to Vado.
We came close to invading Monaco on land in the Second World War, but didn’t in the end. In 1944, British paratroopers, having parachuted into southern France as part of Operation Dragoon, fought their way along the coast as far as Grasse and Cannes, only a few short miles outside Monaco, before being ordered to embark at Cannes on 26 August and sail to Naples. Monaco itself was liberated by US paratroopers on 3 September. It’s possible that some Britons were involved in the liberation of Monaco on some level, but I don’t have the evidence of that right now. If you do, let me know.