Nina Menegatto grew up in Germany never imagining that one day she would become a Princess.
Within the region of Liguria in northwest Italy near the French border, sits a small independent town of 300 residents called Seborga. Seborga was put on the map in the 1960s by Giorgio Carbone, a grower of mimosa flowers, who took an interest in the history of his town. While researching the history of his home, Giorgio learned that Seborga was an ancient principality that had its sovereignty taken away. Upon discovering evidence of its independence and its history as an autonomous principality ruled by monks, Carbone stayed true to the monastic tradition of electing rulers, and his fellow Seborgans elected him as Prince Giorgio I.
In 2019, the second Prince of Seborga abdicated his title and responsibilities. Nina, having served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2010, felt it was worthwhile to put herself forward as a candidate in the election to be the next head of Seborga. In a historic moment for the Principality, Nina was up against another female candidate, Laura Di Bisceglie, daughter of Giorgio I. In the end, Nina prevailed with her platform to bring more employment and tourism to Seborga with the development of a wellness hotel and with the majority vote, was elected Her Serene Highness Princess Nina of Seborga.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Princess Nina including how Princess Grace influenced her life starting at a young age.
Grace Influential: Tell us how you came to live in Seborga.
Princess Nina: I had gone to boarding school in Switzerland where I met my eventual husband and together, we ended up in Monaco where I attended the university for my MBA. We had two labradors who needed green space, so we drove around exploring and looking for another residence outside of Monaco. About 30 minutes from Monaco, we found a beautiful location, which ended up being Seborga, and purchased a wonderful country home.
GI: How would you describe the Principality of Seborga to someone who has never heard of it?
Princess Nina: Seborga is a fairytale in the modern world. It has a wonderful history and it’s beautiful. Mostly, I love the people and they are also the reason I decided to run in the election. They are lovely, warm, and welcoming and truly feel like family to me.
GI: What do you love about being the Princess of Seborga?
Princess Nina: I get to carry through so many of the wonderful things I was able to participate in during my years overseeing foreign affairs. I love to participate in charities for children which include traveling to places like the UK, India, and more. Mostly, I really love creating and hosting wonderful events for local kids and using my position to bring fun and lightheartedness to the Principality. I am a new mom and my appreciation for the positive influence I can have on young children is even greater now.
GI: You shared that Princess Grace had an influence on your life. Can you tell us more?
Princess Nina: Long before I became a princess myself, I adored Princess Grace. I loved her style and clothes—she was a glamorous iconic woman. I never imagined that one day I would be living in Monaco—a place that she put on the map and made famous by putting her mark on it. I always admired her philanthropic spirit and her desire to do good. I guess you can say she lived a real-life fairytale, and, in some ways, I feel that I am too.
Photos courtesy of Principato di Seborga