Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state’s sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full United Nations voting member in 1993. Despite Monaco’s independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units.