The photograph shows Louis Druel, who became president of the Grand Prix Humanitaire de France et des Colonies after the foundation of that award by Charles Leroy on 18 September 1892. Since 1899, the Grand Prix Humanitaire has been the Cross of Merit of the Order of the Crown of Thorns under the protection of the Abbey-Principality, and has been awarded continuously by each Prince-Abbot up to today, with the most recent award being in December 2012.
A paper that discusses the history of the Grand Prix Humanitaire will be found below. This history encompasses the complex political considerations that related to the activities of the erstwhile sixth Prince-Abbot of San Luigi, Louis-François de Girardot (1869-1959) who promoted together with Druel a separatist party of the Grand Prix in close association with the Royal House of Araucania and Patagonia.
These unfortunate actions adversely affected relations between the Abbey-Principality and the Royal House which had at one point been close, with King Aquiles I of Araucania and Patagonia becoming the first Royal Patron of the Order of the Crown of Thorns until his death in 1902.
To mark the New Year 2013, the Abbey-Principality has announced the appointment of Dom Klaus Schlapps OPR, Duke of Saih Nasra, to head an initiative aimed at the formal restoration of relations with the Royal House.