The young prince, acceding to the throne at age 26, was said to have taken his responsibilities very seriously and shepherded the principality through the uncertain 1950s when casino and tourist revenues were rapidly declining. Under his reign, the principality has experienced intensive economic and real estate development, especially in the tourist industry. The success of his leadership has depended upon the near homage Monegasque citizens voluntarily feel towards him and the supportive composition of the National Council. Several disputes and challenges in the 1960s and 1970s, left his reputation virtually untarnished if not stronger.
In 1962, Prince Rainier initiated constitutional reforms that provided for the right of association, trade union freedom, and the right to strike, the National Council's election by universal franchise (instead of via the delegate system), and the extension of the franchise to women. Monegasque citizens perceive that they are treated well by the Rainier government and appreciate living in a state which does not tax them yet provides all social and medical services. The only serious domestic political opposition Prince Rainier faced was from a Monegasque Communist, Charles Soccal, the head of the Federation of Trade Unions who served on the National Council during part of the 1960s and 1970s and spoke out forcefully against many of the prince's projects and edicts. Since Soccal's defeat for reelection in 1978, the prince has not faced any major political challenge in the National Council.
Prince Rainier has had to consider the French when formulating his policies. For example, in 1962, President De Gaulle became irritated because wealthy French citizens were living in Monaco and avoiding French taxes. This dispute was fueled in part by Prince Rainier's campaign to introduce international businesses to the fiscal advantages of establishing headquarters in Monaco. A compromise with the French government was reached in 1963 as Monaco agreed to collect a turnover tax of up to 40% of the value of exports of local firms that do at least 25% of their business outside of Monaco. The French customs service in turn collects the duties on cargoes delivered to Monaco and returns a share to Monaco.