Well, it happened! Charlene Wittstock managed to marry Prince Albert of Monaco in a quiet civil ceremony today in Monte Carlo. Tomorrow is the big church wedding where Charlene will wear her big white dress (I believe it’s going to be Armani, right?), but today Charlene just wore a simple, pale blue suit. So, did she ever really try to do a runner? Sources continue to say that she did, and this morning, I spied this headline: “Prince Albert’s lawyer denies Charlene Wittstock had passport confiscated at Nice airport during last-minute attempt to leave principality.” Did you hear that? HE TOOK HER PASSPORT. Seriously, this poor girl. This is like an international catastrophe. If I was Charlene, you can bet I would have been calling my embassy and throwing a massive fit.
A former Olympic swimmer from South Africa was officially declared Princess Charlene of Monaco today following her marriage to Prince Albert. Dressed in a sky-blue jacket and skirt, 33-year-old Charlene Wittstock smiled radiantly as she said ‘I do’ in a civil ceremony in the Royal Palace throne room of the ancient Mediterranean principality.
Her new husband, 53-year-old Albert, looked on proudly in a dark suit and grey tie as he put sensational rumours about his personal life behind him. The French press even compared the nuptials to Britain’s Royal Wedding – while lamenting the fact that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had sadly had to decline their invitation to Monte Carlo because they were on an official trip to Canada.
Less respectful Gallic commentators were, meanwhile, suggesting that history’s first Princess Charlene might not have the same ring to it as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Miss Wittstock had, in the words of Le Monde, ‘tried to escape’ last week – back home to South Africa after learning that Albert may have fathered a third love child. As the mystery deepened, Albert’s two love children and their mothers stayed away from today’s 40 minute ceremony at the Royal Palace. They are also expected to be absent from the Catholic Church ceremony tomorrow.
Instead French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to join celebrity guests including James Bond star Roger Moore, former supermodel Naomi Campbell, and veteran fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani. Organisers of the £55million celebrations surrounding the wedding – which included a concert by The Eagles last night – hope that it will rival the 1956 wedding of Albert’s mother, Hollywood star Grace Kelly, and his father, Prince Rainier.
Philippe Narmino, president of Monaco’s Council of State, officiated today, and confirmed that the former Miss Wittstock was now officially a Princess. Before the 5pm ceremony, Mr Narmino said: ‘It’s the event of my life. Me, who as a magistrate, has dealt with hundreds of divorce dossiers during 27 years, will be marrying a couple for the first time.’
Referring to the Paris news magazine which broke the story about Charlene’s attempted flight, and which still stands by it, Albert’s lawyer Thierry Lacoste said: ‘I heard everything about the child – white, black, who has been born, not yet born – it has to stop, it’s I don’t know what. There is no child, it’s a totally false rumour and absolutely without foundation. It’s easy to do your job as a journalist – to check that Charlene did not go to the airport. It’s clearly false, she and the prince were around all last week.’
In fact a senior detective from Monaco, who was involved in the later stages of the ‘incident’ at Nice airport, has confirmed that ‘Charlene had her passport confiscated so that the Prince’s entourage could persuade her to stay’.
Albert already has two children – six-year-old Alexandre, the son of Nicole Coste, a former Air France air hostess from Togo, and Jazmin, 19, whose mother is Tamara Rotola, an American estate agent. Miss Coste was spotted in Monaco earlier this week, but was said to have been advised to stay away from the wedding to avoid ‘media exposure’.
Mr Lacoste infamously issued fierce denials before DNA tests proved Albert was the father of Alexandre and Tamara. Despite his strong denial this time around, Mr Lacoste confirmed that he was taking no action against L’Express. And Christophe Barbier, editor of L’Express and a close friend of French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, said the magazine had no intention of removing the story from its website, saying: ‘We stand by our information which was supplied by three different sources.’
Mr Barbier said it was important to give Charlene’s attempted return home publicity because of the ‘number of crowned heads and representatives of various states that are expected at the marriage’.
Despite such enthusiastic predictions, the guest list for the wedding – which had been shrouded in secrecy until today – revealed that many senior royals who had been expected to attend were not in fact coming.
[From The Mail]
I’m starting to believe that Charlene did in fact try to do a runner, but she was somehow talked back into marrying Albert. Maybe she was promised money, or a completely separate life away from him, or God knows what. I’m also wondering if Charlene is being medicated, or if she’s self-medicating… wouldn’t you need to take a pill (or a half a dozen) to deal with marrying Albert, this dude who you clearly don’t want to be married to?
UPDATE: More photos from today’s balcony kiss. I swear, Charlene looks like she’s wincing.
Photos courtesy of WENN.