Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Next Grace Kelly?
PARIS – Prince Albert of Monaco is engaged to marry Charlene Wittstock, a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, a union that will give this wealthy Mediterranean principality its first crown princess since American Grace Kelly died in 1982.
The palace announced the engagement of "His Serene Highness", 52, and Wittstock, 32, who also worked as a school teacher before moving to Monaco. The statement Wednesday did not indicate a planned wedding date but put to rest months of speculation that the two longtime companions would tie the knot.
Albert met the willowy blonde Wittstock in 2000 when she traveled to Monaco for a swimming competition, said Laetitia Pierrat, a palace spokeswoman. Wittstock swam for South Africa at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, though won no medals. In the All Africa Games the year before, she won gold in the 100-meter freestyle.
Since 2006, Wittstock has lived in the principality, Pierrat said.
It will be the first marriage of a reigning prince since Hollywood actress Grace Kelly married Albert's father, Prince Rainier III, to massive hoopla in 1956. Princess Grace died in a car accident in 1982, casting a pall of tragedy over the family, but remains a style icon to this day. London's Victoria & Albert Museum for art and design has a current exhibition on her.
According to protocol, royal couples must wait at least six months between the announcement of the engagement and the wedding day, Pierrat said.
She demurred when asked whether Wittstock might be pregnant. "Honestly, I don't think so," she said, adding she wasn't privy to such matters but if Wittstock were, a formal announcement would probably have been made.
From the AP
Posted by Nancy Swiezy at Wednesday, June 23, 2010