Monaco's Prince Albert to marry next July

Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:01pm EDT
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By Elizabeth Pineau

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Prince Albert of Monaco, son of late Hollywood star Grace Kelly, will marry South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock next July, in what will be a star-studded event likely to boost the principality's image.

Albert, 52, has been linked to a string of beautiful women and has acknowledged fathering two illegitimate children, but he sought to shed his playboy image after succeeding his father Prince Rainier in 2005. He has dated Wittstock since 2006.

His palace said on Thursday the religious marriage will be on July 9 and a civil ceremony held the day before.

The last time Monaco celebrated a wedding of its ruling prince was in 1956, when Rainier married Kelly, bringing a huge dose of glamour to the tiny Mediterranean principality.

Once dubbed Dirty Bertie by the tabloid press, Albert in his younger days was photographed accompanying a stream of famous women, such as Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Brooke Shields, Lisa Marie Presley and Kylie Minogue.

But unlike his two sisters, who have a clutch of marriages and seven children between them, Albert never showed any indication of wanting to settle down until he started going out with the blonde, elegant Wittstock in 2006.

Rumors occasionally surfaced that they were set to marry, but the pair remained silent about their future until now.

They were last seen together in public in Stockholm, when they attended the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria, heir to the Swedish throne and could attend Thursday's Diamond League athletics meeting held in Monte-Carlo.   Continued...

<p>Prince Albert of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock attend the Herculis athletics meeting at Louis II stadium in Monaco July 22, 2010. REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier</p>