Princess Charlene, a former Olympic swimmer, was far from excited during her 2010 wedding to Prince Albert. Instead, sources claim the Princess tried to escape before their royal wedding.
Prince Allbert II of Monaco is the only son of Prince Rainier III and his wife, the former Hollywood actress-turned-royal, Grace Kelly. Prince Albert recently turned 64, but much emphasis has been on his decade-long marriage to Princess Charlene, who just reunited with her family in Monaco.
The couple's marriage has been far from perfect and has often made the headlines. Prince Albert met Charlene, a former Olympian, at the Mare Nostrum swimming meet in Monaco in 2000.
[Left] Princess Charlene and her husband, Prince Allbert II; [Middle] Princess Charlene in tears on her wedding day; [Right] A picture of the couple exchanging rings | Source: Getty Images
On January 25, 1978, Charlene was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, present-day Zimbabwe. She grew up with her father, Michael Wittstock, a sales manager, and her mother, Lynette, a swim coach.
The 44-year-old enjoyed a successful career before her life as a royal. Charlene was the winner of the South African Championship in 1996. She was 18 at the time.
Princess Charlene of Monaco attends the celebrations marking Monaco's National Day at the Monaco Palace in Monaco, 19 November 2019 | Source: Getty Images
Charlene later represented South Africa during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Her team finished fifth in the 4x100-meter medley relay, earning her more attention in the sporting world.
The African native and Prince Albert made their relationship public at Italy's 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Although she was eligible to represent her country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Charlene decided to retire. She opted to become a swim coach for underprivileged children.
PRINCE ALBERT'S ILLEGITIMATE CHILDREN
South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock on 21 June 2001. | Source: Getty Images
Prince Albert was linked to multiple women before being crowned as the Prince. The Monégasque monarch has two illegitimate children: daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi and son Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste.
Jazmin was born in 1992 after Prince Albert had a fling with her mother, Tamara Rotolo, in the early 90s. The Prince initially kept Jazmin a secret but has since acknowledged her publicly after a DNA test in May 2006 confirmed him as her father.
Jazmin Grimaldi attends the premiere of "Philomena" hosted by The Weinstein Company at the Paris Theater on November 12, 2013 | Source: Getty Images
Prince Albert fathered another child in 2003. His son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, was born to flight attendant Nicole Coste. Albert denied being Alexandre's father until a DNA test proved otherwise.
In 2005, before being crowned Prince of Monaco, Albert confirmed he was the biological father of Alexandre. Both Jazmin and Alexandre are said to be extremely close and are often pictured together.
A Brazilian woman living in Italy later accused the monarch of fathering another child in 2005. The billionaire royal was dating Charlene at the time. The Brazilian woman claimed she traveled the world with the 64-year-old in the 2000s; this discovery strained Albert's marriage to the former swimmer.
Nicole Coste and her son Alexandre Grimaldi Coste attend the unveiling of "Together," a Monumental Sculpture by Lorenzo Quinl at Hotel Mariott on July 06, 2021. | Source: Getty Images
Albert's older children are actively pursuing their passion. His eldest child, Jazmin, is a big admirer of her iconic grandmother, Kelly, and she followed in her steps to become an actress.
Alexandre is a fashion enthusiast. The young adult already models for several brands and features in their advertising campaigns. He combines his passion with schooling.
THE ROCKY RELATIONSHIP OF PRINCE ALBERT AND HIS RUNAWAY BRIDE
Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco after their civil ceremony at the Prince's Palace on July 1, 2011. | Source: Getty Images
Charlene's wedding to Prince Albert was one of the most significant events of 2011. The couple's royal wedding was broadly publicized and set to host some of the leading names in Europe. But, a few days before the wedding, the 44-year-old former athlete sought to run off.
According to reports, Charlene made three failed attempts to escape to her native country, South Africa. The former Olympic swimmer sought refuge in her country's embassy in Paris while she went for a dress fitting.
Her passport was then taken from her, and senior palace officials persuaded her to continue with the wedding. However, shortly after returning to Monaco, the Princess attempted to escape again during the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock dance during the 62nd Monaco Red Cross Ball at the Sporting Club Monte Carlo on July 30, 2010 | Source: Getty Images
Her third escape attempt was almost successful, but a quick intervention from Albert's security detail ensured she returned to Monaco. Unfortunately, her passport was confiscated for the second time.
Her desire to escape the planned wedding was triggered by rumors that the Prince had fathered another illegitimate child. But Prince Albert's team issued a statement branding such rumors as false.
Despite the tension surrounding their union, the couple tied the knot in a civil ceremony held in the throne room of the Prince's Palace in Monte Carlo.
Princess Charlene of Monaco and Prince Albert Of Monaco smile as they leave the palace after the religious ceremony of the Royal Wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco to Charlene Wittstock in the main courtyard at Prince's Palace on July 2, 2011 | Source: Getty Images
The event was graced by several high-profile celebrities, such as supermodel Naomi Campbell, former "James Bond" actor Roger Moore, and French president Nicholas Sarkozy.
Despite the glamor of the day, Charlene was seen shedding tears during the occasion and looked pitiable all through the lavish event.
Her appearance confirmed her reluctance to move on with the marriage. The former athlete was reluctant to kiss her new groom, and close sources confirmed the couple did not have the best wedding nights. They spent their honeymoon in different hotels.
Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Gabriella of Monaco, Prince Jacques of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attend The Baptism Of The Princely Children at The Monaco Cathedral on May 10, 2015. | Source: Getty Images
Surprisingly, the drama leading up to the week of their wedding didn't mean an early end to their marriage. The couple now share two beautiful children, twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
Becoming parents seems to have calmed the waters for the couple. Charlene said motherhood was a game-changer for her. She shares regular family snaps on her Instagram, showing fans that all is well.
Royal fans became concerned last year when Charlene made a trip to South Africa and refused to return to Monaco. Official reports from the royal family said the Princess was receiving treatment in South Africa.
Prince Albert II and Charlene Wittstock engaged - official portrait In Monte Carlo, monaco On June 23, 2010 | Source: Getty Images
Close sources revealed that the royal couple was going through another rough patch, which might have been triggered by fresh claims that Prince Albert had fathered another child while married to the Princess.
A year after leaving Monaco, Charlene returned to the country with her kids earlier this week. The royal family issued a statement noting that the Princess would resume her duties once she was fully fit to do so.
PRINCE ALBERT'S FATHERHOOD AND THE LINE OF SUCCESSION
Princess Charlene of Monaco with Prince Jacques of Monaco and Prince Albert II of Monaco with Princess Gabriella of Monaco greet the crowd from the palace's balcony during the Monaco National Day Celebrations on November 19, 2017 | Source: Getty Images
Prince Albert might be a controversial figure unable to stay off the headlines, but he is also a doting father. The father of four enjoys his duty to his little ones. He once opened up to People Magazine about his experience as a dad.
The Prince is very involved with the lives of his twins and is well aware of their traits. The 64-year-old monarch deliberately ensures his children enjoy their childhood despite their royal status. He told People:
"It's basically just explaining to them in the simplest terms what [royal duty] is all about. We're not going to do a whole drilling process of explaining to them step-by-step what's expected from them."
Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prince Jacques of Monaco, Princess Gabriella of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attend the Fete de la Saint Jean on June 23, 2020. | Source: Getty Images
Albert also added that he does not plan to thrust his children into the limelight just yet. Instead, the billionaire intends to allow them their privacy.
The birth of Charlene's twins raised questions over who will succeed Albert as his heir. But according to royal laws, neither of Albert's illegitimate children will ascend the throne.
The succession rights remain with Charlene's children, and since Monaco practices male-preference primogeniture, her son Jacques appears the next in line to ascend the throne.