Wedding: South African flag flies high in Monaco

2011-07-01 00:00

MORE than just the bride will have a South African flair at the royal wedding in Monaco this weekend.

Despite the traditional aspects that must be observed during the festivities, there are enough local elements to keep Charlene Wittstock and the other South Africans in Monaco happy.

Former Olympic swimmer Wittstock will marry Prince Albert II of Monaco in a two-day ceremony beginning today.

First is the civil wedding and tomorrow the couple will celebrate the religious ceremony.

Last night the wedding weekend kicked off with a free concert for about 15 000 people.

Local musician Jason Hartman opened for the main act, American super-group The Eagles. Pietermaritzburg resident Wayne Riddin, Wittstock’s former swimming coach, e-mailed The Witness from Monaco.

He described the atmosphere as “festive” with South African flags all over Monaco.

He had met up with Wittstock and her parents, Mike and Lynette, and said they were all doing well.

Two chefs from Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, executive chef Dean Uren and sous-chef Peter Mtshali, will be preparing South African dishes at this evening’s cocktail party. They joined their colleagues at the Fairmont Monte Carlo.

The Monaco palace has strict disclosure policies and the Fairmont Zimbali could not say what dishes will be prepared, said Fairmont’s communication manager Joanne du Plooy.

Uren has worked in fine dining with celebrity chefs Richard Corrigan and Gordon Ramsay.

In South Africa he worked for the Sun International Group before moving to Fairmont as executive chef in 2009.

He worked at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, Cape Town’s Mandela Rhodes Place and the Sun Coast Hotel and Towers in Durban before joining Fairmont.

Some more local flavour will be the South African wines accompanying celebrity chef Alain Ducasse’s formal dinner menu served tomorrow after the wedding.

Ducasse will also prepare a traditional French wedding patisserie that will resemble a Protea, according to a press release by the Monaco palace.

Another celebration of South Africa will be Johnny Clegg’s Africa played at the opening of the ball tomorrow evening.

From tomorrow, Wittstock will be known as Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene or simply Charlene of Monaco, but until then she’l be celebrating her roots.

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