News24

Prince Albert to wed SA love

2010-06-23 13:24

Monaco - Prince Albert of Monaco is engaged to South African former swimmer Charlene Wittstock, the royal palace said on Wednesday.

The palace issued a statement announcing the engagement of "His Serene Highness" and Wittstock, who was a school teacher before moving to the Mediterranean principality.

The palace did not indicate a planned wedding date, but the statement puts to rest months of speculation that the two long-time companions would tie the knot.

Albert acceded to the throne in July 2005 following the death of his straight-laced father, Prince Rainier III, who built the sleepy Mediterranean port into a tax haven for the rich and a glittering financial centre.

That same year, Albert acknowledged that he had fathered a boy, Alexandre, out of wedlock by a former flight attendant. The following year, he acknowledged an American daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, now a teenager, born to a California woman. Neither can assume the throne because they were born out of wedlock.

While his father's reign was defined by his marriage to American actress Grace Kelly, Albert was known for being a long-time bachelor - so much so that Parliament in 2002 changed the constitution to allow one of his sisters' sons to take the throne if he never produces an heir.