SA reacts to Monaco marriage
Johannesburg - News of Prince Albert III of Monaco's engagement to swimming champ Charlene Wittstock was splashed across local front pages on Thursday, with news media anticipating a "fairytale wedding".
"A South African beauty has bagged a prince, one of Europe's most eligible bachelors," said The Times.
"Fairytale wedding for playboy prince, Benoni (South Africa) swimmer," said The Star, one of several dailies to run a large photo of the couple on its front page.
The Star quoted Wittstock's father recalling how Prince Albert phoned him to ask for his blessing just before national football team Bafana Bafana's decisive World Cup match against France on Tuesday.
Michael Wittstock joked that he tried to hurry the prince along so he could watch the game.
"He called me just before kick-off and I wanted to get the whole thing over and done with," he said.
He added that he is on a "friendly basis" with his future son-in-law and called the prince a "nice chap".
Lynette Wittstock told The Citizen she and her family were "thrilled".
"I am ecstatic; my daughter is finally getting hitched. My family is happy, we like him very much," she said.
The engagement was announced on Wednesday in a brief statement from the palace that did not set a wedding date or give details of the event.
Prince Albert, 52, the only son of deceased Prince Rainier III and the late Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, has ruled the Mediterranean statelet of Monaco since 2005.
Wittstock, 32, a school teacher and former Commonwealth 100 metres backstroke champion, had appeared on his arm at several society events in Monaco, raising speculation that she and the famed bachelor would wed.