30 July 2011

A Sporting Scottish Wedding

Today, Miss Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips married her longtime love, rugby star Mike Tindall. So, why does a sports stars wife, who is herself an equestrian Olympic hopeful, rate attention from the Princess Palace? Well, there may be no titles involved, but Zara is a royal standout as the only daughter of HRH The Princess Royal. Her life has been closely monitored from the beginning, when she was given her unusual name by her uncle The Prince of Wales to her rebellious tongue-stud clubbing days to her highly successful athletic career.

For the wedding, Zara paired a full-figured gown featuring clean lines with the "meander tiara" that once belonged to her great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece. An elegant look for a young woman whose fashion choices are usually more brassy. But, well done.

Despite the traditional look and feel of the wedding, Zara is breaking with tradition by keeping her own name as many career women do today. She is a well-established athlete with several corporate sponsors and her own line of sportswear.



The bridesmaids look adorable. They are the daughters of friends of the bridal couple.

The bride's cousin, Princess Beatrice, despite hiring a stylist since her last wedding ensemble caused an international furore, still goes a bit "over the top," but she looks very pretty.

Meanwhile, Bea's sister, Princess Eugenie, looks more sedate in chocolate and cream with their dad, Prince Andrew, who recently returned from a canoeing holiday in Canada.


The bride's uncle Prince Edward and his wife Sophie. At forty-something Sophie is reportedly trying to keep up with the fashions and figures of the younger royal lady. True or not, she seems to be doing an excellent job of maintaining her looks and style.

Royal newlywed Catherine revisited some looks we have seen before, perhaps trying in vain not to steal the bride's spotlight. Incidentally, since the wedding is in Scotland, she should be officially referred to by her Scottish title, The Countess of Strathearn, rather than The Duchess of Cambridge.

Speaking of Scottish titles, The Duchess of Rothesay (rather than Cornwall) seems to be reliving her look from her own royal wedding at the registry office with this coat dress and flowered headpiece. It may be just a bit too large.

Queen Elizabeth II looks radiant in apricot for her eldest granddaughter's nuptials.

Meanwhile, the mother of the bride, The Princess Royal, has raised some eyebrows with her bright red print. But, Anne is not known for her fashion and I say cheers to her for choosing something festive.

03 July 2011

Princesses of Monaco

When South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock married the reigning Prince of Monaco (See wedding pics), she joined a long line of, let's say, interesting brides for the House of Grimaldi. While other princely houses have insisted on highborn wives for their sons and heirs--even "disinheriting" dynasts for whom the throne or title has been abolished for decades--Monaco has felt no such compulsion. Therefore, it has selected more than its fair share of actresses and ladies with scandalous behavior. They also seem to favor English-speaking ladies. One positive impact of their matrimonial choices: the Grimaldi family is one of the most attractive reigning families in the world!

Here's a look at Princess Charlene's predecessors with the dates they held the title:

Grace Kelly (1956-1982)
Princess Grace has long been idolized as THE ideal princess. A stunning beauty with regal grace, she brought renewed elegance to the tiny principality which was little known outside of the European high rollers. Born Grace Patricia Kelly in Philadelphia, she came from a well-to-do though not wealthy Irish American family. As a young woman, she made her way to New York to become a model and actress. Before long, she was a Hollywood starlet with a string of hit films. She even won an Oscar for her role in "The Country Girl." She gave up her movie star life to marry Prince Rainier III and settled into life as a glamorous princess. She fulfilled her most important role as princess by having her first child nine months after the wedding. As Princess of Monaco, she championed the arts and health issues. In 1982, at the age of 52, she suffered a stroke while driving on the narrow, winding roads near Monaco. Both she and her youngest daughter, Princess Stephanie, the only passenger, suffered serious injuries. Grace died the next day. Actor Jimmy Stewart delivered her eulogy.

Ghislaine Dommanget (1946-1949)
Rainier's grandfather also married an actress, although she was not as notable as Grace. Born in France, Ghislaine was 45 when she married the septuagenarian playboy Prince Louis II of Monaco. She had previously been married to another actor, but that ended in divorce. Louis had never married before and had already settled the inheritance of the principality on his illegitimate daughter's son, Rainier, so Ghislaine did not have to worry about having a child--good thing, too, considering her age! She provided companionship and comfort for her elderly husband, who spent little time in Monaco. Following his death, she received a pension from Monaco, but that was eventually cut off due to conflict between her and Rainier. She returned to Monaco for Grace's funeral but spent most of her long life in France, where she died at age 90 in 1991.
(Thanks to Mad For Monaco for some source info and the photo.)

Alice Heine (1889-1922)
In addition to marrying actresses, the Princes of Monaco also seem to have a penchant for selecting American brides. Princess Alice was born in New Orleans. Both of her parents were from prominent, although not noble, French families. When she was a child, the family returned to France to escape the American Civil War. As a teenager, she married the Duke of Richelieu and their only child later became the last Duke of Richelieu. Alice was widowed at the age of 22. Ten years later, she became the second wife of Prince Albert I of Monaco. Like other Princesses of Monaco, she focused much of her time on developing the principality as a center of high culture. After 13 years, Alice and Albert legally separated but never divorced, so she remained titular Princess of Monaco until his death in 1922. They had no children together. She died a few years after the prince at the age of 67.

Mary Victoria Douglas-Hamilton (Hereditary Princess; divorced before husband's accession)
Mary Victoria was the last nobly born Monagesque consort. Her parents were a Scottish peer, the 11th Duke of Hamilton, and a German princess from Baden. She married the future Prince Albert I when she was just 18 and their marriage was annulled when she was 29. A few months later, she married Count (later Prince) Tassilo Festetics von Tolna and moved with him to Hungary. Her marriage to Prince Albert produced one son, the future Prince Louis II, and she had two children with Festetics, through whom are descended fashion designer Egon von Furstenberg and actress Ira von Furstenberga. Mary Victoria died one month before her first husband at the age of 71 and is buried at Festetics Place in Hungary.

Antoinette de Mérode (1856-1864)
When Prince Charles III married his Brussels-born wife, she brought more than a noble heritage as a count's daughter, she also brought money: lots and lots of money. At that time, Monaco was an isolated community on the Mediterranean. No one went there on purpose. With Antoinette's substantial dowry, Charles built Monte Carlo and its famous casino, later handing over its care to Francois Blanc, who helped turn the tiny principality into a sought-after destination and a highly profitable business. There was a saying about roulette in Monte Carlo: "Whether it lands on red or black, white [Blanc] wins." The true winner ultimately was Monaco. Antoinette and Charles had only one child, the future Albert I. She predeceased her husband, who never remarried, by 25 years. She was only 35.

Marie Caroline Gibert de Lametz (1841-1856)
Yet another actress who became Princess of Monaco, Marie Caroline was born in France. She also married an actor--however, her actor was also her prince. Prince Florestan had been an actor and was ill prepared to handle the affairs of his tiny principality, which was actually much larger than it is today as it also included the towns of Menton and Roquebrune. So, Marie Caroline became the real ruler of Monaco, which was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia. She and Florestan tried to balance calls for more democracy with a difficult economy but were unsuccessful and lost Menton and Roquebrune. They had two children, Charles III and Princess Florestine. Prince Florestan died in 1856; Marie Caroline lived until 1879, dying at age 86. Under their son, Monaco again became a protectorate of France. (Thanks to Mad For Monaco for some source info and the photo.)

Louise d'Aumont (Hereditary Princess; divorced before her husband's accession)
Descended from King Charles II of England's French mistress Hortense Mancini, Louise was part of the powerful Mazarin (as in Cardinal Mazarin) family on her mother's side and the Dukes of Aumont on her father's. Married to Prince Honore IV of Monaco, she gave him two children. During the French Revolution, Louise and Honore were imprisoned. They divorced in 1798, four years after Louise had an illegitimate child. Louise married and divorced again before dying at age 67 in 1826. Both of her sons became reigning princes of Monaco: the unmarried (but not childless!) Prince Honore V and Prince Florestan.

Maria Caterina Brignole (1757-1770)
The daughter of a Genovese nobleman, Maria Caterina was renowned as a great beauty. The young girl fell in love with the Prince de Conde, but her mother insisted she marry the much older Prince Honore III of Monaco, who had been mum's lover. (Ick!) Her father opposed the marriage but was "persuaded" by King Louis XV. After the marriage, Maria Caterina gave Honore two sons, but she continued to spend most of her time with the Prince de Conde, particularly after his own wife's early death. Honore was insanely jealous, but with reason: Maria Caterina was moving into one of de Conde's estates! Despite Honore's best efforts, she escaped from Monaco to Paris, where the teenaged Queen Marie Antoinette did not appreciate her unsavory behavior. Maria Caterina and her lover fled France during the French Revolution and finally married each other after Honore died in 1795. She died in England in 1813 at age 75.

Marie of Lorraine (1701-1724)
A member of the House of Guise, Marie was ranked as a Foreign Princess at the French Court, where she grew up. She was only 13 when she was married to the future Prince Antonio I of Monaco, earning him the rank of Foreign Prince in Louis XIV's court. He was twice her age. Like all of the Princesses of Monaco, she was a renowned beauty, which her father-in-law Prince Louis apparently could not resist: Marie claimed that he tried to seduce her. One of the most prolific of the Princesses of Monaco, Marie had six daughters although only three survived. Still daughters, no matter how numerous, were thought insufficient and the marriage broke down. Marie and Antonio remained married but lived separately, while he fathered several other children. Marie predeceased her husband in 1724 at age 50. Her oldest surviving daughter, Louise Hippolyte, eventually succeeded the Monagesque throne as the only Reigning Princess of Monaco. She was in turn succeeded by her son Honore III.

Catherine Charlotte de Gramont (1662-1678)
Catherine Charlotte was already in her twenties when she married the future Prince Louis I of Monaco. Her father was a French Marshal and her mother was Cardinal Richelieu's niece. She gave Louis six children, including two sons. Like most French nobles of the day, the Prince and Princesses of Monaco spent most of their time at the French court, where she was a lady-in-waiting to Louis XIV's sister-in-law, Henrietta of England. Intelligent and beautiful, Catherine Charlotte earned a reputation for pleasure at the licentious court, even having a brief affair with the king himself. Her risque behavior eventually caused her husband to banish her from his principality, but she probably did not care. She died in Paris before her 40th birthday. Her husband outlived her by more than 30 years.

Maria Aurelia Spinola (Hereditary Princess, her husband died before his father)
Maria Aurelia was from a noble family in Genoa. She married the Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Ercole Marquis de Baux in 1641. In the 10 years before his death, they had seven children. Maria Aurelia outlived her husband by almost 30 years.

Ippolita Trivulzio (1616-1638)
The daughter of an Italian count, Ippolita was also descended from the noble house of Gonzaga on her mother's side. She was the first person to bear the title Princess of Monaco--her predecessors had been Ladies of Monaco. Her husband Honore II earned the title Prince of Monaco when he broke away from an alliance with Spain and made Monaco a protectorate of France. As part of the bargain, he became an independent Prince with control over his own territory. The two had met and married when he was briefly exiled to Milan by the Spanish who had overrun Monaco, but with French support, he regained his country. Ippolita had one son, Ercole (or Hercules), before dying at the age of 38. Honore survived her by 24 years. Unfortunately their son died at age 27 and Honore was succeeded by Ercole's son Louis I.

02 July 2011

Princesses at the Wedding Ball

Prince Emanuele Filiberto and Princess Clotilde of Savoy
Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia (L) and his wife actress Clotilde Coureau arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Princess Claire and Prince Laurent of Belgium
Prince Laurent (R) and Princess Claire of Belgium arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Princess Madeleine and her (apparently miniature!) brother Prince Carl Philipp of Sweden
Prince Carl-Philip of Sweden and Princess Madeleine of Sweden arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (L) and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway (R) arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Queen Silvia and King Carl Gustav of Sweden
King Carl XVI Gustaf (R) and Queen Silvia of Sweden arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Princess Mary of Denmark and Prince Philippe of Belgium
Princess Mary of Denmark and Prince Philippe of Belgium arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Princess Mathilde of Belgium
Princess Mathilde of Belgium arrives at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Pierre and Charlotte Casiraghi
Pierre (L) and Charlotte Casiraghi arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball for the wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

The Bride and Groom: Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco
Newlyweds Monaco's Prince Albert II (R) and Princess Charlene arrive at the Opera Garnier to attend the official dinner and ball in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Monaco's Royal Wedding Guests

Crowds gathered outside of the Palace in Monaco for the wedding of their sovereign Prince Albert II to Rhodesian-born South African beauty Charlene Wittstock. The couple married in a civil ceremony yesterday. (See post.) This was the first princely marriage in Monaco for nearly six decades. The last was when Albert's father Rainier III married American screen star Grace Kelly in 1956.

Royal guests came to the wedding from around the world. They included King Albert and Italian-born Queen Paola of The Belgians.
Belgium's King Albert II (R) and Queen Paola arrive at the Place du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Joel Ryan/Pool (MONACO - TAGS: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)


Thailand's Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana also made the trip to sunny Monaco, although she looks cool as a cucumber.


Crown Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde are regal in shades of purple.
Belgium's Crown Prince Philippe (R) and Princess Mathilde arrive to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Each of Albert's nieces offered a reading during the ceremony. Here Princess Stephanie's daughter Pauline Ducruet reads as Princess Caroline's daughter Charlotte Casiraghi listens.
Princes Stephanie of Monaco's daughter Pauline (R) reads at the altar as Princess Caroline of Hanover's daughter Charlotte Casiraghi looks on during the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Bruno Bebert/Pool (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Charlene chose her husband's cousin-in-law Donatella Knecht de Massy as her maid of honor. Some remarked that Donatella's dress had some similarities to recent royal maid of honor Pippa Middleton (without the draped collar, of course!)
Monaco's Princess Charlene's maid of honour Donatella Knecht de Massy arrives at the Place du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Emma Foster/Pool (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

The British royal family sent their usual royal wedding delegates: the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Not a bad job if you can't get it. I'm sure a long weekend in Monte Carlo is quite enjoyable!

The Prince of Orange and his Argentinian wife Princess Maxima. She wore orange again today. I think she loves bright colors, and it goes with her husband's title and it matches her orange diamond engagement ring. And, she looks smashing in it!

Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette Marit of Norway look highly presentable although I don't understand her head wear. FYI Mette Marit is one of the few prince's wives who was actually born in the same country as her husband.
Norway's Princess Mette Marit (L) and Crown Prince Haakon leave Hotel de Paris to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark offers a contrast to Maxima. She pairs her bright colors with strong neutrals. No matchy-matchy for this Australian-born beauty. Meanwhile Prince Frederik decided against military uniform but is colorfully attired nonetheless.

Of all of the royally born princesses, Princess Madeleine of Sweden is undoubtedly the most beautiful in my opinion. I wonder if attending all of these weddings makes her sad--two years ago she called off her own engagement when she discovered her fiancee was cheating.
Princess Madeleine of Sweden arrives at the Place du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Prince Albert's sisters Princess Caroline (far right) and Princess Stephanie with Stepanie's children, Louis Ducruet (who resembles his father), Pauline Ducruet (who resembles Princess Grace) and Camille Kelly (who is pretty in pink).
Princess Stephanie of Monaco (2nd L) and her children Louis (L), Camille (3rd L) and Pauline arrive with Princess Caroline of Hanover (R) to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Princess Caroline and her youngest daughter Princess Alexandra of Hanover, whose father has not been spotted in the principality for months. Alexandra will be 12 in a few weeks.


Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel recently celebrated their first wedding anniversary. I can't help thinking that Princess Charlene's dress today bore some striking similarities to Victoria's.
Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria (R) and her husband Prince Daniel arrive to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Italian Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy and his French wife Clotilde in a vivid red. Are you supposed to red at a wedding?
Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy (R) and his wife French actress Clotilde Coureau arrive at the Place du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Bruno Bebert/Pool (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Louis Duke of Anjou should be the King of France according to some staunch royalists. He is one of several pretenders to the very, very defunct throne.
Louis de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou (L) , arrives at the Place du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Emma Foster/Pool (MONACO - TAGS: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Grand Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg could offer Princess Charlene some marital advice. Born in Cuba, she has been married to Grand Duke Henri for 30 years. They have five children and two grandsons. Maxima and Willem Alexander of The Netherlands are behind them.
Grand Duke Henri (front R) and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg (front L) and Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander (rear R) and Princess Maxima (rear L) attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Bruno Bebert/Pool (MONACO - TAGS: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Empress Farah Pahlavi, widow of the Shah of Iran, and Prince Karim Aga Khan also attended. It wouldn't be a royal wedding without Farah there.
Prince Karim Aga Khan (R) and Empress Farah Pahlavi arrive at the Palace du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Princess Caroline's daughter Charlotte Casiraghi arrived wearing a gorgeous pink dress unfortunately accompanied by a strange black headband/face net and giant black bow. Otherwise she and her boyfriend look fantastic.
Monaco's Princess Charlotte Casiraghi (R) and her boyfriend Alex Dellal (L) arrive at the Place du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

The bride and her father followed by six Monagesque children dressed in traditional costume.
Michael Kenneth Wittstock (L) escorts his daughter Princess Charlene on the red carpet at the Place du Palais for the religious wedding ceremony with Prince Albert II at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

A general view shows the religious wedding of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princes Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Michael Kenneth Wittstock (R) escorts his daughter Princess Charlene (L) on the red carpet at the Place du Palais for the religious wedding ceremony with Prince Albert II at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

For details about the dress, visit http://exm.nr/kuL2Pf
Michael Kenneth Wittstock (R) escorts his daughter Princess Charlene (L) on the red carpet at the Place du Palais for the religious wedding ceremony with Prince Albert II at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Monaco's Prince Albert II speaks with Princess Charlene during their religious wedding ceremony at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Monaco's Prince Albert II takes the hand of Princess Charlene during their religious wedding ceremony at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Monaco's Prince Albert II (R) and Princess Charlene leave the Palace after the religious ceremony in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Monaco's Royal Wedding Guests

I WILL BE UPDATING AS PHOTOS BECOME AVAILABLE

Princess Madeleine (L) of Sweden takes her seat with her brother Prince Carl Philip for the religious wedding ceremony of Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY) ) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

A better look at Charlotte


Prince and Princess Michael of Kent


Princess Alexandra and Princess Caroline

Monaco's Princess Charlotte Casiraghi (R) and her boyfriend Alex Dellal (L) arrive at the Place du Palais to attend the religious wedding ceremony for Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene at the Palace in Monaco July 2, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (MONACO - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)
Princess Caroline's daughter Charlotte Casiraghi arrived wearing a gorgeous pink dress unfortunately accompanied by a strange black headband/face net and giant black bow. Otherwise she and her boyfriend look fantastic.

01 July 2011

Congratulations Princess Charlene

Newlyweds Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene kiss on the Palace balcony after the civil wedding service in Monaco July 1, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

At age 53, Prince Albert II of Monaco has finally married today in a civil ceremony. His bride, Charlene Wittstock, is a stunning blonde Olympic swimmer from South Africa. She is 20 years younger than he is. Charlene has lived in Monaco for several years and many thought she was just another one of Albert's long string of gorgeous girlfriends until last summer when they announced their engagement. For her prince, Charlene converted to Catholicism and has been trying to learn French. She also has grown increasingly elegant to suit her opulent little principality--and good thing too since her immediate predecessor as Princess of Monaco is Albert's late mother, Princess Grace, who died in a tragic car accident when Charlene was still a toddler.

Today's civil ceremony will be followed by an elaborate religious ceremony on July 2.

But Charlene is now officially Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco. (Read more about Charlene)

Newlyweds Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene pose on the Palace balcony after the civil wedding service in Monaco July 1, 2011. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS) (MONACO ROYAL WEDDING)

Charlene Wittstock arrives to attend the Bal de la Rose in Monte Carlo, March 27, 2010. The Bal de la Rose is a traditional annual charity event in aid of Foundation Grace. REUTERS/Sebastien Nogier (MONACO - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

These flowerbeds at the Sainte Devote Church display the flags of Monaco and South Africa, in tribute to the new princess.

A man walks past Monaco's and South Africa's national flags fashioned from two flowerbeds outside the Sainte Devote church in Monaco June 30, 2011. Charlene Wittstock, the fiancee of Prince Albert II of Monaco, will place her bouquet of flowers at the Sainte Devote church after the religious wedding ceremony on July 2. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MONACO - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS IMAGES OF THE DAY) MONACO ROYAL WEDDING