July 1 - Monaco celebrates the wedding of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock. Lindsay Claiborn reports.
Prince Albert II of Monaco married Charlene Wittstock on Friday (July 1) in a civil ceremony in the Royal Palace, offering a moment's splendor in a principality in search of a second wind. The 33-year-old former swimming champion wore a blue chiffon dress to exchange vows with the 53-year-old prince, dressed in a black suit and silver tie. Following the nuptials the couple waved to crowds from the palace balcony and shared a kiss. Monaco, the sunny stomping ground of the rich, known as much for its Grand Prix car race as for its lack of income tax, is abuzz with the nuptials, which are taking place just two months after Britain's royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. The wedding is the first of a ruling prince in Monaco since Albert's father, Prince Rainier III, married Hollywood actress Grace Kelly in 1956. Albert met Wittstock in 2000 when he presided over a swimming contest in which she was competing. Rumors that all was not well with the couple threatened to spoil the mood, however. The palace vehemently denied a report by French weekly L'Express on Tuesday (June 28) that Wittstock tried to skip town on a one-way flight to South Africa. The religious union of Wittstock and Albert will be celebrated on Saturday (July 2). Lindsay Claiborn, Reuters.