Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock in the Main Courtyard of Monaco's Palais Princier.
Guess the name of this famous royal fiancee. She’s a statuesque blonde swimmer with a shy smile, who counts on her much older prince to guide her in royal life. He looks at her with expressions that mingle affection, paternalism, and rebuke. She says she loves children. She’s excited about her introduction to high fashion.
She hears rumors of her prince’s attachments to other women and considers calling off the wedding. She goes through with it and is married in a dramatic ceremony that captures the world’s imagination. She gazes fondly at her new husband during the wedding and reception.
Who is this? Not Princess Diana in 1981 but Princess Charlene in 2011. Will Charlene be another princess in a fractured fairytale?
The well-known allegations that Charlene tried to escape Monaco before the wedding were augmented on July 3 by stories that she made three attempts to leave, at one point fleeing to the South African embassy in Paris during a wedding gown fitting trip.
On July 2, after the religious marriage ceremony for Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, the Palace capped the wedding day by announcing that the Prince would take a paternity test.
Confusingly, this followed a royal wedding that was a feat of romantic style and religious substance.
Charlene Wittstock was a worthy successor to Princess Grace as an iconic bride. Her sleeveless, fitted Armani satin gown was heavily embroidered with a simple bateau neckline. She wore no tiara, but her lightly dressed hair was enveloped in 20 meters of silk tulle. The double train on her wedding dress filled the red carpet as she and her father walked across two palace courtyards in the sunshine, to meet Prince Albert at the altar for their outdoor five o’clock wedding.
The Roman Catholic service, celebrated by a flock of priests, stressed love and religious dedication, with the couple renewing their baptismal vows, and the homily touching on the importance of fidelity and forgiveness.
The music underlined personal themes instead of monarchy and country. There was a fanfare of trumpets but it was to announce the transubstantiation that preceded Roman Catholic communion. Music such as a South African Miriam Makeba song, and "Ave Maria" sung by Andrea Bocelli, in addition to the emotive recessional from Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 (the tune used in "If I Had Words" from the movie Babe) combined to create a romantic atmosphere.
The Prince and Princess of Monaco are reserved people but their feelings did break through with moments of clear tenderness between them, and they were evidently happy at the white tie reception that evening.
Will this marriage follow the sad path of Diana and Charles, or is this a modern relationship based on long-term love? The romance the world saw at their wedding will be needed in the trials of life that face Prince Albert and Princess Charlene.
View gallery: Monaco's Royal Wedding