– Princess ‘tried to flee three times’ (Sydney Morning Herald, July 4, 2011):
Princess Charlene of Monaco tried to flee home to South Africa three times before her marriage to Prince Albert II, according to reports in French newspapers.
The couple’s glittering religious wedding drew crowds of thousands to the Mediterranean principality on Saturday and the guest list included a host of heads of state, European royals and stars of the fashion and sports world.
But sources cited by Le Journal du Dimanche said the former Charlene Wittstock, 33, tried to take refuge in her country’s embassy in Paris when she went to the French capital in May to try on her wedding dress.
Instead palace officials confiscated her passport and persuaded her to take part in the weekend’s nuptials.
Later that month she also tried to escape during the Monaco formula one grand prix, they alleged.
Then, last week, she allegedly had her passport confiscated en route to Nice airport via the helicopter service that runs regularly between Monaco and France.
The reports followed confirmation by palace sources while the wedding was in full swing that Prince Albert, 53, was due to have DNA tests because of claims by at least one woman that he had fathered another illegitimate child.
He already has a 19-year-old daughter and six-year-old son.
Le Journal du Dimanche quoted Monaco “policy advisers” among those discussing “two illegitimate children – one already born, the other to come”.
A French news agency said anonymous officials spoke of “the truth” of a reported falling out between the couple earlier in the week and of a probable demand that Prince Albert take a paternity test.
Despite all the talk of palace intrigue, residents of the low-tax haven are standing by the royal couple, who hosted a private marriage brunch yesterday and are due to fly to South Africa on honeymoon on Tuesday.
“When the most famous of bachelors gets married, naturally there are jealousies,” real-estate tycoon Michel Pastor said.