McAleese in front row at Monaco
Published 03/07/2011 | 05:00
SHE was supposed to be a reluctant bride -- but there was no sign of nerves or second thoughts yesterday as former Olympic swimming star Charlene Wittstock married Prince Albert in Monaco.
Though the couple officially tied the knot in a civil ceremony on Friday, yesterday's exchange of solemn vows in the principality's Roman Catholic cathedral attracted a worldwide TV audience.
President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin were given prominent positions in the front row of guests -- perhaps a reflection of the warm relations between Ireland and Monaco, cemented by Albert's visit here last April when he was accompanied by Ms Wittstock, who will now be known as Her Serene Highness.
The 53-year-old prince and his South African bride both smiled happily after they exchanged vows. For the religious ceremony the bride entered the cathedral in a white dress with veil, accompanied by her father, and with a 15-foot train behind her.
James Bond actor Roger Moore, France's richest man Bernard Arnault and fashion designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Roberto Cavalli and Giorgio Armani were also on the guest list.
After the ceremony, the guests had dinner prepared by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse while Jean Michel Jarre provided the music in an open-air setting.