Wittstock 'shopping' with her mother, not fleeing marriage
Published 01/07/2011 | 05:00
THE Prince of Monaco's bride-to-be did not attempt to flee her marriage but went to Paris to shop for hats and shoes with her mother, her father claimed yesterday.
Charlene Wittstock was reported by France's 'L'Express' newspaper as wanting to leave Monaco after hearing a rumour that Prince Albert had fathered a third illegitimate child.
Mike Wittstock said he was "surprised" by the intense speculation surrounding his daughter's impending nuptials, and insisted she remained "very happy" with her decision to marry Prince Albert.
His comments came as a police source claimed that Ms Wittstock (33) had her passport seized at Nice airport to stop her using a one-way ticket to South Africa she allegedly bought just days before today's civil ceremony ahead of a religious ceremony tomorrow.
The unnamed French "senior" police source said the action was taken so that the prince's entourage could persuade her to stay.
Ms Wittstock, a former Olympic swimmer, was reported as wanting to leave Monaco after hearing a rumour that her husband-to-be, who at 53 is 20 years her senior, had fathered a third illegitimate child.
Prince Albert already has two illegitimate children: six-year-old Alexandre, the son of Nicole Coste, a former Air France air hostess from Togo; and Jazmin (19) whose mother is Tamara Rotola, an American estate agent. Thierry Lacoste, the prince's lawyer, issued an extraordinary statement yesterday saying there was no new child, "black or white".
"'L'Express' reported I don't know what, and it became a media frenzy," he said. "I heard everything about the child -- white, black, who has been born, not yet born. . . it has to stop."
Mr Wittstock, from Benoni near Johannesburg in South Africa, said that when he last saw the couple on Tuesday night, they looked "very happy".
He said his soon-to-be son-in-law was "a very easy-going, humble guy".
The guest list includes the earl and countess of Wessex, President Nicolas Sarkozy, Naomi Campbell, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Richard Branson and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. (© Daily Telegraph, London)