Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock at an event in Monaco last week, before the rumors started.(Tony Barson/ Getty …Just days before the next big royal wedding, a rumor surfaced that the bride to be had called it off. L'Express magazine's website posted a story about Charlene Wittstock, who's set to wed Prince Albert of Monaco this weekend, fleeing to the airport with a one way ticket home to South Africa.
"Charlene Wittstock had learned a few hours earlier that the private life of the man she was about to marry, who publicly acknowledged in 2005 a child from an adulterous relationship, was not as exemplary as she had imagined," reported the French magazine's website.
The palace has firmly denied the rumor and the Prince's lawyer even initially threatened legal action. "These rumors, spread a few days before the wedding ceremonies of His Serene Highness Prince Albert and Miss Charlene Wittstock, have only one purpose - to seriously damage the Sovereign's image and by consequence that of Miss Wittstock and to cause serious prejudice to a happy event," said a Palace official.
The couple swiftly posed for photographers arm in arm to quiet the media hailstorm. The message was clear: the royal wedding will go on as planned.
But the speculation about the report hasn't gone away. The couple's media advisor, Stephane Bern, made a strange denial to Le Parisien stating: "A woman could easily pretend that she's pregnant by a prince. You can't do a DNA test to check three days before a wedding!" Now the Prince's lawyer has stopped pursuing legal action against L'Express and several media outlets have raised eyebrows.
Today Vogue's UK website, a branch of the publication which recently profiled the bride-to-be, picked up on the rumors in a piece titled "Royal Runaway Bride?"
The wedding, estimated to cost $65 million and poised to turn Monaco into a temporary tourist attraction, will begin Friday with a small civil ceremony inside the palace. On Saturday, the big religious ceremony will take place outside in the palace courtyard, followed by a multi-course meal for VIP guests prepared by famed chef Alain Ducasse.
The guest list for the event, released to press today, boasts the biggest names in fashion, including Giorgio Armani (who designed Wittstock's gown), Karl Lagerfeld and Naomi Campbell. Also expected for the main event are Hollywood stars (Gerard Butler, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher), Olympic athletes (gymnast Nadia Comenici) and world leaders (President Sarkozy, King Gustaf of Sweden and Desmond Tutu). The shake-up hasn't affected their travel itinerary or the country's weekend plans for a celebration.
But what about the bride? "I just spoke to her assistant and whatever the story is, it's not true. I called her and asked if everything is okay, and they said everything is fine," Ryk Neethling, a friend of Charlene's told the AFP.
Remember only a few months ago, when the biggest royal wedding controversy was which designer gown Kate Middleton would wear to walk down the aisle? We miss the fairy tale.