The legend of the curse of the Grimaldis was first relayed to me below the celebrities in a hilltop Mediterranean restaurant by an inebriated Monegasque. The story begins with the primary Prince Rainier of Monaco, who was struck by the unattainable great thing about a younger Flemish noblewoman.
Unhappily for him, she was a strong witch who determined that she wasn’t going to be dishonored by a prince from the little-known principality of Monaco, which was then a rocky, one-ship harbor of no significance. The princeling, nonetheless, wouldn’t take no for a solution. He took the unwilling object of his affection for what he hoped could be a romantic stroll alongside the picturesque cliffs of Monaco. When his makes an attempt to woo her failed, he tried to power himself on her.
The girl fought off her attacker, however resolved to die moderately than face repeated assaults on her chastity. Earlier than throwing herself off the cliffs to her dying, she uttered an notorious curse, telling Rainier: “By no means will a Grimaldi discover happiness in marriage.”
Quick ahead a number of hundred years, and it’s simple to see why some individuals consider the curse could be very a lot nonetheless in place—regardless of the denials of the Home of Grimaldi, which guidelines over Monaco to today.
Lots of the household’s marriages have certainly resulted in divorce or tragedy. Prince Albert’s youthful sister Stephanie has been married and divorced twice, with each marriages lasting little over a 12 months. Albert’s older sister Caroline’s second husband, Stefano, died aged 30 in a speedboat crash. His mom Princess Grace (previously generally known as Hollywood icon Grace Kelly) died in a automobile accident in 1982. It was a massively traumatic second for the principality.
This Christmas the household are staring down the barrel of yet one more marital catastrophe, as the connection of Prince Albert, 63, and Charlene Wittstock, 43, the glamorous South African Olympic swimmer whom he married in 2011, seems to be within the remaining phases of a humiliating public unraveling.
After spending most of the year apart, an emaciated-looking Charlene returned to Monaco from her native South Africa a number of weeks in the past (the official line was that she stayed there for six months as a result of she couldn’t fly on medical recommendation attributable to ear surgical procedure). She has now checked into an undisclosed facility to get well from what her husband phrases exhaustion. Rumors abound in society circles that she has flown to a clinic in Switzerland, however The Each day Beast was not capable of verify this.
Her youngsters, 6-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, accompanied their father to the palace balcony for Monaco’s nationwide day celebrations final week and held up signs saying, “We Miss You Mommy.”
Albert gave the fullest account of her well being points thus far when he informed People magazine: “I sat her down together with her brothers and a sister-in-law. She had already made her choice, and we solely wished her to verify it in entrance of us. She wished this. She already knew the very best factor to do was to go and have a relaxation and have an actual medically framed therapy… Clearly there have been penalties of her totally different surgical procedures and the procedures she underwent in the previous few months. That actually was an element, however at this level I desire to not remark additional. I can say she was struggling unbelievable fatigue. She hadn’t slept nicely in quite a few days and she or he wasn’t consuming in any respect nicely. She has misplaced a number of weight, which made her susceptible to different potential illnesses. A chilly or the flu or God assist us, COVID.”
The Each day Beast has been informed by acquaintances of the household that Her Serene Highness Charlene has been deeply sad for a few years. One supply, who visited Albert and Charlene for lunch on the Palais Princier in Monaco a number of years in the past, stated that Charlene quietly sobbed her manner by the whole meal. “Albert didn’t acknowledge his spouse was crying in any respect,” the individual, who described the meal as “extraordinarily uncomfortable” stated. “I couldn’t perceive why she didn’t simply stand up and go away. I may solely assume she wished her unhappiness to be seen.”
Certainly, experiences of Charlene’s unhappiness have circulated extensively ever since her wedding ceremony to Albert in 2011, when her tearful look on the day and an ungainly balcony kiss offered a visible demonstration of the maxim that cash—the three day wedding ceremony price $70m—actually can’t purchase you happiness.
Charlene’s obvious emotional disturbance lent credence to allegations in French newspapers that she had tried multiple times to flee Monaco within the run-up to the marriage as rumors and paternity claims swirled across the groom.
The Journal du Dimanche reported that she first sought refuge in Could 2011 on the South African embassy in Paris, the place she was scheduled to have a marriage gown becoming. Her passport was reportedly taken from her and she or he was persuaded to return to Monaco.
Experiences within the Journal du Dimanche claimed that she made one other break later that month throughout the System One Grand Prix, and once more, only one week earlier than the marriage, she was reportedly intercepted en path to Good airport for a flight again to South Africa. The palace denied the allegations, describing them as, “fully loopy” however the narrative caught. The couple have been notably unlucky that their uncomfortable nuptials came about simply ten weeks after the marriage of William and Kate, a transparent love match, and thus intense scrutiny was educated on the affair which featured visitors comparable to Naomi Campbell, Nicolas Sarkozy and Roger Moore.
Charlene herself informed U.Okay. paper The Occasions: “All the things was simply so overwhelming and there have been all of the combined feelings due to the rumors, and clearly the stress constructed up and I burst into tears [immediately after the ceremony]. After which I burst into tears some extra as a result of I used to be considering ‘Oh no, now the entire world has seen me cry.’”
The years that adopted have been blighted by ongoing rumors of affairs on the a part of His Serene Highness, a recognized playboy when he was youthful, who had already admitted to having fathered two illegitimate youngsters earlier than their marriage. Though the French gossip magazines that pore intimately over the lives and loves of the Grimaldis will not be bought within the principality’s information kiosks, few Monegasques are unaware that Albert is as soon as once more facing a paternity suit, this time over claims he fathered yet one more illegitimate youngster in 2005, when he was relationship Charlene. He has denounced the claims as a blackmail try.
One other issue has been the snobbery of the Monegasque elite, whose preliminary lack of enthusiasm for Charlene primarily based on her center class background—her father was a gross sales supervisor and her mom was a swimming trainer—has been compounded by what they understand as her failure to rise to the problem of her function. Albert’s sisters are additionally stated to have been unsupportive, with Caroline often named as a selected spreader of discord.
Little had been seen of Charlene this 12 months and she or he headed to South Africa on a visit for her conservation charity in March. When she didn’t return, the palace stated she was having surgical procedure on an ear situation, a legacy of her youth spent swimming.
Nonetheless, when she missed the 2 tentpole occasions of the Monaco season, the Grand Prix and the Purple Cross ball, some observers started to publicly name bullshit.
Madame Figaro, a good conservative ladies’s weekly, requested: “How lengthy will the battle in opposition to rhinoceros poaching stay the Princess of Monaco’s prime precedence? How lengthy will Albert II of Monaco go on bearing this affront, which is turning into ridiculous?”
The London Times reported on an article by Stephane Bern, a French authorities cultural adviser, in Paris Match headlined: “Are Albert and Charlene on the verge of splitting up?”
The piece claimed that Albert allowed Nicole Coste, the air hostess with whom he fathered a son, now 18, to attend the Purple Cross ball in Charlene’s absence. His son additionally attended, the report stated.
Charlene lastly got here house on Nov. 8, sharing a photograph of her “glad day” as she hugged Albert and their younger twins. However hopes that her return marked a brand new period for the Grimaldis have been quickly dashed.
Albert would later inform Individuals that after “the primary few hours… it turned fairly evident that she was unwell.”
He added: “This has nothing to do with our relationship. I wish to make that very clear. These will not be issues inside our relationship.”
The ghost of a sure Flemish witch would possibly beg to vary.