Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; It Was a Fairy-Tale Wedding, Aside from the Runaway Bride Reports: Fiancee Tried to Flee before Nuptials with Prince Albert of Monaco

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; It Was a Fairy-Tale Wedding, Aside from the Runaway Bride Reports: Fiancee Tried to Flee before Nuptials with Prince Albert of Monaco

Article excerpt

Byline: Carole Fader

Times-Union readers want to know:

Is it true that Princess Charlene of Monaco, who married Prince Albert of Monaco, tried to escape three times before her wedding?

These questions aren't our usual fare, but, hey, sometimes, we have to go a little Entertainment Tonight.

The marriage of the couple was the fodder for many of the French and British media after problems were first reported in the French press.

Are all the reports factual? Most came from well-respected publications, but the royal family adamantly denies every bit of what has been reported.

Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD), the French national newspaper, reported that the former Charlene Wittstock, 33, an Olympic swimmer from South Africa, tried to escape the marriage by taking refuge in her country's embassy in Paris, where she went in May to try on her wedding dress.

JDD went on to report that later in May, she made a second apparent attempt to flee during the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix road race.

Then, in late June, right before the July 2 wedding, JDD and the French newspaper Le Figaro reported that Wittstock was stopped by police at the Nice airport as she tried to head home to South Africa on a one-way ticket. According to L'Express, one of France's most influential news magazines, she had been devastated to hear a new revelation about her 53-year-old husband-to-be. The UK's Daily Mail reported that Wittstock was "desperate" to know whether Albert had cheated on her.

Unnamed sources quoted in the French media said that a deal had to be reached before she agreed to say "I do." They also reported that Albert was scheduled for DNA tests because of claims by at least one unnamed woman that he had fathered a third illegitimate child.

A spokeswoman for the Palace vehemently denied all the reports.

They are "the very incarnation of jealousy," said Christiane Stahl.

Stahl told Monaco-Info, a cable TV channel that reports local news, that "only jealousy could push people to start such violent, such ugly rumors just a few days before a marriage."

'RECOILS' FROM A KISS?

Wittstock and Albert were married in a $55 million royal celebration with a civil ceremony on July 1 and a religious one the next day. …

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