Continued from page 1

After the ceremony, about 450 select guests tucked into a multi-course gala prepared by celebrated French-born chef Alain Ducasse.

Filet of golden mullet and a vegetable medley “arranged to portray a landscape typical of the coast of the Riviera,” according to a statement, was the main event at the three-course meal, where everything besides the South African wines and Champagnes were sourced from within a 10-kilometer (6-mile) radius of Monaco.

Ducasse, who like many in his tax bracket has taken citizenship in Monaco, is the first chef to earn three Michelin stars in three different cities, including three for his Louis XV restaurant in the principality.

Charlene was born in Zimbabwe, but moved to neighboring South Africa as a child, and under the tutelage of her mother, a swim coach, competed for that country at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Albert _ also a former Olympic athlete, having competed in five Winter Olympics as part of Monaco’s bobsled team _ has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1985.

Albert and Charlene met during a 2000 swimming competition in Monaco. She then began appearing regularly at social events and moved to Monaco in 2006. Residents say Charlene has since maintained a low profile and is rarely seen out and about in the principality.

The couple’s civil wedding on Friday was held in the palace’s sumptuous throne room where Rainier and Grace married. The actress died in a car crash nearly 30 years ago, and Monaco had been without a princess ever since.

Known as a notorious ladies man, Albert long eschewed marriage, and many in Monaco had resigned themselves to forever having a bachelor prince. The constitution was even modified to ensure the continuity of the Grimaldi line, in case Albert never produced an heir. The prince has acknowledged having fathered two children out of wedlock, but only his legitimate offspring would be able to succeed him.

Rumors have swirled in recent days that a third illegitimate child had surfaced _ prompting Charlene to allegedly try to call off the wedding and return to South Africa days before the festivities.

The palace has denied the reports, dismissing them as “ugly rumors” prompted by spite and jealousy.

Charlene has told interviewers she would like to have children, and Archbishop Barsi asked those at Saturday’s ceremony to pray for the fecundity of the princely union.

“We just witnessed an important moment of love,” guest Michel-Yves Mourou said after leaving the palace. “I’m still under the spell of it. I’m happy for my prince and princess.”