- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2006

PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) — People in this resort town already knew Jazmin Grace Grimaldi was an honor student, science fair winner and student of the month.

To that list of credentials, they now know she is the daughter of a prince.

Prince Albert II of Monaco acknowledged through his lawyer that the 14-year-old girl is his out-of-wedlock daughter.

Albert “officially recognizes a paternity that was legally established a few weeks ago,” attorney Thierry Lacoste said in an interview published Thursday in France’s Le Figaro.

The revelation sent hordes of reporters and photographers flocking to the desert two hours east of Los Angeles, where residents quickly responded protectively.

“Leave that poor girl alone!” a woman in a car yelled at those gathered across the street from St. Margaret’s Episcopal School.

Police warned that they would be arrested if they set foot on school grounds.

At the end of the school day, a ponytailed blond girl in a school uniform was escorted to an armored sport utility vehicle registered to Los Angeles security specialist Gavin de Becker’s firm.

The girl didn’t respond to reporters’ shouted questions and left, seated in the back of the SUV with two bodyguards up front. The SUV was escorted by two sheriff’s deputies on motorcycles.

The same SUV was later seen leaving a gated country club and resort community with waterfalls and lush landscaping. A security guard turned away a reporter requesting to visit the girl’s mother, 44-year-old Tamara Rotolo.

Overnight, the pair has joined a long list of high-profile people to spend time in this area famous for its warm dry winter climate and lush golf courses. The area, which includes the towns of Palm Springs, Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage, has long been a playground for the rich and powerful, including former Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan.

Jazmin was not exactly anonymous in the community before Thursday.

Her name has appeared in the Desert Sun newspaper several times over the years when she made her school’s honor role, won her science and student-of-the-month awards and when she was a soloist in a school choir that performed with Barry Manilow.

The French press reported her mother is a former waitress, and state records list a Tamara Jean Rotolo as a salesperson at a Palm Desert real estate office.

Confirmation that the 48-year-old bachelor prince was Jazmin’s father came less than a year after Albert acknowledged that he fathered a 3-year-old boy out of wedlock with a former flight attendant.

French press reports said he had a fling with Jazmin’s mother when she vacationed on the Cote d’Azur in the south of France in 1991. Jazmin’s March 4, 1992, Riverside County birth certificate lists her father as Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi of Monaco.

Miss Rotolo’s father, 75-year-old Sam Rotolo of Fremont, Calif., said it was no secret to the family who Jazmin’s father was. He said Albert provided financial support over the years.

The retired autoworker said his daughter, Tamara, was raised in his middle-class home. Her mother died in 2002, he said.

“She’s a wonderful young woman,” Mr. Rotolo said.


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