Monaco: Post-honeymoon, Prince Albert II finally speaks out against the “unbearable” media reports
A prince indignant
On landing back in his kingdom after a lengthy African honeymoon with his new wife, it took Prince Albert II just 12 hours to speak out against the rumours that have been swirling around himself and Princess Charlene since their wedding.
The recently married couple returned to the Principality from Mozambique at around 6am yesterday morning. The same day, at 6pm, the prince called members of the Monegasque press for a briefing with himself and his wife that would allow them to respond personally to the international scandal that has refused to go away.
They have not even been married for a month yet, but speculation already abounds about almost every detail of the couple‘s private life. In his statement yesterday, the prince expressed his own, and his wife’s, personal distress at the constant negative gossip surrounding his relationship: “We are honestly feeling aggrieved by the current rumours. It is simply not acceptable anymore.”
The rumour mill began grinding on June 28th, just days before their lavish wedding was due to take place. The French paper L’Express published an online article in which Charlene Wittstock was reported to have tried to escape her impending marriage. It was said that the South African had been attempting to return to her native country but had been stopped by the police at the airport in Nice and sent back to Monaco. L’Express went on to insinuate that the princess-to-be had tried to flee after hearing that her fiancé had fathered a third illegitimate child.
According to Thierry Lacoste, the prince’s lawyer and close friend who is interviewed in today’s Monaco Matin, legal proceedings against L’Express will soon get underway in Paris or Nanterre.
After the L’Express piece was published, the international press went wild, claiming the couple was in crisis and portraying their relationship as a sham. From the bride’s tears in the church to the news that the honeymooning husband and wife were sleeping in different hotels in South Africa, nothing they did went unnoticed, and uncommented on, by the scandal-hungry media.
The Swiss newspaper Blick asked, ‘Is it love?’. The Sunday Times drew a portrait of ‘The full filthy Monte’. The South African paper, City Press, focused on the strange honeymoon which entailed separate cars, separate rooms in different hotels and a kiss on the cheek. On July 13th Le Figaro ran the story, ‘The strange honeymoon of Charlène and Albert of Monaco’.
But now, Albert says enough is enough. The media have gone too far. “We want to express our outrage at the rumours,” he said with force yesterday before adding, “it's unbearable.” Although he said that he and Princess Charlene had been able to laugh at some of the stories, such as the one about their separate hotels (which was of course for "practical reasons") they have been clearly disturbed and distressed by the way the media has handled them. “What is regrettable is that the media seized on these rumours without verifying the information. I find it unworthy of your colleagues,” he told the Monegasque journalists gathered. “ I have always respected the freedom of press but spreading false information is both lamentable and subject to criminal charges.”
At the end of the short, twelve-minute briefing, Prince Albert II stated flatly, “I won’t reply to any questions.” He then turned and, putting a gentle hand on her knee, asked his wife if she had anything to add. "No," she replied, "I think that says it all." And with that last word, they are clearly hoping to put an end to the sorry affair.