A right Royal mess

Charlene Wittstock

The new Princess Charlene of Monaco

So there’s pretty much only two things making headlines in South Africa at this point – the Great Vodacom Crash of 2011 (thank goodness I switched networks a few months ago!) and Charlene Wittstock’s wedding to Prince Albert of Monaco.

The whole thing was expected to be a fairytale affair… It’s a beautiful story (on paper ) – a Zimbabwean-born, South African swimmer catches the eye of the prince of the richest country in the world. Of course, that’s soured a little by the fact that said prince was also one of the biggest playboys in the world…

But after years of dating, Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert of Monaco were due to wed in a highly anticipated summer ceremony. Rumours flew over the menu, the dress, the guest list – it was a wonderful reminder of that other royal wedding a little earlier in the year, only this time it was a Proudly South African wedding! And the new Princess of Monaco made sure that there was a wonderful taste of South Africa – wines from Stellenbosch, chefs from Zimbali and a touch of Afrikaans added to the proceedings.

But there’s a dark cloud hanging over the proceedings – one that, try as they might, can’t be covered by Armani embroidery and Swarovski crystals.

Those persistent rumours – that Charlene tried to run away – just won’t die down. And the more people try to brush the talk aside, the stronger it roars back… And it’s a case of well, where there’s smoke there is most likely fire, too.

The talk, of course, that Prince Albert was involved in yet another love child scandal on the eve of his wedding (he already has two illegitimate kids, with two different women) can’t be helping matters. Apparently Charlene tried to do a runner and flee back to SA – but was “persuaded” to come back and give the marriage a try. The persuasion, if the tabloids are to be believed, included confiscating her passport – so she physically couldn’t leave. Add to that rumours which suggested that she’d already tried to run away twice before that and the discomfort factor rises exponentially.

What year are we living in? Last time I checked my calendar it was 2011 and not 1811. One would imagine that, should the bride choose to leave her cheating prick of a fiance, she would have a right to do so. Confiscating her passport, well… That’s tantamount to holding her hostage, no matter how nicely you try to wrap it up in taffeta for the bridesmaids.

And so Charlene dragged herself down the aisle – and though I didn’t watch the ceremony myself (there was rugby I was supposedly watching), she was described as looking “somber” and downright “unhappy” by the Twitter community. I understand the responsibility that comes with marrying in to royalty – as much as a “commoner” would, I suppose – but it all seems a little cruel.

I just hope there’s a way out for Charlene if it all gets too much. It leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth – I suppose because it all just seems so much like a trap, rather than the fairytale wedding it was meant to be.  And of course, where Catherine, new Duchess of Cambridge’s first royal duties included taking cooking classes and planting trees… Charlene’s will include standing beside her new husband as he awaits the results of the inevitable paternity tests.

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