Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco expecting their first baby
- Pair issued a statement today expressing their 'immense joy'
- They said the birth is due at the end of the year
- Albert already is the father of at least two children out of wedlock
- But neither of his two children has a claim to the throne
By LEON WATSON
PUBLISHED: 10:41 EST, 30 May 2014 | UPDATED: 14:29 EST, 30 May 2014
Monaco's Prince Albert II and his South African wife Charlene are expecting their first child together, they announced today.
The 36-year-old South African former Olympic swimmer and her husband, 56, issued a statement through the royal palace expressing their 'immense joy'.
It said: 'Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have the immense joy to announce they are expecting a happy event. The birth is due at the end of the year.'
Pregnant: Princess Charlene of Monaco and Prince Albert II at the Formula One Grand Prix Gala Dinner in Monte Carlo last week
The news is sure to please the palace and end recent speculation about why Charlene, after nearly three years of marriage with 56-year-old Albert, had not yet provided a legitimate heir to the jet-set European principality.
The couple married in July 2011 in an opulent ceremony in the principality of Monaco, stomping ground of the rich known for its Grand Prix car race.
Prince Albert is the son of the late Prince Rainier III and actress Grace Kelly. Kelly set aside a career in Hollywood to become Princess Grace but died after a car crash in 1982.
Before her marriage into the ancient House of Grimaldi, whose family members have ruled since 1297, Charlene Wittstock was a national champion swimmer from South Africa.
Expecting: Prince Albert II and his South African wife Princess Charlene at the Monaco Grand Prix
Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco kissing at the Saint Devote church after their religious wedding ceremony in Monaco in 2011
Prince Albert is the son of the late Prince Rainier III and actress Grace Kelly
The couple met when Albert presided over a swimming race in 2000 in which Wittstock was competing.
The royal family has been most recently in the news over the film that kicked off the Cannes Film Festival this month, 'Grace of Monaco' by French director Olivier Dahan.
The film starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly was derided by Albert and his two sisters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie, as 'a farce' based on 'erroneous and dubious historical references'.
The Duchess of Cambridge became pregnant with Prince George around a year-and-a-half after she married Prince William in April, 2011.
Albert is believed to be the father of at least two children out of wedlock and supports them from his multi-million pound fortune.
However, neither Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who graduated from Fordham University's Bronx, New York, last month or Alexandre Coste, 10, has a claim to the throne.
Until the baby is born, the Monegasque heir remains Princess Caroline - Albert's older sister - and then her eldest son, Andrea Casiraghi, who's recently become a father.
The Monaco baby news is likely to set off a frenzy in the fashion press as to how she will dress her bump.
Demure Princess Charlene is known for her elegant fashion style, patronising designers such as Giorgio Armani, who designed her couture wedding dress.
Since her marriage, Charlene is styled as Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco. The previous holder of the style was her husband's mother, Grace Kelly, who died in 1982.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2644039/BREAKING-NEWS-Prince-Albert-Princess-Charlene-Monaco-expecting-baby.html#ixzz33FSCUnBv
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