A day before a religious ceremony is held, the Monaco royal tied the knot with the South African Olympic swimmer in a civil ceremony taking place in the throne room of the Royal Palace.
Prince Albert II of Monaco has finally said his "I Do". The head of the House of Grimaldi married longtime girlfriend Charlene Wittstock in a civil ceremony taking place inside the palace in Monaco on Friday afternoon, July 1, before sealing their union with what seemed to be a shy kiss on the palace's balcony.
Some branded the balcony kiss awkward, and body language expert Vincent Harris told Hollywood Life, "This is about as lackluster as it gets. These are the kinds of kisses grandmothers place on the heads of their grandchildren." Unlike the two kisses Prince William and Kate Middleton shared back in April, he said that both Albert and Charlene were not enjoying the kiss.
The awkward kiss aside, Albert and Charlene exchanged their vows in front of Philippe Narmino, president of Monaco's Council of State. His sisters, Princess Stephanie and Princess Caroline, were among 80 family members, friends and dignitaries witnessing the 20-minute ceremony from inside the throne room.
33-year-old Charlene wore Chanel palazzo pants and a jacket for the big day, while 53-year-old Albert opted to go with a dark suit and white tie. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds greeted the crowd gathering in the palace courtyard and showed off their kiss. After locking lips on the balcony, Albert told the cheering, "Vive le Monaco, thank you and happy celebrating."
A religious ceremony has been set to take place in the courtyard of the palace on Saturday, July 2. Some 3,500 guests are expected to be in attendance. Meanwhile, the Palace was forced, on Thursday, June 30, to deny rumors on a French website that Charlene got cold feet and had attempted to flee to South Africa.
"The Royal Palace formally denies the false allegations published on the site www.lexpress.fr," the statement read, as quoted by CNN. "The sole intention of these rumors is to seriously damage the image of the Sovereign, as a result of damaging that of Miss Wittstock, and bear down on this happy event."