Say the name Charlotte Casiraghi to royal watchers and you can guarantee they will know who she is. But for anyone else it is bound to evoke a quizzical look and some head scratching. Not for long though. The elder daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco has been recently turning heads wherever she goes.
Monte Carlo, Monaco
Born at Monaco's Princess Grace Hospital to Princess Caroline and her second husband, Stefano Casiraghi on August 3, 1986, as a child Charlotte Marie Pomeline Casiraghi was shielded by her mother from the media. No royal titles were bestowed on her in the hope that she would be able to lead a normal life, far from the turmoil which seems part and parcel of modern monarchy.
Along with her two brothers Andrea, who is two years her senior, and Pierre, born a year after her Charlotte grew up in the tiny Mediterranean principality ruled over by her grandfather, Prince Rainier. But when she was just four years old, her life was turned upside down by the death of her Italian industrialist father; killed in an accident after the powerboat he was in flipped over.
Distraught, Princess Caroline moved the family to the beautiful Midi village of Saint Remy-de-Provence in France where the children grew up protected from the inquisitive eyes of the press. It was there that Charlotte learned to ride, a sport at which she excels today.
Then, in January 1999, Charlotte's life changed again. After almost a decade without a paternal figure, she gained a stepfather when Princess Caroline married longtime family friend Prince Ernst of Hanover. Seven months later, a little half-sister, Alexandra, was born at a clinic in Germany. The family then moved to the Parisian suburb of Fontainebleu, so Princess Caroline and her new husband would have a base closer to his German roots and his children from a previous marriage, who live in London with their mother Chantal.
Fluent in French, Italian, English she also speaks a smattering of German, as befits her new status as a stepchild of one of the foremost German princelings Charlotte has grown into a self-assured and stylish young woman.
Mad about horses, Charlotte also lists skiing, snowboarding and swimming as hobbies. She appears to be inheriting her mother's inherent style and has begun to accompany Caroline on official engagements in Monte Carlo. On the romance front, she has been linked to Felix Winckler, the son of a wealthy Brussels-based attorney, who she met while studying in Paris.