Princess Charlene of Monaco has said that reports of her trying to flee the principality before her wedding in 2011 were "categorical lies". In a rare interview, the South African beauty opened up about her big day — and the unpleasant speculation that threatened to tarnish it.
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"Everything was just so overwhelming and there all the mixed emotions because of the rumours, and obviously the tension built up and I burst into tears ," she told The Times. "And then I burst into tears some more because I was thinking, 'Oh no, now the whole world has seen me cry."
Despite that, Prince Albert's wife has very happy memories of her wedding. "It was such a wonderful three days," she said. "Even months afterwards I would get flashbacks and think, 'Oh my goodness, did I really have the Eagles playing at my wedding?"
"I think back and wonder how we managed to pull it off. There was a lot going on. It was beautiful; it was sentimental, showing my most intimate moment to the world."
Since her nuptials, Charlene, 35, has quickly adjusted into her new role, and become a fully-fledged member of the elegant European royal set. Helping her make that transition was the Netherland's new queen Maxima, with who Charlene has struck up a close friendship.
"Maxima has been unbelievably supportive if I need help with anything," Charlene revealed. "Because she came from Argentina and moved to Holland, we have made similar lifestyle choices. She has given me advice that I identified with."
Another royal Charlene has great admiration for is Britain's Kate Middleton, whose wedding to Prince William took place two months before Charlene's own marriage. "She's very sweet and lovely," she said of the pregnant Duchess. "I can understand it must be difficult for everyone being in this situation when you're not born into it."
As Kate, now two days overdue, prepares for the arrival of her first child, does Charlene also hope to start a family?
"Look, I'm not going to put myself under any pressure," Charlene said. "I just got married. I'm just settling into this enormous place and getting used to having huge responsibilities.
"You know, we travel a lot, so it's going to take time," she added. "But as I said, I'm not going to put myself under any pressure. It will happen; it will happen."
All the news as Duchess Kate's due date draws close...