Albert waves to his subjects as his sister Stephanie and nephews Andrea (left) and Pierre look on
Photo: İ AFP
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To round off the day's celebrations, in the evening the Monegasque royals attended an opera performance in Monte-Carlo
Photo: İ AFP

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21 NOVEMBER 2005

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It was an emotional weekend for the Monegasque royals, with both Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie seen wiping tears of joy from their eyes as their brother Albert was enthroned. The principality's new ruler likewise struggled to maintain his composure as the archbishop of Monaco, Monsignor Bernard, led the investiture ceremony in Monte Carlo's spectacular cliff-top cathedral.

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"It was very moving," said Stephanie afterwards. "I was thinking above all of my brother and what this represents for him, for our country. It's a new beginning for all of us in the family."

Royals and dignitaries from all over Europe jetted into the Riviera principality to witness the event. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was turning heads in an elegant wine-coloured gown, while Prince Joachim was on hand to represent the royal house of Denmark.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were also in attendance, along with Emmanuel Filiberto of Savoy and his actress wife Clotilde. The person attracting most attention from photographers, however, was the monarch's 19-year-old niece. Charlotte normally shies away from media attention, but the pretty brunette, who was wearing a cream Chanel suit and matching hat, seemed happy to step into the spotlight on Saturday afternoon.

Albert's enthronement marked the second and final stage of his investiture. He was officially proclaimed ruler of Monaco back in July. Speaking just hours before the ceremony, the 47-year-old confessed he was still getting used to his new role. "During the first few months, when people mentioned the sovereign prince, I didn't realise they were talking about me," he revealed.

In keeping with his reputation for independence of mind, the bachelor also affirmed he would not give in to the pressure on him to find a bride promptly. "I have never said I wouldn't marry," he said. "But I am in no hurry."



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