Royalty and statesmen




All eyes were on former swimming champion Charlene at the Ball, the most glittering event in the principality's social calender. The 28-year-old South African has been linked to Prince Albert since the start of the year
Photo: © AFP
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The affection between the couple was obvious as Prince Albert reached across the table at one point to gently hold Charlene's hand
Photo: © Rex


7 AUGUST 2006

The star of the show at the 58th Red Cross Ball in Monte Carlo was undoubtedly Charlene Wittstock, the elegant sports star who has captured the heart of the principality's ruler Prince Albert.

Showing off her princess-in-waiting credentials, the South African swimmer turned on the glamour in a lacy jade-coloured evening gown, split to the thigh to reveal a length of shapely leg. Her blonde locks had been arranged in a chignon to finish off the look.

As was the case last year - the first occasion Albert hosted the event as sovereign - the Monegasque royal arrived at the principality's chic Sporting Club flanked by his sisters Caroline and Stephanie. After making her entrance behind the royal siblings, with the rest of the family, 28-year-old Charlene was seated opposite the prince, to whom she's been linked since their public display of affection at the Winter Olympics in Turin.

One of Monaco's main social and charity events, the Red Cross Ball is seen by royal watchers as the Grimaldi family's mirror of itself to the world. Albert's decision to show off his love in such a public setting proves the seriousness with which he regards the relationship. Meanwhile, his attentiveness throughout the meal - at one point he was seen leaning over to grasp Charlene's hand - spoke volumes about where his affections lie.

With the formal part of the evening out of the way, the proceedings heated up on the dancefloor where royal heart-throb Pierre Casiraghi was twirling around an attractive young lady in a daring backless affair. Luckily for his current love interest, fashion student Olympia Scarry, the object of his courtly moves was his cousin, Melanie de Massy.

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