It was billed as Monaco’s biggest celebrations in over fifty years. In July 2011, Prince Albert II married Charlene Wittstock in civil and religious ceremonies that brought royals from across Europe to Monaco and grabbed the attention of the world. The wedding was one of the biggest royal events in Europe that decade and turned an Olympic swimmer into a consort. It also brought a dash of controversy and plenty of glamour. Time to rewind to the Royal Wedding of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco.Embed from Getty Images
The couple had announced their engagement on June 23rd 2010 and over a year of planning went into their marriage, the first time a European sovereign had wed during their reign for over thirty years. Charlene Lynette Wittstock became the Princess Consort of Monaco on July 1st 2011 when she underwent a civil marriage ceremony with Prince Albert II in the Throne Room of the Prince’s Palace. The bride, who wore ocean blue as a nod to her groom’s passion for the sea, appeared on the balcony with her new husband soon afterwards. In the evening they joined thousands of people at a concert given by Jean-Michel Jarre to mark their marriage celebrations.Embed from Getty Images
The couple’s religious wedding followed on July 2nd 2011. Guests gathered in the courtyard of the Prince’s Palace for the outdoor ceremony which was conducted by the Archbishop of Monaco, Bernard Barsi. Among those in attendance were King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Belgium’s King Albert II and Queen Paola and the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Several future monarchs who were still heirs at the time, including Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Philippe of Belgium, also attended. The bride walked into the ceremony on the arm of her father, Michael Wittstock, and accompanied by a bridal party dressed in traditional Monegasque costumes.Embed from Getty Images
The bride wore a gown designed by Giorgio Armani. Made of duchesse satin, it featured an off the shoulder cross over neckline. The full length dress had a fitted shape and featured a short train attached at the waist and a longer, shoulder train. The gown was embellished with tens of thousands of crystals and mother of pearl beads, painstakingly crafted into a floral pattern that ran down the centre of the bodice and into a swirling sea of sparkle on the skirt of the dress. Charlene’s tulle veil was attached to a diamond decoration that sat in her swept up hair. It had once belonged to Princess Charlotte, Prince Albert’s grandmother.Embed from Getty Images
All eyes are usually on the bride at a wedding but at these royal nuptials, the scrutiny was even more intense. It had been reported in the run up to the wedding that Charlene had changed her mind and tried to flee Monaco ahead of her marriage. The princess has always vehemently denied that, speaking out about it on several occasions, but it made the focus on her even more intense.Embed from Getty Images
Following the ceremony, Albert and Charlene travelled to the Chapel of Sainte-Devote, patron of Monaco, where the bride followed royal tradition and placed her bouquet on the altar. A reception was later held at the Opera Monte Carlo before more music and fireworks rounded off the celebrations.Embed from Getty Images
Albert and Charlene mark their ninth wedding anniversary in 2020. They are now parents to twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, who were born in December 2014.