PARIS – Monaco’s ruler, Prince Albert II, and his wife, Princess Charlene, announced Friday that they are expecting their first child late this year.
“T.S.H. the Prince and the Princess of Monaco are delighted to announce the pregnancy of H.S.H. Princess Charlene. The birth is expected at the end of the year,” the couple said in a brief communique released by the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
This is their first child together, and comes at a time when they have been unable to stem rumors of marital discord or the difficulties South African former champion swimmer Charlene Wittstock has in adapting to life in Monaco and to her in-laws.
The baby will be first in the line of succession, a position held up to now by Princess Caroline, the prince’s older sister.
Albert II and Charlene Wittstock wed in July 2011 in a civil ceremony and then a religious one, which sealed their five years of being engaged and was attended by heads of state and royals as well as prominent figures from the worlds of fashion, sports and business.
Charlene, 36, said in a recent interview that in these first years after her marriage she has concentrated on taking up her new role in life and on promoting her humanitarian foundation, but that she was also ready to become a mother.