A year of royal romance continued on July 2, 2011 as H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock were joined in matrimony.
Pronounced husband and wife the day before in a civil ceremony, the pair professed their devotion once again in a religious blessing of their union, which was held in the courtyard of the royal palace.
A wide array of guests ranging from supermodels Naomi Campbell and Karolina Kurkova to monarchical figures such as H.M. Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden; H.M. Juan Carlos I, King of Spain; H.R.H. Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange; H.R.H.Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden were among those present to witness the bride’s transformation from private citizen to princess.
Applause from well-wishers rained down as the bride began her walk to the altar, the cheerful sound a prelude to the Paul McCartney tune “Celebration” form “Standing Stone,” which escorted not only the lady of the hour on her walk down the red carpet but her leading man as well, who had donned the summer uniform of the Palace Guards for the occasion.
The bride’s slow stroll awarded sightseers with a view of her Giorgio Armani Prive wedding dress– an off-white silk duchesse and silk organza design embellished with embroidered floral finery, 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother of pearl teardrops, the couple’s official marriage site revealed. A diaphanous silk tulle veil trailed behind the bride, gently sweeping a path for seven young attendants who wore ensembles created by the costume workshops of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
The following Hello! magazine video allows wedding watchers to view the couple’s vows:
Archbishop Bernard Barsi presided over the ceremony, which was conducted in French and contained the reverential refrains of Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” and “Laudate Dominum”, Schubert’s “Ave Maria” as sung by Andrea Bocelli and Handel’s “Rejoice Greatly” from The Messiah, as performed by Juan Diego Florez.
The ceremony concluded, the newly dubbed H.S.H. Princess Charlene followed in the footsteps of her late mother-in-law by placing her bouquet– a cluster of freesias, dendrobium orchids and lilies of the valley– in Sainte Devote’s chapel.
The celebrations stretched on throughout the day, with guests gathering on the terraces of the Opera Garnier for a repast prepared by Alain Ducasse and a presentation of pyrotechnics.
Photo Credit: Clipart