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Another Friday, another royal wedding of international fame

Who’s the happy Royal couple today?

Ah yes. Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, in a three-day bling-fest entailing two top chefs, six marquees, and performances by Snoop Dogg and Kanye West. I bet the residents of  Little Faringdon are loving that one. There probably haven’t been as many twitching net curtains since Kate entertained a pipedream of opening a London pub in the middle of the peaceful English Cotswolds.

But I’m joking, of course. While Kate Moss’s wedding is taking place today, the real Royal wedding is that of Prince Albert of Monaco and his 20-years-junior, South African fiancée Charlene Wittstock, in a two-day bling-fest entailing super-chef Alain Ducasse, a Royal courtyard, and performances by Jean-Michel Jarre and The Eagles.

Money no object – money the object

With an estimated price tag of $65 million, Prince Albert’s wedding makes William and Catherine’s April nuptials look like five minutes in a Las Vegas chapel. Sadly, this extravagance seems to be the main point of the exercise: an attempt to revive both Monaco’s struggling economy and its reputation of classy glamour, the latter which, to a large extent, died with Princess Grace in 1982.

With Monaco awash in heads of state, fashion designers, and A-list celebrities, who could fail to notice the wealth and pizzazz of this little principality?

Prince Albert himself said:

“Even if it’s not the main purpose [of the wedding], it will be a chance to shine a light on the principality and to contribute to ending stubborn clichés [about Monaco].”

A runaway bride?

Recent rumors, however, seem to be shining lights in other, unwanted directions.

Already the father of two illegitimate children, the Prince must have been perturbed when a new whisper surfaced that a third offspring was toddling out of the woodwork.

Further rumors that, in response to this revelation, Ms. Wittstock tried to back out of the wedding and fly back to South Africa, and claims by Monaco police that her passport was confiscated to stop her doing so, have surely cast a shadow on the proceedings.

Prince Albert (and his lawyers) have vigorously denied the claims – but then, as Mandy Rice-Davies once said, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”

You can’t have a Royal wedding where the bride is perceived as being frog-marched down the aisle.

Lambs to the altar

Actually, you can. It used to happen all the time, and not too long ago either, but we like to think we’ve moved on.

We haven’t. Not really. Royal dynasties need heirs. Prince Rainier needed heirs because if there were none, Monaco would revert to France under a 1918 treaty. Grace Kelly duly produced heirs.

Not surprisingly, parallels have been drawn between Grace Kelly and Charlene Wittstock: both tall and blonde, both ‘commoners’, one an American film star, the other a South African Olympic swimmer who bears more than a passing resemblance to Grace Kelly.

Thirty years ago, similar parallels were drawn between Princess Grace and Lady Diana Spencer, before she became Diana, Princess of Wales. Another tall blonde, capable of producing heirs for a royal family; another dazzling wedding to shine a light upon a country in recession.

One can only hope that, despite this week’s rumors, Her Serene Highness, Princess Charlene of Monaco will have a better fate than the other two. If the marriage is less than perfect, let’s hope it hasn’t all been in vain and that the flagging economy in Monaco recovers as a result.

Plan B

If not, perhaps they could approach Kate Moss and offer her a venue in Monte Carlo to open the London pub she was thinking about. That would soon revive the economy.

Whether it would do the same for Monaco’s classy glamour, however, would remain to be seen.

Related posts:

Jerry Seinfeld – the Royal Wedding’s answer to Ricky Gervais

A displaced American writer, awash in a sea of Royal Wedding apathy

A toast to two displaced writers with passionate views of royal passion

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