Monday, July 4, 2011

Prince Albert Marry Charlene Wittstock Monaco Royal Wedding 2011|Religious Ceremony|Pics

Charlene officially transformed from commoner into royalty. The marriage of the 53-year-old prince and the 33-year-old Charlene Wittstock, a one-time Olympic swimmer from South Africa who is now known as Princess Charlene, ended a three-decade wait for a new princess.

The last wedding of a ruling prince in Monaco was in 1956, when Hollywood star Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III.

Saturday's ceremony was attended by guests including former James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and bohemian designer Roberto Cavalli, of Italy. Thousands of Monegasque citizens cheered the proceedings while watching on large screens set up outside the palace, where both ceremonies were held.

Princesses Stephanie and Caroline, both looked fetching in their short taupe dresses, Caroline's steely blue eyes hidden behind the oversized brim of her hat. Her daughter, Charlotte Casiraghi, was breathtaking in a pink off-the-shoulder cocktail dress by Chanel.

While Charlene – whose name is now officially written with an accent to give it a more French resonance – wore a blue ensemble of her own design to Friday's civil ceremony, she opted for one of her longtime favorite designers, Armani, for Saturday's wedding gown. The "petites mains" or seamstresses of his haute couture atelier put more than 2,500 hours of work into the dress, a strong-lined, made-to-measure concoction of more than 130 meters (about 140 yards) of different silks, 40,000 Swarovski crystals and 20,000 mother of pearl beads.

The 5 meter- (6 yard-) long train – which dwarfed the demure little train at the summer's other royal wedding, that of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton – proved difficult to negotiate. At one point, Charlene got stuck and Albert had to tug at the long silk flourish to free her.

The ceremony, officiated by Monseigneur Bernard Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco, included moving performances by U.S. soprano Renee Fleming and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, as well as a tradition "click song" by South Africa's Pumeza Matshikiza – a nod to the princess' roots.

PARIS: With three triple-star Michelin restaurants and more than 20 other temples of haute gastronomy scattered around the globe, celebrity chef Alain Ducasse is used to catering to the rich and famous.

But the veteran cook admits his blood pressure is rising ahead of next month’s royal wedding in Monaco, where he will prepare a multi-course gala dinner for Prince Albert, bride-to-be Charlene Wittstock, and their 500 A-list guests.

“Prince Albert is very interested in protecting the Mediterranean, its flora and its fauna. It’s something of an obsession,” Ducasse said.

“We decided to do something sustainable, local and ethical.”

“It’s going to be like the essence of the Mediterranean Sea, its tastes, its smells and its colors … fresh line-caught fish, garden vegetables and fruits for dessert,” he said.

Besides the Champagne, which comes from the eponymous region of northeast France, and a South African red wine honoring the bride’s roots, nearly all ingredients will be sourced from a 10-kilometer radius from Monaco – a tiny concrete hive of high-rises, Art Deco casinos and five-star hotels.

The celebrity chef already runs establishments in Monaco, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and France, where he runs the Jules Verne, a fine dining experience perched 135 meters up the Eiffel Tower.

In the United States, the affable 54-year-old has restaurants in Las Vegas, New York, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

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