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Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco leave the Prince's Palace after their religious wedding on July 2, 2011 in Monaco. (PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images/PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco leave the Prince's Palace after their religious wedding on July 2, 2011 in Monaco. (PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images/PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)

Rumours swirl that Princess Charlene was reluctant bride Add to ...

Pre-wedding jitters are one thing. Having your future in-laws confiscate your passport so you can't leave the country is another.

Rumours swirling around Prince Albert's weekend nuptials in Monaco suggest high jinks worthy of a Hollywood thriller. And more than the usual cold feet.

Former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, Princess Charlene as of Friday's civil ceremony, reportedly tried to bust free not once, but three times, if media reports are to be believed.

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She tried to take refuge in the South African embassy (she's South African) while on a wedding-dress trip to Paris in May, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Palace officials allegedly confiscated her passport and talked her back into the wedding.

Ms. Wittstock had reportedly been upset about revelations that her soon-to-be husband had recently had an illegitimate child and that another may be on the way. (This would bring his total out-of-wedlock brood to four, none heirs to the throne.)

Perhaps the high drama merely reflects the over-the-top nature of the Monaco royal family - the Grace Kelly years, the tabloid-worthy love lives of her three children - and the current high-stakes wedding.

People magazine reported that 150,000 guests and well-wishers were expected to mob the principality for the multimillion-dollar affair. More important, the clock is ticking on Prince Albert to produce a legitimate heir.

The palace issued a public statement denying the rumours, as reported by The Telegraph: "The Prince's Palace firmly denies these allegations. These rumours, spread a few days before the wedding ceremonies of His Serene Highness Prince Albert and Miss Charlene Wittstock, have only one purpose - to seriously damage the Sovereign's image and by consequence that of Miss Wittstock."

The controversy does not bode well for a relaxing honeymoon.





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