Prince Albert's 'Forced' Vision for Monaco?

Coste gave him her food tray when he said he was hungry on a flight to Paris. Albert must have been ravenous or maybe Coste slipped an elixir in the food because who in their right mind would want to eat another over-nuked airplane dish?

Bad palate or not, Albert got her number and called two weeks later.

"What he represented wasn't important to me," Coste said in the Paris Match interview. "He really was charming."

Over the next five years, the black beauty, originally from the West African country of Togo, came to call Monaco home at least one weekend per month.

"He never hid me," she's quoted as saying of her numerous visits trips to Monaco where she stayed at Albert's posh apartment away from the palace.

Rainier wouldn't approve, nor did he when he met her, according to Coste. Afterward, Albert told her it would be best if they stayed friends.

Did Rainier not approve of an African bride for his son or had he simply had enough with his children's love antics?

Soap Opera-Style Lives

Caroline, Rainier's eldest daughter, defied her parents in 1978 and married a Parisian man-about-town who happened to be 17 years older. The marriage didn't last and Caroline had to fight long and hard to get the Vatican to annul the whole affair so that she could remarry and have children who would be recognized as legitimate.

In 1983, she exchanged vows with Stefano Casiraghi and lived happily until his tragic death in 1990.

Caroline resurfaced six years later out and about with Prince Ernst of Hanover. No matter that the German royal was the lawful wedded husband of a close friend, she married him anyway.

Meanwhile, Albert's younger sister, Stephanie, became tabloid fodder with her poor choices in men. The princess made Rainier's blood pressure skyrocket when she announced that she was pregnant and the father was her bodyguard, hunky Daniel Ducruet.

The couple had a second child -- again out of wedlock -- before marrying in 1995.

But marriage didn't guarantee happiness for Stephanie, who divorced Ducruet after he was caught fondling a topless Belgian model.

Stephanie left Monaco, got another bodyguard and, in 1998, had another illegitimate child. Once again her bodyguard was the father. Does she pick 'em for their looks or what?

The bodyguard thing didn't work out because in 2003 she got married to a circus acrobat (bodyguard to the chimps?). But that has fizzled, so send your résumé if you've got "bodyguard" aspirations.

By now you've gotten the picture.

Legitimacy is important to the Monaco family, but all in good time.

Never Popping the Question

Albert never walked down the aisle despite his father's stern encouragement to settle down. The prince, nicknamed "Sporty Prince," preferred soccer and bobsled, fueling Prince Rainier's fear that the principality wouldn't get an heir.

His father was worried enough to change the constitution in 2002. Under the terms of a 1918 treaty, if the ruling prince died without producing an heir, Monaco would become part of France. The constitution now allows power to pass from a reigning prince who has no descendants to his siblings or their offspring.

With that problem out of the way, Albert kept wooing pretty ladies around the world, including Coste.

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