Royal Honeymoon Over So Soon for Monaco's Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock?

Monaco's playboy prince faces paternity tests as his bride sheds tears.

July 8, 2011, 9:38 AM

July 8, 2011 -- They were married in an extravagant $55 million, three-day royal wedding and are now honeymooning in South Africa, staying in an $8,000-per-night luxury suite. But, apparently, money cannot buy happiness for Prince Albert of Monaco and his new bride, Charlene Wittstock.

Prince Albert, 53, is reportedly trying to persuade his wife, 33, to stick with him a week after what should have been their fairy tale wedding.

Days before their July 2 wedding that set Monaco abuzz, news reports surfaced that Wittstock, a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, had bolted for the airport, some reports saying as many as three times, with a one-way ticket back to South Africa.

Albert already has two confirmed illegitimate children, and rumors of a third love child are now widely suspected to be behind Wittstock's escape attempts.

The U.K.'s Daily Mail reported that Wittstock is "desperate" to know whether Albert cheated on her and fathered a child during their five-year courtship.

Albert has reportedly undergone DNA tests demanded by his bride, although it's unlikely the results will be released while the couple honeymoons in South Africa for fears that Wittstock would flee while away from the constraints of her marriage in Monaco.

"When they got her into that Catholic Church and got her married, they really trapped her so far as the Catholic Church is concerned," British historian Robert Lacey told ABC News. "It would be very difficult now for her to get a divorce."

While the other royal newlyweds, Prince William and Kate Middleton, have wowed the world on their first official overseas trip abroad with their tender moments together, the body language between Monaco's new royal couple has been the opposite.

Throughout their July 2 wedding, royal watchers observed Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene, as Wittstock is now formally known, looked more like "Her Miserable Highness" than a blushing new bride.

Prince Albert had to formally ask his bride for a kiss, a request caught on camera for the world to see.

"When he goes to kiss her on their wedding day, she recoils in some way," Lacey said.

Wittstock was in tears throughout the wedding ceremony, while her husband looked on.

And the new groom might have had a sense of what was to come in their marriage when he offered his new bride not love but a tepid thank you to his bride.

"You are a wonderful, um, sometimes, um, patient woman with me," Prince Albert said in his wedding speech.

Wittstock's new husband has a notorious playboy past, having dated a string of celebrity women through the years, including U.S. actresses Brooke Shields and Gwyneth Paltrow, and supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell.

Albert has a 6-year-old son named Alexandre with a former flight attendant, and a 19-year-old daughter, Jazmin, with a U.S. real estate agent.

Under Monegasque law, because both were fathered out of wedlock, neither Alexandre nor Jazmin can become a legitimate heir to the throne, something Monaco and its royal family desperately seek.

The need for an heir raised suspicions that if an "arrangement" were reached over their nuptials, it might be that Wittstock will produce a legitimate heir for Albert in return for a lavish, royal lifestyle.

Historian Lacey, for one, questions whether Wittstock is not, instead, the latest victim of a 700-year-old curse placed on one of Albert's blood-thirsty ancestors.

Family Curse to Blame?

"The monks placed a curse on the family ever since saying they will never have a happy marriage, they will always have trouble producing legitimate heirs," Lacey said. "And there'll be other tragedies and look what's happened."

In Prince Albert's family history, his mother, U.S.-born Princess Grace, endured husband Prince Rainier's philandering and then died in a car crash.

Princess Grace's eldest child, and Albert's sister, Princess Caroline, saw the father of her children killed in a speedboat accident.

There was a time when no one in Monaco imagined a royal wedding involving their prince would ever really happen.

In his bachelor days, it seemed nothing could pressure Prince Albert to tie the knot. In 2006, he told ABC's Ron Claiborne that he had no plans to marry in the "near or distant future."

"The wedding must be a relief to Monegasques," Catherine Ostler, a contributing editor to the Daily Mail, told ABC News before the royal couple said their "I dos."

"It looked like by the time a man gets to 53 you start wondering if it's ever going to happen," she added.

In addition to the infidelity questions surrounding her husband, Wittstock was also said to have been overwhelmed by preparations for the wedding, lonely because of her lack of friends in Monaco and frustrated by her failure to speak French, the official language of the tiny but wealthy European nation.

Wittstock competed in the 2000 Olympics for South Africa. She was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to working-class parents: her father, Michael, is a sales manager and her mother, Lynette, a retired swim coach.

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