The legend of the Grimaldi curse was first told to me under the stars in a Mediterranean restaurant perched by an intoxicated Monegasque. The story begins with the first Prince Rainier of Monaco, who was struck by the unapproachable beauty of a young Flemish nobleman.
Unfortunately for him, she was a powerful witch who decided she was not going to be dishonored by a prince from the little-known principality of Monaco, which was then a rocky port with one unimportant ship. The prince, however, wouldn’t take no for an answer. He took the unwitting object of his affection for what he hoped would be a romantic stroll along the picturesque cliffs of Monaco. When his attempts to woo her failed, he tried to force himself on her.
The woman repelled her attacker, but decided to die rather than endure repeated assaults on her chastity. Before throwing herself off the cliffs to her death, she uttered an infamous curse, telling Rainier, “A Grimaldi will never find happiness in marriage.” “
Fast forward a few hundred years, and it’s easy to see why some people think the curse is still in place, despite denials from House Grimaldi, who reigns over Monaco to this day.
Many family marriages have indeed ended in divorce or tragedy. Prince Albert’s younger sister Stephanie has been married and divorced twice, with both marriages lasting just over a year. Albert’s older sister Caroline’s second husband Stefano has died at the age of 30 in a speedboat accident. Her mother, Princess Grace (formerly known as Hollywood icon Grace Kelly) died in a car accident in 1982. It was an extremely traumatic time for the principality.
This Christmas, the family look down on the barrel of yet another marital disaster, as the relationship between Prince Albert, 63, and Charlene Wittstock, 43, the glamorous South African Olympic swimmer he married in 2011, appears to be in the final stages of a humiliating public unraveling.
After spending most of the year away from her husband, the emaciated-looking Charlene returned to Monaco from her native South Africa a few weeks ago (the official line was that she stayed there for six months because that she could not fly on medical advice due to ear surgery). She has now visited an undisclosed facility to recover from what her husband calls exhaustion. Rumors abound in company circles that she has visited a clinic in Switzerland, but The Daily Beast has not been able to confirm this.
Her children, 6-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, accompanied their father to the palace balcony for Monaco’s National Day celebrations last week and held up signs saying: “We miss you mom” .
Albert gave the most comprehensive account of his health issues to date when he said People magazine: “I sat her down with her brothers and a sister-in-law. She had already made up her mind, and we just wanted her to confirm it in front of us. She wanted this. She already knew that the best thing to do was to go to rest and to have a real medically supervised treatment… There were obviously consequences of her various surgeries and the interventions that she underwent in recent months. It was definitely a factor, but at this point I’d rather not comment further. I can say that she was suffering from incredible fatigue. She hadn’t slept well for several days and was not eating well at all. She has lost a lot of weight, which makes her vulnerable to other potential illnesses. A cold or the flu or God help us, COVID. “
Relatives of the family told The Daily Beast that Her Serene Highness Charlene has been deeply unhappy for many years. A source, who visited Albert and Charlene for lunch at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco several years ago, said Charlene sobbed softly throughout the meal. “Albert did not recognize at all that his wife was crying,” said the person, who described the meal as “extremely uncomfortable.” “I couldn’t understand why she hadn’t just stood up and left. I could only assume that she wanted her displeasure to be seen.
Indeed, reports of Charlene’s misfortune have circulated widely since her marriage to Albert in 2011, when her tearful appearance that day and an awkward kiss on the balcony provided a visual demonstration of the maxim that money – the three-day wedding cost $ 70 million – really can’t buy you happiness.
Charlene’s apparent emotional disruption gave credence to allegations in French newspapers that she repeatedly attempted to flee Monaco as the wedding approached as rumors and paternity claims swirled around the groom.
The Sunday Newspaper reported that she first took refuge in May 2011 at the South African embassy in Paris, where she was to undergo a wedding dress fitting. Her passport was allegedly confiscated and she was persuaded to return to Monaco.
Reports in the Sunday Newspaper claimed she took another break later that month during the Formula 1 Grand Prix and, again, just a week before the wedding, she was reportedly pulled over on her way to the airport from Nice for a return flight to South Africa. The palace denied the allegations, describing them as “completely crazy”, but the narrative stuck. The couple were particularly unhappy that their uncomfortable nuptials took place just 10 weeks after William and Kate’s marriage, a clear love affair, and therefore scrutiny was exerted on the affair which brought together guests such as Naomi. Campbell, Nicolas Sarkozy and Roger Moore.
Charlene herself told a British newspaper The temperature: “It was all so upsetting and there were all mixed emotions because of the rumors, and obviously the tension built up and I burst into tears. [immediately after the ceremony]. And then I burst into tears again because I was like ‘Oh no, now the whole world has seen me cry.’ “
The years that followed were marred by continued business rumors from His Serene Highness, a playboy known when he was younger, who had already admitted to fathering two illegitimate children before their marriage. Although the French gossip magazines that take a detailed look at the life and loves of the Grimaldis are not sold in the principality’s newsstands, few Monegasques are unaware that Albert faces paternity action again, this time on allegations that he fathered another illegitimate child. in 2005, while dating Charlene. He denounced the claims as an attempt at blackmail.