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Tension ahead of Monaco wedding

Published: 4:30PM Monday July 04, 2011 Source: ONE News

Media reports say Princess Charlene of Monaco tried to avoid going ahead with her marriage to Prince Albert.

With a wink and a smile, Monaco's ruler married South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock on Saturday but several newspapers are claiming the bride tried to back out three times.

French national newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche said palace officials confiscated the 33-year-old's passport and persuaded her to take part in the lavish wedding.

The paper said Wittstock "took refuge" in the South African embassy on a visit to Paris in May to try on her wedding dress. Later that same month she tried to flee during the Monaco Grand Prix. Then, just last week, she had her passport confiscated en route to Nice airport.

The bride appeared sombre and tearful for much of the wedding ceremony and at one point burst into tears while Albert just looked on impassively.

Albert has been linked with a succession of models and actresses, and has admitted to fathering two illegitimate children.

The 53-year-old playboy's lengthy bachelorhood had begun to try the patience of his subjects. Albert has illegitimate children with two women but is yet to produce a royal heir.

And palace sources confirmed to media last week that Prince Albert was due to have DNA tests because of claims by at least one woman that he had fathered another illegitimate child.

The newlyweds are due to fly to the bride's native South Africa on honeymoon.