Paris Match magazine was justified in revealing the existence of Prince Albert II of Monaco’s love child with a flight attendant because the story was in the public interest, the European court of human rights ruled on November 10.
The publication’s story about the boy born to the French-Togolese flight attendant in 2003 had public interest because of the principality’s rules of succession, European judges decided.
The judges said a French court was wrong to convict the magazine for publishing a 10-page spread on the issue in 2005, because the story had an importance that “went beyond the scope of [the prince’s] private life”.
The court first made the ruling in June 2014, but the French government appealed against the decision.
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Prince Albert of Monaco admitted shortly after the story was published that he was the father of a baby boy born out of wedlock to Nicole Coste in 2003.
In the Paris Match interview, Nicole Coste, then 33, described her affair of several years with Prince Albert, whom she said she met on a flight from Paris to Nice in July 1997. The article was illustrated with several pictures of Prince Albert holding a child in his arms.
In France, Paris Match was ordered to pay €50,000 to Prince Albert, who took over the throne in Monaco in April 2005.
In November 10 ruling, the judges said the boy’s existence “could have public interest because of the rules of succession in the principality” which exclude children born outside marriage.
Prince Albert, 56, married former Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2011 and the couple had twins in December 2014. Their son, Jacques, is now next in line to head the 700-year-old House of Grimaldi.
However, Prince Albert appears to have mended ties with Paris Match, posing with Princess Charlene and their babies shortly after their birth.
Princess Charlene, the wife of Prince Albert of Monaco, has become “depressed” at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir, it was claimed yesterday.
Charlene Wittstock, 33, is said to have struck a “deal” with the principality’s playboy ruler to bear him a child after she tried to flee before their wedding last summer.
The South African is now unable to get pregnant, France’s Voici magazine reported.
Prince Albert has already fathered two love-children, but neither can succeed him as they were both born out of wedlock.
Voici magazine said: “Charlene has made the subject of pregnancy a taboo topic around the Royal palace.
“She might have a smile on her face at official functions, but inside she is stressed and frustrated.
“This subject is weighing more and more heavily on her shoulders.”
Rumors of a rift and a “pregnancy pact” erupted even before the couple married in a lavish state wedding ten months ago.
Princess Charlene, the wife of Prince Albert of Monaco, has become “depressed” at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir
Charlene Wittstock was said to have bolted for Nice airport two days before their wedding after hearing Albert had had a third love-child during their relationship.
Monaco officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the Prince and his reluctant bride that she provide him with a legitimate heir.
After that Princess Charlene would be free to leave of her own free will, it was reported last July.
One source said at the time: “Charlene will provide an heir, then if things don’t go well, she will receive a generous divorce settlement once she’s served a decent amount of time.”
Prince Albert of Monaco, 54, has one seven-year-old son Alexandre with Togolese air hostess Nicole Coste. He has another daughter Jazmin, 20, born after a brief affair with American estate agent Tamara Rotola.
Charlene Wittstock last year called suggestions that she was reluctant to marry “hilarious” on the Today show.
“Why would we go to all this effort, to have this fantastic couple of days, and have our most intimate and dearest friends come and join us, for us to be reluctant,” she said.
Prince Albert suggested the rumors might have been triggered by jealousy from people who “did not like the fact that we were finally together and married”.
He was apparently told on the day of his wedding that he would have to take a paternity test to determine whether he was the father of the third illegitimate child.
Charlene Wittstock, who was accused of trying to run away three times before she married, claimed the rumors were purely generated to sell magazines.
But she spoke earlier this year about her “loneliness” in Monaco, and added: “I only have two people I consider friends here.”
Before he met Charlene Wittstock four years ago, Prince Albert dated dozens of the world’s most famous and beautiful women, including Angie Everhart, Brooke Shields, and supermodel Claudia Schiffer. He also battled persistent rumors he was gay.
A Monaco government spokesman insisted that once he met Charlene Wittstock, Prince Albert knew he had finally found the woman he wanted to provide an heir.
The spokesman told France’s high society Point de Vue magazine last year: “Charlene has beauty and style, and we are all praying that she will ensure the royal succession in our principality.
“Albert has never settled down in the past, but knows that the time is now right to produce the next ruler of Monaco.”