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.
A French court was wrong to convict Paris-Match magazine for revealing that Prince Albert II of Monaco had a love child in 2005, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled.
The public interest outweighed privacy arguments in the case, the ECHR ruled.
After the Paris-Match article appeared, in May 2005, Prince Albert sued the magazine, but later acknowledged that the child was his.
The boy was born to Nicole Coste, a French-Togolese flight attendant.
When Prince Albert, the reigning monarch in Monaco, learnt that Paris-Match was going to publish the article he told its owner, publisher Hachette Filipacchi Associes, not to do so. But the magazine went ahead, including photos of the prince with the child. The revelation also appeared in Bunte magazine in Germany.
Prince Albert of Monaco’s son was born to Nicole Coste, a French-Togolese flight attendant
In France, Prince Albert was awarded 50,000 euros ($68,000) in damages, but in Germany his court action against Bunte was dismissed.
In its ruling, the ECHR found that the French court in Nanterre was wrong to convict Paris-Match over the article. It breached the magazine’s freedom of expression, the ECHR said.
The ruling said the French court had erred in failing to distinguish between “information which formed part of a debate of general interest and that which merely reported details of the private life of the Prince of Monaco”.
The child could not succeed to the throne, under Monaco’s constitution, but the court found that “the public had a legitimate interest in knowing of the child’s existence and being able to conduct a debate on the possible implications for political life in the Principality of Monaco”.
“The court concluded that, in disclosing the information, [Nicole Coste] had sought to secure public recognition of her son’s status and of the fact that the prince was his father, which were crucial factors in ending the secrecy surrounding him.”
Back in 2005, Nicole Coste was quoted as saying she met Prince Albert on a flight in 1997, leading to a relationship and the birth of the boy, Alexandre, in August 2003.
Prince Albert has two children from previous relationships – 22-year-old daughter Jazmin and 10-year-old son Alexandre.
Last month Prince Albert and Princess Charlene announced they were expecting their first child.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, also known as ex-Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock, who retired in 2007, got back in the water for a charity swim today.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, 35, was seen swimming with children in Saint Geours de Maremne in southwestern France.
The Monégasque princess wore her blonde highlighted hair scraped back as she paddled through the pool and taught the group of enthusiastic children how to swim during the Live to Swim Day.
Princess Charlene proved the best possible coach at the event organized by the club Inshore Rescue Capbreton.
The event’s aim was to raise awareness of water safety and saw 150 children participate.
Princess Charlene of Monaco was seen swimming with children in Saint Geours de Maremne in southwestern France
Her own charity, The Princess Charlene Foundation, aims to help women and children on five of the world’s seven continents. One of the focus points is also reinforcing the awareness of water safe
“Some of my present and future projects for my foundation are underlining the importance and reinforcing the awareness of water safety,” writes Princess Charlene on her foundation’s website.
“We are all aware of horrible stories about small children drowning because they could not swim.
“Teaching them how to swim could save their lives, and the importance and awareness will help them to feel more comfortable and confident in all aquatic areas as well.”
Charlene Wittstock represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, with her team finishing fifth in the Women’s 4×100 m Medley. She retired from competitive swimming in 2007.
Her commitment to the sport, though, seems unwavering.
Ensuring Charlene Wittstock’s home-town of Durban, South Africa, becomes the premier city for swimming in the country, the princess is reportedly set to donate a “large amount” to the its swimming future.
This could make it the top sport in the city, ahead even of rugby and football.
Last month Princess Charlene’s husband Prince Albert, 55, showed off his sporting abilities as he played volleyball on a beach.
The princess finally put rumors to bed over the ‘turbulent’ start to her marriage last month in a rare interview.
She said the tears streaming down her cheeks at her wedding to Albert in 2011 were not the result of a series of rows over his womanizing ways, but in fact tears of happiness.
Princess Charlene described this speculation, as well as rumors she attempted to escape in the days leading up to her wedding, as “categorical lies”.
Princess Charlene of Monaco boarded designer Roberto Cavalli’s yacht in Cannes on Wednesday evening as the designer invited a number of big names to let their hair down for the night.
Princess Charlene, 35, ensured she fitted in with the A list crowd by turning up in a stylish number.
She opted for a sleek black trouser suit with wide legs and a stylish blazer for the outing.
The princess even dared to flash some flesh with the plunging cut, while she wore her hair to the side in a sleek fashion.
To complete her look Princess Charlene carried a green clutch bag to give the ensemble a flash of color.
Obviously happy to be on the guest list, she grinned widely as she made her entrance on the boat
And once aboard she truly came into her own, happily mingling with the stars and even taking pictures with them.
Princess Charlene of Monaco boarded designer Roberto Cavalli’s yacht in Cannes
Princess Charlene even got the chance to chat to actress Sharon Stone, who she photographed during the evening as they chatted amongst themselves.
Throughout the rest of the night she was spotted chatting and giggling to pals at the bash as she managed to fit in with the prestigious guests.
While on board Princess Charlene would have also rubbed shoulders with the likes of Uma Thurman, Paris Hilton, Kylie Minogue and Adrien Brody, who all happily arrived at the yacht ready to party for the evening.
Earlier on in the night Princess Charlene had mingled at another event, where she posed for photographs alongside Julian Lennon.
Princess Charlene and Julian Lennon were at the exclusive LOVA World Images Exhibition, which showcased twenty photographs donated by five world class photographers, including Lennon, the Grammy Nominated Director and Wildlife/Fashion Photographer Kristian Schmidt and Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran to raise funds for The Lovaganza Foundation.
Following the LOVA World Images exhibition, a VIP beach party closed the bash at the Baoli Beach Club.
Other guests included the likes of Rick Yune, Kimberly Garner, Sid Owen and Julie Henderson.
Princess Charlene of Monaco put the spotlight back on South Africa, hosting a lavish gala dinner in celebration of all things South African at the glitzy Monte Carlo Opera House on Saturday night.
Princess Charlene, 34, attended South Africa Night with her husband, Prince Albert, and other family members, including her father, Mike and brother, Gareth.
Resplendent in a black and gold lace dress and with a beaming Prince Albert on her arm, Charlene looked fresh-faced and happy as she mingled with guests at the glamorous event.
Proceeds from South Africa Night will go to Princess Charlene’s personal charity, the Princess Charlene Foundation, which aims to help women and children on five of the world’s seven continents.
The gala evening also kicked off a week of festivities called A Touch of Africa, which will focus on Princess Charlene’s home nation and run in and around Monte Carlo until the 6th October.
Guests at the event included former James Bond actor, Sir Roger Moore, while Swedish model Victoria Silvstedt was also in town for the event.
In true South African style, the gala included music from African favorite Johnny Clegg, whose rendition of popular hit, Asimbonanga, had the well-heeled crowd up on their feet and dancing the night away.
Performing alongside a troupe of Zulu dancers, Johnny Clegg carried a ritual staff and sang a medley of tracks from his latest album, Human.
“There is a crisis for music in South Africa,” Johnny Clegg told reporters ahead of the gala.
“These concerts are a wonderful way of promoting our country’s musicians.”
After entertainment in the opulent marble-floored, Salle Garnier, guests moved to the nearby Café de Paris for a private dinner on the terrace.
Billed as a “voyage of discovery into African gastronomy”, chefs Dobby Doolooa and Jean-Claude Brugel created a special menu for the event, focusing on South African classics – albeit with a Monégasque twist.
The Africa Night Gala capped what has so far been a highly successful year for Monaco’s Prince Albert and Princess Charlene.
After a rocky start to their marriage, the couple has adapted to wedded bliss and look more in love than ever.
Princess Charlene of Monaco looked as stunning as every as she attended the annual picnic at Le Parc Princesse Antoinette yesterday.
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene looked in high-spirits as they met their subjects during the principality’s popular celebratory event.
Prince Albert, who is one of the world’s wealthiest royals with a fortune of more than $1billion, was as cheerful as could be as he showed off his consort to the adoring crowds.
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene looked in high-spirits as they met their subjects during the principality's popular celebratory event, the annual picnic at Le Parc Princess Antoinette
And the South African former swimmer has clearly taken to her royal duties like a duck to water, as she was composed and friendly throughout, and was photographed graciously accepting some flowers from an excited local girl taking back in the ceremonies.
The 54-year-old head of the House of Grimaldi donned a traditional outfit for the engagement, while Princess Charlene wore a classy long grey skirt, white tank top and pink scarf.