Charlene Wittstock: Meet the woman marrying Prince Albert II of Monaco
(CBS) Now that Prince William and Kate Middleton have tied the knot, royal-watchers have shifted their attention to the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock.
The principality's ruler will marry the 33-year-old South African swimmer in an extravagant, three-day affair that will include a civil ceremony in the Throne Room of the Prince's Palace, followed by a religious ceremony in the palace's main courtyard the next day.
But before they tie the knot, here are a few things you should know about this royal bride-to-be:
1. She's a former Olympic swimmer. Wittstock represented South Africa at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, where she competed in the women's 4x100m medley. The team placed fifth.
2. She met Prince Albert back in 2000. The couple met when Wittstock was visiting Monaco for a swimming competition that year, and the couple made their official debut at the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. She reportedly has lived in Monaco since she unofficially ended her training in 2007.
3. She's following in Grace Kelly's footsteps. Albert and Wittstock's wedding will be the first marriage of a reigning prince since Kelly married Albert's father, Prince Rainier III, in 1956.
4. She's ending the prince's notorious bachelorhood. While his father's reign was defined by his marriage to Princess Grace, Albert was known for being a longtime bachelor - so much so that Monaco's Parliament changed the constitution in 2002 to allow one of his sisters' sons to take the throne if he never produces an heir. He fathered a son and a daughter out of wedlock, but neither can assume the throne.
5. She's working on her French. "As for the French language, it's probably one of the most beautiful in the world. I speak a little bit and I can follow conversations, but I think it will take time to improve myself," Wittstock told Madame Figaro magazine in an interview published in May.
6. She converted to Catholicism. Wittstock was raised Protestant, but converted to Roman Catholicism, Monaco's official religion, in anticipation of her wedding. "Miss Charlene Wittstock, who professes the Christian faith, has been admitted by free and personal choice into full communion with the Catholic Church," the palace announced in a statement in April.
7. She'll wear Armani on her big day. People magazine, citing Italian newspapers, reported in January that Giorgio Armani told reporters he is designing Wittstock's wedding dress.
8. She wants to have children soon. "I love children," she told the French newspaper JDD on June 11. "A family is in our plans. We hope to have a child soon."
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