MONACO - A day after the civil wedding that transformed one-time Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock into the Princess of Monaco, the South African and her prince, Albert II, were to say their vows in a star-studded religious ceremony in the tiny principality Saturday.
But it was all happening against a backdrop of a story that wouldn't go away and keeps getting denied - that Wittstock wanted to scrap the wedding.
Guests expected at the Catholic service and gala dinner to follow Saturday included assorted European royals, heads of state, top models and world class athletes.
Household names expected to converge on the princely palace -- an Italian Renaissance castle where Monaco's ruling Grimaldi dynasty has resided for centuries -- included French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, U.S. soprano Renee Fleming, former "007" Sir Roger Moore and Giorgio Armani, the Italian designer who made Charlene's wedding gown.
Celebrated French-born chef Alain Ducasse was preparing a multi-course dinner for 450 guests. He has said freshly caught fish and vegetables grown on Albert's farm will be on the menu.
The couple was married in what CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata called an "intimate, if a little stiff and sterile" civil service Friday inside the prince's palace. Albert's sisters, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie, were among several dozen guests at Friday's ceremony, which was held in the palace's sumptuous throne room where the prince's father, the late Rainier III, wed Hollywood legend Grace Kelly in 1956.
The blond beauty died in a car crash nearly 30 years ago, and this tiny principality on the Riviera has been without a princess ever since.
Known as a notorious ladies man, 53-year-old Albert long eschewed marriage, and many Monegasques had resigned themselves to forever having a bachelor prince.
The constitution was even modified to ensure the continuity of the Grimaldi line, one of Europe's oldest dynasties, in case Albert never produced an heir.
The prince has acknowledged having fathered two children out of wedlock, but only his legitimate offspring would be able to succeed him.
Rumors have swirled in recent days that a third illegitimate child had surfaced -- supposedly prompting Wittstock to try to call off the wedding and return to South Africa days before the festivities.
"The story goes that Wittstock had a one-way ticket back to South Africa," D'Agata says, "but the prince's people confiscated her passport so he could persuade her to stay."
"Sje probably was completely nervous," Majesty magazine Editor in Chief Ingrid Seward says, "and thought, 'I've had enough.' But it is an unfounded story as yet."
The palace says unfounded -- and untrue, D'Agata notes, adding that Albert himself "seemed a little reluctant when explaining why he took so long to get married in an interview earlier this week.
Albert said through a translator, "I didn't want to rush things and commit to a relationship that could have gone differently if things had gone too fast."
Wittstock said, "I love children and I've always wanted to have children of my own someday. We'll see in the next couple of months or years."