The Good News Prince

Prince Albert makes a surprise visit to Alexandre Rinaldi at Les 5 Saveurs yesterday. Photo: Les 5 Saveurs Facebook.

Yesterday, I came across Peter Allen’s article “EXCLUSIVE: Prince Albert of Monaco to appear in court in new year to fight claims he fathered a THIRD love child before marrying wife Charlene.”

It is hardly surprising that a “bombshell” piece would follow the recent photos of Princess Charlene with her partly shaved head. Clearly her unspoken words are manifesting and sending tongues wagging.

In the mid-2000s, I was a stringer for People Magazine (which, I confess led to a life-long habit of reading the Daily Mail as it was available in print along the Riviera while People was not) and part of my stint was being a liaison with the Palace.

In fact, in 2006, I contributed to “Who’s Your Daddy?” – a piece on the Prince and the recognition of his daughter Jazmin Grace. I spoke to his attorney, Thierry Lacoste, who was very down to earth and forthcoming about the situation.

While I am grateful to People and the by-lines, I have never been comfortable trying to get “sources” to diss on friends or employees, and the pressure of being asked to find palace insiders gave me nothing but diarrhoea.

By the way, 2006 was also the year Prince Albert started a more serious relationship with Charlene Wittstock, five years after their first date.

Fourteen years later, I certainly have a deeper understanding of all things Monaco. Sure, even with the cafés closed, gossip is an active sport in the Principality with people carefully whispering and texting in code, but what the outside world will never understand is that the loyalty between the people and the Prince can never be broken – not by headlines, not by illegitimate offspring or by supposed marriage woes. This is not to say that residents are always happy with the quality of life or decisions made by his government, but the Prince’s personal life is his business.

What does matter, especially during trying times of a pandemic, is how Prince Albert supports the community, like making a surprise visit under the radar to a local business, one that has been working non-stop trying to survive and to help others on the Rock survive during the Covid crisis.

Un grand merci a Monseigneur qui est venu au magasin,” Alexandre Rinaldi of Les 5 Saveurs posted on Facebook last night. Alexandre tells me, “The Prince surprised me and I was extremely moved and happy.”

And that is Good News. Just not a headline that sells papers.