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Monaco's Princess Charlene expecting first child

By Staff Reporter

Princess Charlene of Monaco, who married Prince Albert II in 2011, has announced she is pregnant with the couple's first baby.

The 36-year-old South African former Olympic swimmer and her husband issued a statement expressing their "immense joy" at the news.

The statement says that the birth is expected before the end of the year. Although it does not elaborate, this implies that the style-conscious princess is at least three months pregnant.

The news is sure to please the palace and end recent tabloid media speculation about why Charlene, after nearly three years of marriage with 56-year-old Albert, had not yet provided an heir to the jet-set European principality.

Until the baby is born, the Monegasque heir remains Princess Caroline – Albert's older sister – and then her eldest son, Andrea Casiraghi, who's recently become a father.

The Monaco baby news is likely to set off a frenzy in the fashion press as to how she will dress her bump. Demure Princess Charlene is known for her elegant fashion style, patronising designers such as Giorgio Armani, who designed her couture wedding dress.

Since her marriage, Charlene's official title is Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco. The previous holder of the title was her husband's mother, Grace Kelly, who died in 1982.

Princess Grace died after a car crash in 1982, and her widower Prince Rainier died in 2005.

Prince Albert II has been Monaco's ruler since the death of his father.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene had a lavish wedding ceremony in 2011 after meeting in 2000.

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