Princess Stephanie Weds Father of Her Two Children
MONTE CARLO, Monaco (AP) _ Princess Stephanie of Monaco married her former bodyguard and father of her two children Saturday in a simple civil ceremony amid tight security.
Stephanie, 30, the youngest daughter of Prince Rainier and the late Princess Grace, and Daniel Ducruet, 31, were wed at Monaco’s Town Hall in a late afternoon ceremony attended by about 40 people.
The princess’ first cousin, the Baroness Elisabeth-Anne de Massy, and Ducruet’s brother Alain witnessed the marriage, performed by Mayor Anne-Marie Campora.
The princess and her groom entered Town Hall through an underground entrance, disappointing a crowd of tourists and well-wishers outside. Inside, a large flower display of white princess roses and peonies graced the building.
Photographers were kept well away by police, but still got pictures through a wrought iron fence of Stephanie in a white wedding gown with lace sleeves, her dark brown hair falling over her shoulders. Ducruet was in a dark suit.
``Bravo, DD, you finally got her!″ shouted one woman who had been waiting outside.
After the ceremony, the bells of Monaco’s cathedral pealed across the tiny principality on France’s Mediterranean coast.
The wedding put an end to a four-year battle between Stephanie and her father over whether she would marry Ducruet, a former pet shop salesman and fishmonger known to have a hot temper.
Ducruet, the son of a lawn bowling champion and a Vespa motor scooter saleswoman, was a palace bodyguard. He and Stephanie met when Ducruet was assigned to protect the princess during her short-lived career as a rock singer in 1988.
Rainier was reported to be strongly opposed to Stephanie’s relationship with Ducruet. Since they became involved, Stephanie has been noticeably absent from events involving the royal family.
Ducruet has previously been married and reportedly is waiting for an annulment of that marriage in order to wed Stephanie in a Catholic ceremony.
The couple has two children: Louis, 2 1/2, and Pauline, 1. Ducruet is also the father of a three-year-old boy with another woman.
Despite the parental opposition, the couple have been living together in Stephanie’s 13,000-square-foot villa about a three-minute walk from Rainier’s palace.
Their children were baptized on Easter Monday this year, the first time Rainier and the rest of Monaco’s royal family appeared in public with Ducruet and members of his family.
That gathering was thought to symbolize Rainier’s acquiescence to the relationship. According to Monagesque law, a member of the royal family cannot be married without the permission of the sovereign.
Contrary to the media circus that characterized Rainier’s wedding to the former Grace Kelly and the wedding of Stephanie’s elder sister Caroline, Stephanie’s marriage Saturday was a strictly private affair.
Photographers crowding around City Hall were routinely escorted over the border to France by Monagesque police.
Stephanie and Ducruet hosted a dinner for about 50 guests Saturday evening at the Pistou Restaurant in Monte Carlo. The couple discreetly entered the hotel via an outside staircase as helicopters carrying photographers buzzed overhead. Stephanie had changed into a white jacket and skirt.
Rainier and his son Albert, heir to the throne and Stephanie’s elder brother, attended the wedding but not the dinner.
There were no known plans for a honeymoon, since the couple have just returned from a holiday in the Canary Islands with their children.