Future princess Charlene impresses at 'homecoming' state gala dinner

To mark the end of the first day of their official state visit to Ireland, Prince Albert of Monaco and fiancée Charlene Wittstock attended a formal gala dinner.

Hosted by Irish President Mary McAleese and husband Dr Martin McAleese, the glittering event was held at the leader's official Dublin residence Aras an Uachtarain.


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Charlene wore a one-sleeve, floor length grey gown, which highlighted the former swimmer's shoulders. Sporting a stylish updo and chandelier earrings, the future princess looked stunning - epitomising the elegance that Princess Grace was renowned for.

The couple began their three day visit on Monday, welcomed by the President and her husband at their official residence, and spent their day visiting the National Museum. Next they visited Garden of Remembrance with the Irish Defence Minister, Alan Shatter, to attend a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of deceased soldiers.

Later in the day, they went their separate ways as Albert attended a meeting with Enda Kenny, the Prime Minister, while Charlene went to the Writer's Museum.

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The prince, whose mother was of Irish descent, says his stay is "more like a homecoming than a State visit". Prince Albert's schedule for his visit to the country includes visiting a cottage which was once the home of his maternal great-grandfather, John Bernand Kelly, who later emigrated to the United States.

The modest cottage and the land around it, in the little village of Drimurla, was purchased by his mother, the late Princess Grace of Monaco, in 1976, and is now owned by the Grimaldi Estate.

The couple's visit to Ireland comes 50 years after Prince Rainier and Princess Grace visited in 1961.

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