Monaco royal wedding: Bride and groom invite guests to 'capital of romance'

Hailed the "millionaire's playground", it is a principality famous for its casinos, yachts and crystal-clear azure waters. 

Ever since the late Princess Grace gilded Monaco with Hollywood star power, the jet-set retreat has boasted wealth, glamour and beauty.


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Today, a new generations of royals including her son Prince Albert and his stunning niece Charlotte Casiraghi hold court in the enchanted Mediterranean destination.

And it is frequented by Formula One drivers and A-listers such as Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez.

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Now, the principality's sovereign is hoping that his nuptials will emulate the 'Kate and William' effect felt in Britain where the royal wedding attracted an extra four million visitors to the country.

The charismatic royal will exchange vows with elegant South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in a weekend of majestic celebrations from July 1.

And the Prince and his fiancée want to "share (the most important days of their lives) with their fellow citizens and visitors".

MUSIC

Concerts, a spectacular light show and open air parties are expected to lure 200,000 well-wishers to Monaco, for a wedding locals hope will turn their home into "the capital of romance".

On June 30, the eve of the civil ceremony, the bride and groom, both rock 'n' roll enthusiasts who've been known to dance wildly to Iggy Pop, are inviting them to boogy along to the Eagles at a gig in the Louis II stadium.


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CIVIL CEREMONY

The following day they will officially become man and wife in the Throne Room of Monaco Palace, with the royal family's registrar officiating.

Big screens in the Palace square will allow residents to follow their exchange of vows.

In one of the most eagerly awaited moments, the newlyweds will then appear on the balcony of the Salon des Glaces, surely sealing their love with a kiss before their people.

Afterwards Albert, until his engagement one of world's most eligible royal bachelors, will escort his new princess down to the square for a buffet featuring Mediterranean and South African delicacies.

More music is on the agenda, as the couple are to be serenaded during a waterside performance by Jean Michel Jarre, open to all well-wishers.

RELIGIOUS CEREMONY

The next day, July 2, the festivities will begin all over again as they celebrate their union with a joyous religious ceremony, led by Bernard Barsi, the Archbishop of Monaco in the Palace's main courtyard.

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PROCESSION

Charlene, now Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, will leave the Palace, accompanied by her new husband, to lay her bouquet in the Sainte Devote Church.

Along the procession route hundreds of thousands are expected to congratulate the newlyweds.



EVENING GALA

Later, Albert will whirl his radiant bride around the ball room of the Monte Carlo Opera house during a glittering reception, starting at 9pm.

The entire party wraps up at midnight with a spectacular fireworks display.

Visitors planning to join the celebrations, shouldn't be worried about the huge numbers expected to descend on the principality.

As Bouqui Michele, the head of tourism, put it confidently: "We are prepared and know how to celebrate".

 

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