SA leg for this royal wedding
Five days after marrying her Prince Charming, South Africa's Charlene Wittstock will throw a lavish seaside party in Durban to celebrate her royal nuptials.
Details of the elaborate affair at the five-star Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks on July 7 are closely guarded.
But the Sunday Times understands that the 200 guests will include royalty from other countries, as well as Wittstock's friends and family.
The party will be held just five days after Wittstock, a former Olympic swimmer, ties the knot in a fairytale wedding with Prince Albert of Monaco.
The former playboy and only son of Hollywood actress Grace Kelly and the tiny principality's late ruler, Prince Rainier III, will be part of a massive International Olympic Committee delegation attending a conference in the city from July 4 to 9.
Wittstock, 32, will use the opportunity to throw the party for those who can't make it to her Monaco wedding.
In February she stayed at the Oyster Box when she returned to South Africa and swam the Midmar Mile to raise funds for the Special Olympics.
The hotel underwent a R400-million refurbishment two years ago, resulting in industry magazine Condé Nast Traveller rating it as one of the best in the world and including it on its Hot Spa and Hot Hotel list.
Oyster Box general manager Wayne Coetser confirmed that Wittstock and Albert had chosen a tailor-made menu.
"It's a lavish affair, with a menu that will feature some South African delicacies," said Coetser, adding that only the "best champagne" would be served to complement the "bespoke" menu by executive chef Kevin Joseph.
"We're keeping everything under wraps, but I can say it will be a luxurious affair," said Coetser.
Rooms at the hotel, which cost between R4500 and R7990 a night, are fully booked.
Management has earmarked a prestigious suite for the newlyweds. The most exclusive would be the presidential suite, which costs R50000 a night.
The hotel's website describes it as "split over two levels, with a private lift ... the joy of a grand master bedroom with its own calm, exceptionally comfortable seating area and an intimate personal study".
On Friday, the palace's press office was unavailable for comment.
But a packed schedule for the two-day wedding has been released.
The civil wedding begins at 5pm on July 1 in the Throne Room of the Prince's Palace.
Giant screens erected on Palace Square will broadcast the wedding to the people of Monaco.
Less than an hour later, the bridal couple will appear on the balcony of the Salon des Glaces to salute the public, "who will be treated to a cocktail buffet", according to the palace website.
A further reception for residents will follow in the port, the highlight being a sound-and-light show by Jean-Michel Jarre.
The next day, the religious ceremony will take place at 5pm in the main courtyard of the Prince's Palace, where Wittstock's Giorgio Armani wedding gown will be on display.
At 6.30pm, the couple will head to the Sainte Dévote Church.
The official dinner and ball begins at 9pm at the Opera Garnier and on the terraces of the Monte Carlo Casino.
The entire ceremony wraps up at midnight with a fireworks display.