Monaco royal couple arrives in Durban
The newly wed Prince Albert of Monaco and Princess Charlene arrived in Durban yesterday as rumours that the prince had fathered a love child while courting the South African swimming star continued to spread in foreign newspapers.
The royal couple flew into King Shaka International airport just after 10am. They were whisked away to the Oyster Box hotel, in Umhlanga, immediately after being welcomed by KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize and eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo .
On their arrival at the five-star hotel, police kept onlookers away from the entrance and the couple's vehicle. In the hotel's reception area, a display with the couple's portrait next to the Monaco flag was erected.
The hotel closed its doors as soon as the couple were inside.
Security guards barred entrance to the premises, saying the hotel was closed for the day.
Several guests who had come for lunch said they were turned away.
According to the hotel's media officer, Joan Hayes, the couple had asked that the media not be allowed on the premises.
"They asked that their stay be as private as possible. We are simply following their orders," said Hayes.
The couple had lunch at the hotel and then made their way to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, where a meeting of the International Olympic Committee was under way.
Welcoming the couple to the meeting, President Jacob Zuma joked that the prince had yet to pay ilobolo for his South African bride.
The UK's Daily Mail yesterday reported that the prince was to undergo tests to determine the paternity of a child he allegedly fathered while he and the former swimming star were courting.
Charlene was reported by a French publication to have tried to board a plane to South Africa a few days before her wedding.
The Monaco royal house has vehemently denied the reports.
The couple, who tied the knot on Saturday, are expected to host acocktail party to celebrate their wedding tomorrow night.
Missing from the cocktail party list will be Zuma and Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini.
However, Zuma will have lunch today with the newlyweds.
"President Jacob Zuma will [on Wednesday] have lunch with His Serene Highness Prince Albert and Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco at the presidential residence in Durban," the Presidency said. - Additional reporting by Canaan Mdletshe