Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I knew it!

Monaco's Prince Albert admits fathering son

Prince Albert II of Monaco has acknowledged he is the father of a toddler born to an Air France flight attendant he met in 1997.

Stories about Albert's link to the boy broke in the European media in May, a short time after Albert lost his father, Prince Rainier III, and became the ruler of Monaco.

Prince Albert II at his father's funeral in April. (AP file photo)

A lawyer representing Albert confirmed the boy's paternity in a statement Wednesday, saying the prince had waited to comment until after the end of the official mourning period for his father.

The lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, said Albert intends to act responsibly toward young Alexandre, who was born in August 2003.

Lacoste also asked the media to allow the boy to have a normal childhood without a barrage of attention from photographers and journalists.

Alexandre's mother is Nicole Coste, a native of Togo who is now a citizen of France. She was working as a flight attendant when she met Albert eight years ago.

The 47-year-old prince, whose mother was former movie star Grace Kelly, has never married.

He will formally take the throne of Monaco on July 12.

According to the principality's constitution, Alexandre cannot be next in line for the throne because he was born out of wedlock.

The elder of Albert's two sisters, Princess Caroline, is due to ascend to the throne next because of a 2002 constitutional change allowing women to rule Monaco.

Albert and Caroline also have a sister Stephanie. The Grimaldi family has held the throne of Monaco since 1297.

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