A French newspaper is reporting that Charlene Wittstock was intercepted by Monaco police as she attempted to flee her upcoming nuptials to Prince Albert II, and that she was forced to hand over her passport.
Monaco's royal palace vehemently denied reports earlier this week that Wittstock had bought a one-way ticket home to South Africa and was trying to flee days ahead of her wedding.
Prince Albert's lawyer Thierry Lacoste threatened to sue L'express - the first to report on the runaway bride - if they did not retract the story. He has since abandoned legal action although the newspaper did not remove the story entirely, but added a correction that the royal palace denied the claims.
Today, another French newspaper - Le Figaro - is insisting that the original report is indeed true, and offered further details:
Last Sunday, one among [Monaco police] revealed that his colleagues had intercepted the future princess at Nice airport because she wanted to leave.
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And, according to this officer, the young lady's passport was taken from her.
Le Figaro is citing a senior law enforcement officer in Monaco as the source for their report, saying: this speculation has been given credibility by the indiscretions of the Monaco police, and noting that the interior ministry had refused to comment on the story.
Prince Albert has acknowledged two illegimate children - the leading rumored explanation for Wittstock's attempt to flee is her discovery of a third that he had kept from her.
Albert must produce a legitimate heir to the throne, or the Grimaldi dynasty will be forced to cede Monaco to France.
The couple is attending an Eagles concert tonight to kick off their wedding weekend.
[Sources: Metro, Mail & Guardian]