Status: 02.10.2023, 04:45 a.m.
By: Annemarie Göbbel
Charlène of Monaco was born with a different name. But the Princess of Monaco put up with a change in her baptismal name when she married Albert II.
Monaco – Very few people suspect that Charlène of Monaco (45) had a great deal in common with her mother-in-law from the very beginning. The US actress Grace Kelly (52, † 1982) became Princess Gracia Patricia at her wedding on April 18, 1956 to Prince Rainier III (81, † 2005). And Charlène of Monaco also changed her first name at the suggestion of the palace when she stepped down the aisle with Prince Albert (65).
Since her marriage, a French accent has suddenly appeared above the "e" in Charlène
The wedding on July 1, 2011 was accompanied by several innovations. Charlène not only received Monegasque citizenship, but was also given a small but subtle change in the form of an adapted name. The South African ex-swimmer Charlene Wittstock – mind you, without a line above the first "e" in Charlène – became Charlène of Monaco by an accent grave.
What's the point of the French accent sign all of a sudden? When the blonde 33-year-old became princess of the mini-state on the Côte d'Azur, the palace had apparently had similar thoughts as it once did with Gracia Patricia. "Since the official language in Monaco is French, her name is also written in French," says Marilyne Cerminara from the press staff of the palace in Monaco, explaining the sudden accent above the name of the country's mother Charlène.
Whether Charlène or Charlene, her wedding to Albert was a stroke of luck for Monaco
The exhibition about their wedding alone attracted 100,000 visitors in less than a month in the second smallest state in the world (after the Vatican State). Meanwhile, visitors are treated to collectible cups and other memorabilia of the princely couple all year round. The local tourist office is also rubbing its hands with satisfaction in view of the good occupancy rate of the hotels, as all fixed festival dates, which are also in the palace calendar, are regularly well attended.
Charlène of Monaco: There is often still confusion about the correct pronunciation
As simple as the pure act of renaming may seem, the more complicated it becomes when it comes to the correct pronunciation. Confusion reigns here to this day. The Anglophone Charlene (pronounced: Scharliehn) became the Monegasque-French Charlène (pronounced: Scharlähn).
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For Charlène of Monaco and Gracia Patricia, the last two princesses, Monegasque citizenship was accompanied by a name change at their wedding (photomontage). © PanoramiC/Imago & Mary Evans/Imago
The question of what the cosmopolitan Prince Albert himself calls his wife, who is 20 years his junior, also remains unanswered – after all, he has known her by her English name for years. Especially since Charlène herself, as has been criticized again and again, speaks English that is more familiar to her even more often. Supposedly, she is practicing French diligently, but apart from an occasional "hello" and "goodbye", little can be heard of it.
But even more was expected of the young princess, she should give birth to an heir to the throne and at the same time let the image of the small principality shine in new splendor. In the meantime, the Monegasques have been enjoying the twins Gabriella and Jacques for eight years. And no one can complain about too little interest in the mini-state. Charlène dominates the headlines, be it with her charity work, her characteristic sense of fashion or the rumours of Albert II's separation.