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People Top 5
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- July 25, 2005
- Vol. 64
- No. 4
The Mother of Prince Albert's Baby: A Secret Love
Days Before Ascending to Monaco's Throne, Prince Albert Admits Having a Child with a Former Flight Attendant
Not cash-wise, anyway. The paternity acknowledgment doesn't give Alexandre rights to the Grimaldi name or throne (Albert's successor is technically now his sister Princess Caroline, 48), but it does have a whopping repercussion: As stipulated by French law, the boy is guaranteed to inherit half of Albert's fortune—estimated at between $1 and $2 billion. The baby "will have the same right, same claim to inheritance as the Prince's other children should there be other children," says Albert's lawyer Thierry Lacoste.
In the wake of the announcement, Coste—a divorcée originally from Togo who met the Prince in 1997 and is also the mother of two children by her ex-husband, a French researcher—"feels a tremendous sense of relief" now that the matter is settled, says a friend. "She got what she wanted, and she's glad it's over."
For Albert's part, he has now admitted that he signed a secret affidavit acknowledging paternity months after Alexandre's birth, gives Coste $12,000 a month in financial support and has deeded a $2.5 million house in the South of France to their son. He also said that his son is already "totally part of my private life," and plans to see him regularly in the future. In light of all that, Monegasques seem unruffled by the revelations. "Albert's handled the situation in the only way he could," says author and veteran royal watcher Isabelle Rivère. "The right way."
Still, there may be more little surprises to come. In 1993, a paternity suit against Albert alleging that he was the father of a 13-year-old daughter by Tamara Rotolo, 43, a former secretary who met the Prince during a European vacation, was dismissed by California courts for lack of jurisdiction. And on July 11, in an interview on French television, Albert sidestepped what could—literally—be the billion-dollar question. "Are you prepared for other similar...revelations?" the interviewer asked.
"I know there are other people who have nearly the same cases," Albert replied with a stammer. "We'll answer that when the time comes."
Susan Schindehette. Peter Mikelbank in Paris
- Peter Mikelbank.
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