07/06/2005 AT 11:00 AM EDT
Prince Albert II of Monaco acknowledges that he has an illegitimate child with a former flight attendant from Togo, his lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, confirmed in a statement Wednesday.
Lacoste says the 47-year-old Albert, who is unmarried and without an heir, desires to face up to his responsibilities. The lawyer added that the child, now
22 months old, would not be in line to inherit Albert's throne.
Following the April death of Albert's 81-year-old father, Prince Rainier III, stories emerged in the French press linking the younger prince to former Air France flight attendant Nicole Coste, who is Togolese and holds French citizenship.
In interviews, Coste said she met Albert on a flight in 1997. This subsequently led to a relationship and the birth of the boy, Alexandre, in August 2003, she told Paris Match magazine. At the time, Coste said she went public with the tale because, "I want Alexandre to grow up normally with a father."
In making Albert's paternity announcement, Lacoste also took the press to task for breaking the story so soon after the elder Rainier's funeral.
"Prince Albert II asks the press to adopt responsible behavior, similar to what it has adopted in similar circumstances for other public figures, and to respect his private life and that of the underage child," Lacoste’s statement concluded.