Pop Goes the Principality
And it marked the first time the Grimaldi brood—Prince Albert, 35, and Princesses Caroline, 36, and Stephanie. 28—has been together at a public event since before the funeral two and a half years ago of Stefano Casiraghi, Caroline's second husband, who was killed in a speedboat mishap. (Their father, Prince Rainier, minded the palace.) Hopeful Monegasques got another glimpse of bachelor Albert's sometime date, supermodel Claudia Schiffer, 22, who insists with some credibility that the two are just friends. "The day he gets married is the day the) will stop asking me about him," she said resignedly.
Stephanie, that erstwhile pop wannabe, chose the venue to make her first formal public appearance with her live-in lover (and former bodyguard), Daniel Ducruet, 28, since she announced her pregnancy last year. In November she gave birth to their son, Louis, and although the once audacious Princess can groove—backstage, Jackson asked her to sing on his next album—she's no longer in the mood. Said she: "My career right now is being a mother."
The stars quickly eased into Monaco's leisure mode. Patrick Swayze and his wife, Lisa Niemi, took a speedboat out in the harbor, and old buds Turner and Stewart caroused loudly in the square in front of the Hotel de Paris into the wee smalls. Throughout the festivities, though, a kind of funky intercontinental protocol kicked in. Turner curtsied to the Prince; the Prince high-fived the members of Boyz II Men; and singer Nona Gaye proclaimed Albert A-OK. "Just like a regular American," she said of the Prince (who in fact is a 1981 alum of Amherst College in Massachusetts).
Although the flu-stricken Jackson left his hotel suite only twice, he was the big hit. One enthusiastic admirer, trying to hug him as he left the ceremony, actually knocked the star to the ground. "He just got overexcited," the unruffled Jackson said later. Pop's self-anointed king found a less pushy fan in the Prince. "Awe is probably a big word," said Albert, "but I was certainly impressed when I met him."