08/03/1998 at 01:00 AM EDT
The unofficial statement on July 15 from the press office of Monaco's pink palace was brevity itself: "Camille Marie Kelly was born at 9:23 a.m. Mother and child are doing well." It was, after all, the third time that Princess Stephanie, 33, the youngest of Prince Rainier and the late Grace Kelly's three children, had borne a child out of wedlock. Still, there is a difference. While Stephanie made no secret of her affair with bodyguard Daniel Ducruet, whom she married after the birth of their two children, Louis, now 5, and Pauline, 4, this time she won't name the dad.
The mystery left tabloids in France and England grasping for candidates. Ranging from farfetched to absurd, they included a well-known action star, a French soccer player and a ski instructor. Others smelled a cover-up—saying that the father is Ducruet, whom Stephanie dumped in '96 after he was caught romping with another titled woman—Fili Houteman, Miss Bare Breasts of Belgium 1995. Ducruet denies paternity, dryly noting that he could be Camille's father only "by an act of the Holy Ghost."
Stephanie's most-recent romantic attachment was Jean-Raymond Gottlieb, who is in his early 30s. Like Ducruet, he is a former royal family bodyguard and, until early spring, was Stephanie's beau. Gottlieb is by all accounts a nice guy. The couple broke up because, offers the French weekly Point de Vue, Gottlieb was "little accustomed to notoriety." He was at Princess Grace Hospital for the birth and has visited Stephanie and Camille since. So have Princes Rainier and Albert (at press time, Princess Caroline reportedly had not been to see the baby yet), who both, like most Monegasques, supported tephanie throughout her pregnancy. "In these times, it's not a question of morals," says a Palace source. "A princess can do what she likes."