Prince Albert Strikes Back at Marriage Rumors
07/21/2011 AT 08:00 AM EDT
Dogged by persistent rumors that their early July wedding was not going to take place because of new revelations about the groom's private life – and continuing press speculation concerning the nature of their marriage – Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco addressed representatives of three news outlets on Wednesday evening, only hours after the couple returned from their honeymoon.
"We want to express our outrage about these rumors. It's unbearable," declared Albert, 53, reports Nice-Matin, one of those publications hastily summoned to meet with the newlyweds. The newspaper described the prince as "visibly ... wounded."
"What is regrettable is that the media seized on these rumors without verifying their information," complained Albert, as his bride sat beside him, holding his hand. "I find it unworthy of your colleagues. I have always respected the freedom of expression. But the dissemination of false information is lamentable and subject to criminal penalties."
Questions and speculation surrounding the couple's marriage have been unparalleled in the French press since the week before their $50 million wedding in July. This includes charges that Charlene sought to flee the nuptials only to be stopped at the airport by Monaco officals – vehemently denied by the palace – as well as allegations that Albert has fathered another child out of wedlock.
Despite palace attempts to deny rumors, the couple's activities during the official South African portion of the honeymoon were also analyzed and subjected to tabloid rumor.
"Sometimes these rumors made us smile, such as when the media explained that the princess and I had not slept in the same hotel in South Africa. It was for practical reasons of course," Nice-Matin quotes Albert as saying.
The couple's extended July 9-20 honeymoon in Mozambique was "a wonderful stay," said Albert. "We were not disturbed. It was a dreamy atmosphere."
Explaining what may have promoted the rumors, Albert said, "There are people in Monaco who seek to harm us." He made no further comment and refused questions.
During the royal audience, which was mostly conducted in French, Princess Charlene was asked whether she had anything to add.
"No," she replied in English. "I think that says it all."