Prince Albert: A Dowry for Bride Charlene?

Prince Albert, Princess Charlene: Dowry Time?
South Africa's Oyster Box Hotel, with Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock (inset)
The Red Carnation Hotel Collection; Amedeo M.Turello/Palais Princier Monaco

07/06/2011 AT 05:30 AM EDT

After the fairytale wedding comes the bill.

Amid tight security on Tuesday, honeymooners Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco arrived in Durban, South Africa, where they were greeted by the country's president, Jacob Zuma – who informed Albert he still needed to meet one local custom: a dowry for his South African-raised bride.

"It's a South African tradition that a man pays lobolo for a wife," joked Zuma, invoking the Zulu dowry custom of presenting a negotiated gift of cattle to the bride's family as proof that the bride will never go hungry. "So we expect Prince Albert to pay cows for his bride."

The couple, who married last weekend in a lavish ceremony, spoke briefly with Zuma at an International Olympic Organizing Committee cocktail party they attended after their overnight flight to the KwaZulu-Natal region's King Shaka International Airport.





While the bride, dressed in fitted black cocktail dress, looked relaxed and comfortable among friends at the reception, security for the former Charlene Wittstock on her first days as Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco has been strict.

According to local South African paper The Sowetan, "Law enforcement agencies kept curious onlookers away" at the airport. Their honeymoon hotel, the Oyster Box, has been closed to press and public alike.

"The couple asked us to make their stay as private as possible," hotel spokesperson Joan Hayes told the paper. "We are following their orders."

The royal newlyweds will be guests of honor Wednesday evening at a gala reception. Before that, they'll have another opportunity to work on that lobolo settlement – when Zuma sits them down to a private lunch.



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