Monaco royals announce a baby on the way

PARIS Fri May 30, 2014 12:14pm EDT

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene of Monaco pose as they arrive at the Bal de la Rose in Monte Carlo March 29, 2014.    REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene of Monaco pose as they arrive at the Bal de la Rose in Monte Carlo March 29, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Gaillard

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PARIS (Reuters) - Monaco's ruler Prince Albert and his wife Princess Charlene are expecting their first child, they announced on Friday.

"T.S.H the Prince and the Princess of Monaco are delighted to announce the pregnancy of H.S.H. Princess Charlene," a royal announcement said. "The birth is expected at the end of the year."

The couple married in July 2011 in an opulent ceremony in the principality of Monaco, stomping ground of the rich known for its Grand Prix car race.

Prince Albert is the son of the late Prince Rainier III and actress Grace Kelly. Kelly set aside a career in Hollywood to become Princess Grace but died after a car crash in 1982.

Before her marriage into the ancient House of Grimaldi, whose family members have ruled since 1297, Charlene Wittstock was a national champion swimmer from South Africa.

The couple met when Albert presided over a swimming race in 2000 in which Wittstock was competing.

The royal family has been most recently in the news over the film that kicked off the Cannes Film Festival this month, "Grace of Monaco" by French director Olivier Dahan.

The film starring Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly was derided by Albert and his two sisters, Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie, as "a farce" based on "erroneous and dubious historical references."

(Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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