Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco
Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco

Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco

(Photo : Caras)


Turffontein, South Africa

3 November 2012

If ever there was a “rags-to-riches” story which parallels the rise of Cinderella, it belongs to Charlene Wittstock, otherwise known as Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco. Before we explain the fairy-tale, allow us to quickly acknowledge that her presence on Saturday 3rd November at Turffontein for the Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup raceday, is a wonderful coup for horseracing, and that coupled with the presence of our honour guests, His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho and his charming wife Queen Masenate, will make it a right Royal occasion.

Back to our fable. The Wittstock family is of German origin, Charlene’s great-great-grandparents Martin Gottlieb Wittstock and his wife Louise, having emigrated to South Africa from the Pomeranian village of Zerrenthin in Northern Germany in 1861, to escape hardship. In South Africa the Wittstocks worked as handymen and prospected unsuccessfully for diamonds. Charlene’s parents, Michael and Lynette, migrated to Bulawayo, in the former Rhodesia, where her mom was a competitive diver and swimming coach. They returned to South Africa when Charlene was 11 years old, and Charlene grew up and, like her movie star counterpart, Charlize Theron, attended junior school in Benoni, on Johannesburg’s East Rand.

Her teenage years were spent in Durban, where she returned after a spell at the University of Pretoria in 2005, becoming a South African Olympian swimmer and national champion in the process. What’s important here, for those aspiring princesses out there, is that before she became a member of the household of Grimaldi as consort to Prince Albert II of Monaco, Charlene had made her name as an international swimming celebrity, so she’d already earned her own stripes. Of course, it helps that she was also a ravishingly beautiful woman with a naturally regal bearing. Unlike Cinderella though, her shoes are closer to size 10 than number ten, which is appropriate for someone not far short of 6 foot in stature.

Take a bow Emperors Palace and Phumelela for this one. The fish don’t get much bigger, and the buzz and the mob around the R2.5million Cup this year, will be all the greater for Her Serene Highness’ presence.