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Princess Stephanie and her daughters roll up for the circus

22 JANUARY 2013

Monaco's Princess Stephanie and her daughter Pauline Ducruet were first in line when the Monte Carlo Circus Festival kicked off recently. Now, almost a week into the colourful extravaganza, Stephanie was once again in attendance – and this time her youngest daughter Camille Kelly Gottlieb was also brought along for the fun.

The proud mum and her teenage girls were greeted by performers in fancy dress who presented Prince Albert's sister with a bouquet of flowers. Once inside, the royals stood front row and allowed themselves to be swept up in the magic of the circus.

 

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An annual event, The International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo is well loved by the Grimaldi clan, who are always invited to attend the opening night. The 10-day show, now in its 37th year, was founded in 1974 by Stephanie's late father, Prince Rainier III, and features impressive feats from trapeze artists, jugglers and clowns.

Stephanie is particularly in tune with her father's legacy, and took the family's passion for the circus one step further when, aged 36, she enjoyed a romantic liaison with married elephant trainer Franco Knie and moved, along with her three children, into a Swiss caravan to live the circus life.

However, that relationship came to an end in 2002, and Stephanie and her children have since returned to the Monegasgue fold, where Pauline, 18, and her 14-year-old sister Camille grow up on home soil alongside their elder brother, Louis, who is 20. 

Pauline and Louis are the result of Stephanie's relationship with her former bodyguard Daniel Ducruet. The princess fell for the dashing bodybuilder when he accompanied her on a tour to promote her music album in the early Nineties. The couple married in 1995 but divorced a year later. 

 

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Stephanie then went on to welcome another child,  daughter Camille Marie Kelly Grimaldi, in July 1998. Initially, the identity of the baby's father was a mystery, though reports later named him as bodyguard Jean-Raymond Gottlieb.

Forty-seven-year-old Stephanie has spoken of the strong bond she shares with her daughters, particularly Pauline. In an exclusive interview with HELLO! she said: "My relationship with Pauline is special. She knows I will always be there to hold her hand. We have the same expressions and gestures. I tell her sometimes, 'you are my mini me.'"

Stephanie also made it clear she was keen to raise her children away from the spotlight, "to blossom away from prying eyes."

As Pauline has grown up, however, she has been making a name for herself in the diving world. Whilst her cousin Charlotte Cairaghi has a respectable equestrian career, Pauline's sporting prowess is more evident in the swimming pool.

In 2010, she took part in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore and was cheered on by Prince Albert, her parents and sister Camille. Then aged 16, Pauline struck up a friendship with British diving champion Tom Daley who went on take a bronze medal for Team GB last summer.

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