18 JANUARY 2008

Prince Albert of Monaco was joined by two of the most important women in his life - his sister Princess Stephanie and girlfriend of two years, Charlene Wittstock - as he joined in the fun at the principality's world-famous Circus Festival in Monte Carlo. The annual spectacular, which was founded in 1974 by Albert's late father Prince Rainier, attracts international acts from traditional trapeze artists to clowns and is one of the highlights of the Monegasque social calendar.

Charlene's presence at yet another high profile Monaco event will reinforce speculation her royal love might be preparing to finally settle down. An engagement this year would happily coincide with them both celebrating landmark birthdays, with the South African swimmer turning 30 on January 25 and Albert celebrating his 50th on March 14.

The prince certainly seemed keen to make sure his girlfriend was having a good time, keeping an attentive eye on her as they applauded the acts inside the big top.

Meanwhile, his sister Stephanie was in her element. The princess – who is president of the event - is one of the circus' most enthusiastic supporters, and even spent several months touring Europe with a circus troupe while seeing elephant trainer Franco Knie in 2000. She also enjoyed a relationship with Portuguese trapeze artist Adans Lopez Peres, the eldest son of an acrobat-clown and a flamenco dancer.

Photo: ©
Prince Albert kept a tender eye on his love of two years during the performance, while his sister was clearly enjoying herself enormously Photo: © AFP
Photo: ©
Stephanie is an ardent fan of the circus and has attended the Monte Carlo event every year since her father founded it in 1974 Photo: © AFP