30 MARCH 2009

A highlight of the Monaco social season, the principality's annual Rose Ball usually has famous and aristocratic guests donning their finest in its honour. This year, however, the event took on a new twist with a one-off rock'n'roll theme which had the ruling Grimaldi family and Prince Albert's companion Charlene Wittstock getting into the retro vibe in Monte Carlo.

Champion swimmer Charlene had adopted a stiffly backcombed hairstyle for the event which this year had been renamed the Rock 'N' Rose Ball.

A regular at the annual bash since she struck up a relationship with the Monegasque leader three years ago, the South African enthusiastically hit the dancefloor with her royal beau.

The couple were clearly inspired by the surroundings of The Sporting Monte Carlo Club, which for the occasion had been transformed into a 'rock temple', complete with references to America's famed Route 66.

Invitees boogied amid memorabilia such as motorbikes and posters, while vinyl records acted as placemats.

In an inspired touch the guest of honour was 82-year-old rock meister Chuck Berry, who played a rousing set. The Roll Over Beethoven singer was greeted warmly by the ever elegant Princess Caroline.

At first sight Prince Ernst of Hanover's wife appeared to have favoured a traditionally classic approach with her white floor-length gown. Closer inspection revealed she had followed the Fifties theme by carrying her posy of roses in a motorcycle helmet.

The princess had fun with her accessories, too, with the two bracelets circling her wrists made of champagne bottle tops.

Caroline's daughter Charlotte Casiraghi also added youthful vitality to the retro ball, getting on down with some funky moves alongside a posse of equally glamorous friends.

Photo: Getty Images
The highlight of Monaco's social calendar, the ball was even more animated than usual this year, with Charlene Wittstock and her royal beau Prince Albert going for broke on the dancefloor
Photo: Getty Images
Princess Caroline, who added a funky touch to her outfit with bracelets made of champagne bottle tops, was clearly enjoying herself at the rock-themed gala where she welcomed 82-year-old music legend Chuck Berry
Photo: Rex
Her daughter Charlotte joins in the fun
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