Monaco's royal twins finally had their first official appearance. On Wednesday morning, which was declared a public holiday, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene presented their newborn twins to the people of Monaco from the balcony of the royal palace.
Charlene, 36, and her husband, 56, cradled Gabriella Thérèse Marie and Jacques Honoré Rainier as they proudly waved to a cheering crowd of nearly 3,000 people holding the nation's flag and colorful balloons. Both newborns, who were born on December 10, were swaddled in white blankets.
Prince Albert has previously spoken about how he couldn't be happier. "I was present in the operating room and assisted at their birth," the Monaco royal explained to French weekly Paris Match. "I helped my wife as I could — that's to say, by my presence. It was wonderful. I don't have the words to describe how it felt then or the deep joy I feel now."
— Mónaco Informativo (@PrincipadoMonac) January 7, 2015
Charlene also explained that they were born two weeks early, but she was overjoyed the first time she heard the babies cry. “I was obviously a bit overwhelmed with emotion,” she said. “Every second with them is magical. I look forward to spending more time in their presence.”
According to their mom, Gabriella and Jacques are already very active and expressive. Speaking of her babies, she gushed, “They are beautiful, adorable, I’m crazy in love with them.”
These are the first offspring for the Zimbabwe-born former Olympic swimmer who married Prince Albert, 56, the son of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, in July 2011.
The Prince has two children from previous relationships, but as they were born out of wedlock, they do not qualify for the Monaco throne.
The birth has changed the order of the line of succession, which previously held Princess Caroline, Prince Albert's sister, as the heir. Now Jacques is the crown prince and shall receive the title of Marquis of Baux (in Provence).
As previously decreed, the heir is whichever twin is born first, unless it's a male. "In the case that one is a girl and the other a boy, it will be the boy," the Palace announced earlier this year.
The little prince is set to inherit an estimated $1 billion fortune along with leadership of the Grimaldi clan, which has ruled Monaco since the 13th century.