When he was enthroned on July 12, 2005, Princess Grace's only son Prince Albert of Monaco was a bachelor without a legitimate heir, painfully mourning the death of his 81-year-old father, Prince Rainier III. Fast-forward 10 years and the world knows a different Albert: a family man married to a statuesque and stylish Princess Charlene – a beautiful blonde not unlike his iconic mother – and who is father to not just one heir, Prince Jacques, but also a twin daughter Princess Gabriella, both just 8 months old.
CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR GALLERY OF PRINCE ALBERT AND PRINCESS CHARLENE'S ROMANCE
His path from bachelor prince to royal family man began when he and then Charlene Wittstock began their friendship after meeting during a 2001 Monaco swim tournament. Talk began circulating of a more serious relationship in 2005, but it wasn't until a year after his enthronement, and after photos emerged of the pair kissing during a vacation in the Maldives, that it became clear that Charlene was a possible candidate to be Albert's much-awaited princess.
The couple announced their engagement in June 2010. Prince Albert – who had been linked to glamorous women from Brooke Shields to Claudia Schiffer, and had two children born out of wedlock (making them ineligible for the line of succession, according to Monaco law) – would finally be walking down the aisle.
The couple wed in a civil service on July 8, 2011, and held a spectacular religious ceremony the following day, cementing Charlene's status as Prince Albert's true princess. "I feel immense excitement and joy," she told Nice Matin. "I’m also aware that it is a very important moment for the Monegasque people. I will do all I can do to fulfill their expectations.”
As the people of Monaco celebrate Prince Albert's 10th anniversary as ruler, we look back at 10 defining moments on his road from newly-enthroned heir to established eigning Prince with an heir of his own – of course, with Princess Charlene at his side.CLICK ON PHOTO BELOW FOR GALLERY FOR ALL THEIR PRECIOUS MOMENTS