How Monaco's royal twins brought joy to the principality

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On their birth cannon shots sounded across Monaco's ancient fort, and every subsequent step in the lives of Prince Jacques Honoré Rainier and Princess Gabriella Thérèse Marie has been accompanied by the pomp and ceremony befitting scions of a 700-year-old dynasty.

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The announcement published by the royal family on the birth of the longed for heirs

Yet, their arrival within minutes of each other just after 5pm on 10 December was also the fulfillment of a long-held personal dream for their mother Princess Charlene.

Asked if she wanted children in 2013, two years after her wedding to Prince Albert, the South African former swimmer addressed the expectations surrounding the royal couple. She replied: "I think kids will come. I don't put any pressure on myself. If it happens, it happens."

Now, doubly blessed, she is "crazy in love" with their precious twins, showering them with kisses and cuddles even on public occasions.

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Princess Charlene has said she is 'crazy in love' with the twins

Their first public appearance was the traditional presentation from the balcony of Monte Carlo's Princely Palace just after New Year – followed by their joyful christening on a sunny day in May. The bah-bahs, as their parents call them in private, then caused a fresh round of excitement at the tenth anniversary of Albert's accession to the throne.

The sovereign prince has been speaking more than ever about family life, praising Charlene as an excellent mother who gets up at 6am every morning with the babies.

"I don't think they would be as smiling and happy as they are if she weren't as good a mother as she is," he told People.

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The twins christening in custom-made Dior gowns in May 2015

Jacques, the heir to the throne, and his sister Gabriella certainly are happy and content, looking curiously around them at public appearances.

Their father has been eager to update the public about their progress, saying they are trying to walk and express themselves.

As they get bigger the children are also developing distinct personalities. Jacques is "a real boss" who takes after his father, Charlene revealed in an interview with Paris Match to mark Albert's tenth anniversary as Monaco's leader.

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Prince Albert holds Jacques who will one day follow him onto the throne

She added: "(My son) only needs a little sleep, and he's looking around all the time. He's very observant and has developed a real protective side, which he directs towards his sister Gabriella. They interact in their own little world. It's amazing to watch them."

Meanwhile, the little girl has "a real princess attitude". "I can tell you that her favourite colour is pink and that 'no' is a word she doesn't like," said the mother-of-two.

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