In a recent interview HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was again asked the question about marriage and his longtime girlfriend Charlene Wittstock. The Prince's response was, "One day, but not today". This is only the latest dodge of the question for the middle-aged monarch who many if not most have given up hope of ever marrying and having a family of his own. Still, given how long his association with Wittstock has lasted there are still those who think that later if not sooner she will be his bride. As for this observer, it is a case of once biten twice shy. Some time ago when there were rumors of an impending engagement and wedding plans underway at the Princely Palace I took the bait and thought this time it would really happen. Of course that turned out to be completely incorrect.
However, when considering this issue it is important to keep a few things in mind. Although it can be debated whether or not young Andrea is being properly prepared to rule or not there is no doubt that, for the time being, the succession is secure with Princess Caroline, Andrea and Pierre all waiting in line. I would also caution against anyone trying to find a case of victimhood between Albert and Charlene. No one is forcing them to do anything and if either of them was unhappy with their relationship I have to believe it would have ended some time ago. There is something to be said for royal-watchers to simply relax and let the Sovereign Prince and his beloved determine their own course -it is their life after all.
Yet, I would also shy away from those who constantly dismiss the whole issue as unimportant and far from pressing. It may not be positively crucial as in times past, but Albert II is no longer a young man. Not an old man certainly, but still not a young man anymore. Were he to marry and have children at this point they would not be of age to succeed on their own for quite some time in which case a regent might be required anyway (and in which case I would think Princess Caroline the ideal choice if, God willing, she's still with us at that distant and hypothetical date). I would like to see the Prince married with children and have a traditional Princely Family for Monaco again as much as anyone; the golden days of Rainier and Grace still live on for that very reason. However, Prince Albert has also learned the hard way that not everyone he trusts has proven themselves trustworthy (not that I am implying anything about miss Wittstock at all!) and that may make him hesitant to walk to the altar as perhaps might the unhappy marriages of others in his family. He may remain the bachelor prince forever or he may follow the example of his late great-grandfather Prince Louis II and surprise everyone with a very late-in-life marriage.