Honeymoon couple Princess Charlene (nee Wittstock) and Prince Albert II of Monaco arrived in Durban yesterday for their honeymoon, and are lunching with South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma today at the King’s House Presidential Residence in Morningside, Durban.
After their lavish wedding at the weekend, the couple are reported to be staying at Umhlanga’s beachfront five-star Oyster Box Hotel. And just as Monaco honoured South Africa with many displays of the South African flag, apparently the Oyster Box has returned the favour by flying the flag of Monaco next to a portrait of the newly weds.
The couple was met at the airport by Zweli Mkhize, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, and James Nxumalo, mayor of the eThekwini district (which includes Durban).
South Africa was selected as the royal couple’s honeymoon destination not only because of Charlene’s roots, but also because they are attending the International Olympic Committee (IOC) AGM – the first time it’s being held on African soil – where the host country for the Winter Olympics 2018 will be announced. Prince Albert II is a member of the Committee.
At the IOC Presidential Luncheon yesterday, President Zuma joked that the Prince had not yet paid “iLobolo” for Charlene!
The luncheon was held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. During his speech President Zuma also said:
We are honoured to welcome the esteemed members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to South Africa for its 123rd session.
Exactly a year ago, we had the pleasure and honour of hosting the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup tournament.
The tournament brought the world together to our country and to the continent to celebrate sports and friendship.
It proved that indeed sport is a powerful tool that brings the people of the world together regardless of political, religious, economic or any other difference.
We thank you for your support during that competition. We are pleased to host yet another major sporting event, and look forward to working with you to ensure the success of this crucial meeting.
The Olympics movement is special in this country given the solidarity we received in 1964, when the IOC banned apartheid South Africa from participating in the Tokyo Olympics, a ban that was to span 32 years.
We also warmly welcome the 2018 Olympic Winter Games candidate cities of Munich in Germany, Annecy in France and PyeongChang in South Korea.
We wish all three cities well during their nail-biting wait!
Allow me to also extend a special welcome to His Serene Highness Prince Albert and our own Princess Charlene of Monaco. We continue to treasure the pride that Princess Charlene brought to South Africa as an Olympic swimmer. She continues to be our wonderful ambassador to the world.
Esteemed Members of the IOC,
Welcome to Durban and welcome to KwaZulu-Natal, the land of the great statesman King Shaka kaSenzangakhona.
Welcome to South Africa. We trust that you will find time at the end of this session to explore this province and enjoy the wildlife, golden beaches and everything that KwaZulu-Natal has to offer.
An IOC reception for 400 guests will be held at the multi-award-winning Oyster Box tomorrow evening.