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Prince Albert II, 56, and Princess Charlene of Monaco, 36, issued a statement today announcing with "immense joy" that their first child will be born before the end of the year, according to the AP via Yahoo! News.
The statement was brief and did not offer up any other details, but the news is sure to send a ripple of excitement through the tiny country of Monaco. The child will be the heir to the nation, and until it is born, the throne will pass to Princess Caroline, Albert's older sister.
The couple met in 2000 but did not marry until July of 2011. Albert has been the subject of tabloid fodder because of his previous playboy ways, and many people were worried he would not produce a viable heir to the throne. The prince, who is the son of Grace Kelly, already has two children who will not be considered because they were born out of wedlock.
Charlene, née Wittstock, hails from South Africa and is a former Olympic swimmer. She herself has been under the scrutiny of the tabloids since marrying Albert, mostly because of the amount of time that passed between the wedding and her pregnancy.
Princess Charlene is not the only royal Olympian. Zara Phillips, the cousin of princes William and Harry, is an accomplished equestrienne and competed in the 2012 London games. Both of Phillips' parents also competed in the Olympics: her mother, Princess Anne, competed in the 1976 games, and her father, Captain Mark Phillips, won gold in 1972 and silver in 1988.
Let's just hope that Charlene's royal pregnancy goes a bit more smoothly than Kate Middleton's. Middleton was hospitalized early in her pregnancy with Prince George and diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.
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