Monaco's Prince Albert II Celebrates 10 Years on the Throne: His 10 Biggest Moments
As the eldest (and only) son of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace, Prince Albert was destined for the throne at an early age. This was despite his having an older sister, Princess Caroline – just like Albert's son, Jacques, who is two minutes younger than his twin sister Gabriella.
Five years before his coronation, Prince Albert met South African president Nelson Mandela. Following Mandela's death in 2013, flags flew half mast throughout the principality in his honor.
During his last few years, Prince Rainier's health steadily declined; by March 2005 he was suffering from renal and heart failure. On March 31, it was announced that Prince Albert would take take over his father's post as regent. A week later, Rainier died, and Albert succeeded him. Here, he walks with his family, including sisters Princesses Caroline and Stephanie, at their father's funeral.
Later that year, Prince Albert officially succeeded his father in his formal coronation. Here, as part of both his enthronement and Monaco National Day celebrations, the Prince attends the Opera Garnier Gala Night.
Albert debuted his relationship with future wife Charlene Wittstock at the Opening Ceremonies for the Turin Winter Olympics in 2006.
After years of bachelorhood, Prince Albert became engaged to Wittstock, a stunning South African swimmer, in 2010. The two share an Olympic past – he competed as a member of two- and four-man bobsled teams in five Olympic games, from 1988 in Calgary to 2002 in Salt Lake City, and she swam in the Sydney games in 2000.
The couple honeymooned in Charlene's home country of South Africa. Since their wedding, Albert and Charlene have been plagued by rumors of a troubled relationship. Earlier this year, he told PEOPLE the murmurings were completely unfounded. "It's totally incredible that we have to justify ourselves all the time," he said.
After three years of marriage, it was announced that Charlene was expecting the couple's first child – and soon after, it was revealed they were expecting twins! Just two months before the birth, Charlene and Albert attended the Prince Albert II of Monaco's Foundation Award Ceremony in Palm Springs, California.
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene pose with Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques made another glamorous public appearance in their parents' arms at their christening on May 10 at Monaco's Cathedral. Albert told PEOPLE that despite their young age, the two have already shown distinct personalities. "Jacques is a little more loud and he moves a little bit more," the Prince said. "Gabriella takes her time, she's more, well, of a baby. But it changes quickly."
Most recently, Albert and Charlene visited Corsica, a French island off the coast of the Mediterranean, at the end of June. After the trip, Prince Albert spoke with Monaco Matin and said their easy manner together on the trip was evidence of the lack of turmoil between the couple. "I was in Corsica with her this week and I don't think we give the impression of a couple who are torn apart," he said.