Despite rumors of a marital rift, Monaco's princess takes the witness stand

By Karen Nickel Anhalt and Peter Mikelbank
January 13, 2010 07:30 AM
Credit: Thierry Orban/Abaca

With rumors swirling about the possible status of her marriage, Princess Caroline of Monaco dealt with her husband, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, in a German courtroom on Wednesday – and spoke up in his defense.

Barely a week after scandalous photos of Ernst August cavorting with another woman while on Christmas vacation in Thailand were published in Germany and France, the princess took the witness stand, where her appearance was considered key to Ernst August’s appeal of his 2004 conviction for assault of Josef Brunlehner, owner of a disco near the prince’s vacation home in Kenya.

At the time, the prince was convicted of hitting Brunlehner with a hard object because of Ernst August’s displeasure with the disco’s nightly music and light shows. Found guilty, Ernst August was fined more than $600,000 and charged with causing serious bodily harm.

The new case, with Princess Caroline’s eyewitness testimony, is an attempt to reduce the severity of the conviction to a simple assault charge.
RELATED: Marriage of Monaco’s Princess Caroline Rocked by Photo Scandal

Hit with His Hand

Confirming her husband’s testimony, Princess Caroline told the court, “I observed that my husband slapped Josef Brunlehner twice with his hand flat and that he said, ‘One for the music and one for the light,’ ” reports ORF Television.

Princess Caroline, 52, was originally scheduled to testify in November but canceled due to other obligations. Her Wednesday appearance was negotiated for several months and dependent upon the court’s fulfilling certain security requests.

Still, the timing of her court date proved ticklish: Last Thursday, Germany’s Bunte and France’s Paris Match magazines published pictures of Ernst August embracing and kissing a mystery woman in a skimpy zebra bikini on a beach in Thailand.

On Friday, Germany’s mass-circulation newspaper Bild published a second and more explicit series of photos, while additional coverage surfaced on Sunday.

The couple, who are due to mark their 11th wedding anniversary this month, have not been seen in public together in six months – and that did not change on Wednesday. Not required to be present for the testimony, Ernst August was not in the courtroom for Caroline’s appearance.