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U.S. teen revealed as part of Monaco's royal family
Los Angeles Times
PALM DESERT, Calif. — Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi, his serene highness, sovereign prince of Monaco, again admitted Thursday that he has partaken in a centuries-old tradition among European monarchs: He has fathered another illegitimate child, this one the ponytailed daughter of a former waitress who lives near Palm Springs.
Nearly 14 years after the mother first made a paternity claim against Prince Albert II, nine years after his father suggested he needed a bride before he could ascend the throne, a year after he took the throne as a bachelor anyway, his lawyer issued the confirmation to a French newspaper.
In Thursday's Le Figaro, lawyer Thierry Lacoste said the prince, son of actress Grace Kelly, "officially recognizes a paternity that was legally established a few weeks ago."
Albert, 48, who has been the reigning prince of Monaco since his father, Prince Rainier III, died in April 2005, wanted to keep the matter private until his daughter became an adult, but a crush of recent coverage in Europe made that impossible, Lacoste said.
A Royal Palace official said the prince will make no public statement until he returns from a trip.
Albert's daughter is Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, 14, an honor-roll member at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church and School. A copy of her March 4, 1992, Riverside County birth certificate, obtained Thursday, lists Albert as the father.
While she could receive a share of the prince's fortune, which has been estimated at $2 billion, she will not join the line of succession to the throne, because Monaco's constitution requires that its rulers are the products of formal Catholic unions. Lacoste also said the royal family does not recognize the girl's use of the Grimaldi name.
The teen's mother, Tamara Jean Rotolo, 44, could not be reached for comment.
Rotolo, whose father is a retired autoworker, apparently met Albert in 1991 while vacationing in the Cote d'Azur region in the south of France, near Monaco, according to media reports in Europe. She filed a November 1992 lawsuit alleging the prince's paternity, but a Riverside County Superior Court judge dismissed it on jurisdictional grounds.
The French media reported Tamara Rotolo is a former waitress. But she apparently now works in real estate. State records show that a Tamara Jean Rotolo is a salesperson at a realty office in Palm Desert.
In Palm Desert, an affluent community peppered with gated communities and high-end luxury stores, the news was met, alternately, with astonishment and apathy.
"You have got to be kidding. That's hysterical," said Maureen Hagen, 67, a resident in the Ironwood Country Club, where neighbors said Jazmin and her mother live.
At St. Margaret's, a scrum of international media waited for the teen to leave school as drivers zoomed by on Highway 74, shouting: "Leave her alone!" and "You jerks!"
At first blush, the revelations might seem a thorough embarrassment to Monaco, which is, at least on paper, a devout country.
Albert said upon taking the throne last year that he would make it a top priority to clean up Monaco. The effort has seen some success; Monaco has started a series of fraud investigations, belying Monaco's reputation as a tax shelter and a haven for corruption.
However, this is the second time in less than a year he has acknowledged fathering a child; last summer he admitted he had fathered a son, Alexandre, 3, with a former flight attendant from Togo.
Centuries ago, monarchs such as King Henry IV and King Charles II were renowned for their ability to produce illegitimate children because the broods were seen as evidence of virility.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company