A 'Princess Diaries' Moment for Albert's Daughter
Monday, June 5, 2006
PALM DESERT, Calif. -- This desert oasis that has long been home to presidents and movie stars now has a touch of royalty.
Her name is Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, and she is the 14-year-old out-of-wedlock daughter of Monaco's Prince Albert II and a California woman who reportedly worked as a waitress.
If it sounds like the plot of a Disney movie, it is -- almost.
Unlike the fictional Mia of "The Princess Diaries," Jazmin won't face the painful decision of whether to take the throne of the 700-year-old dynasty. The royal family of the tiny principality recognized her Thursday but said she will not be in line to the throne. Monaco's constitution requires parents of heirs to the throne to be married.
Jazmin's life quickly took on the trappings of royalty -- namely, the hordes of paparazzi -- after word came from Europe that Albert acknowledged that he was the teenager's father.
Photographers and reporters converged on Palm Desert and watched from across the street at St. Margaret's Episcopal School, where she has been an honor student, and the world media sought details about her and her mother, Tamara Rotolo, 44.
But Jazmin and her mother were nowhere in sight, and police warned a reporter and photographer they would be arrested if they set foot on school property. A bodyguard kept watch after classes began.
The community two hours east of Los Angeles also responded protectively. "Leave that poor girl alone!" a woman yelled from a car stopped at a traffic light.
At the end of the school day, a ponytailed blond girl in a school uniform was escorted to an armored sport utility vehicle registered to a Los Angeles security firm. The girl did not respond to reporters' shouted questions.
The same SUV was later seen leaving a gated country club and resort community with waterfalls and lush landscaping. A security guard turned away a reporter requesting to visit the family.
The area, which includes the towns of Palm Springs, Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage, has long been a playground or retirement area for the rich and heads of state, including former presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and other stars used to golf or party in the area.
Confirmation that Albert was Jazmin's father followed years of rumors about a daughter, and Albert's acknowledgment last July that he fathered a boy out of wedlock by a former flight attendant from Togo.