Princess Caroline's intimate family wedding at Monaco next week has turned into a super Hollywood-style extravaganza that could be titled "The Student Princess."
Nearly 5,000 people will dance at the marriage-festivities inspiring both an international social scramble and common-touch scenes that seem to have been written by film scriptwriters.
One of the least significant persons at the wedding will be the bridegroom, Philippe Junot, son of one of former French premier Jacques Chirac's Gaullist associates. He has to compete against Europe's faded royalty and solid-gold stars like Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Cary Grant and David Niven.
Britain's Prince Charles is believed to have turned down his invitation because he felt it all rather comic opera, preferring to attend a police cadet ceremony instead. But he may have been less embarrassed than Princess Grave who reportedly is not very struck by Junot and long hoped that Caroline would be a future queen of England.
For the moment, Caroline is better copy for the French popular press than the World Cup, particularly as the preliminaries to the wedding have been shared between taking her second year philosophy examination at the Sorbonne, a series of flashy nights out and visits to Christian Dior.
The more information released, the more it is obvious that there was a fierce family struggle between Princess Caroline and her mother. The original intimate wedding was meant to show the Rainers' reluctant approval of a marriage to an aging playboy. Caroline is 21 - husband-to-be 38.
While the guest list has grown to include 4,000 natives of Monaco and the uncrowned heads of Europe, Princess Grace has kept a veto on invitations. About 600 people other than the Monegasques are being invited to the wedding ball to see Caroline in her diamond-studded Dior gown, but in most cases, they have to have impeccable morals. Even some of Junot's friends have been turned away.
Pretenders to the French, Italian and Romanian thrones and heirs to the Spanish and Swedish crowns have received the royal seal of approval, but other minor royalty who all but begged on bended knees for an invitation have been dismissed because they are divorced or separated, it is said. Several American millionaires, friends of the Kelly family, have also been turned away even though they had already got their yachts in Monte Carlo harbor. One millionaire's wife reportedly has been taken to the hospital, as a result, with a nervous breakdown.
One of the household staff said that Princess Grace was a strict Catholic and expected her guests to be above moral reproach - a threat that may have caused Junot to cut short his own much publicized career as a leading light in the Paris disco scene. When he arrived with his future bride at Monaco yesterday he was put in a separate wing of the castle.
Extra guards are being recruited to man the castle walls to repel the hundreds of journalists and photographers expected at the wedding and a ban has been placed on photographing the castle and overflying the principality. But the deluge of articles turned out over the past few days has already left a series of conflicting portraits of the princess.
One is the simple home-loving girl, dressed in jeans, driving through the Sorbonne in her auto, and decorating her kitchen with wallpaper covered in cherries. The other is a sort of super snob, cutting other students but mixing with every social climber in Paris [WORD ILLEGIBLE]American millionaire who can pick up the bill at Maxims.
But in the royal household it is claimed that the people of Monaco rather than the princess decided that this was going to be an extravaganza. When the news broke of an intimate ceremony, locals turned their backs on Prince Rainier as he drove round town. They resented the fact that there would be no popular feast as at his wedding. There was even talk of a public protest.
Now every Monegasque of Caroline's age will be invited to luncheon, and she is to walk in procession through the old town to have her wedding bouquet blessed by the parish priest. After that she picks up her wedding present from her parents, a $183,000 honeymoon yacht built in Southampton, England, and just right for sailing into the sunset.