Monaco prince to leave behind his scandalous bachelor years

Prince Albert II of Monaco is finally putting decades of bachelorhood and media scandal behind him to marry his long-term girlfriend, an Olympic swimmer 20 years his junior.

Prince Albert, 52, met Charlene Wittstock, a competitor for South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, at an international swimming competition in Monaco. He is also a former Olympian having competed in five Games between 1986 and 2002 as part of Monaco's bobsleigh team.

The son of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace of Monaco – the former American actress Grace Kelly – has been linked to a string of beautiful women including Claudia Schiffer and Brooke Shields. He has also admitted to fathering two illegitimate children.

For the past four years he and Ms Wittstock have made frequent public appearances together at charity dinners, balls and sporting competitions.

The wedding date has not yet been announced.