Prince Albert of Monaco announced goodbye to his bachelorhood with an engagement to South African ex-swimming champion Charlene Wittstock, according to media reports Thursday.
A brief statement confirmed the engagement but did not put a date on the eventual wedding.
According to protocol, royal couples must wait at least six months between the announcement of the engagement and the wedding day.
The 52-year-old prince is the son of deceased Prince Rainier III and the late Hollywood actress Grace Kelly and has ruled Monaco since succeeding his father in July 2005.
He has acknowledged fathering two children out of wedlock and his courtiers is hoping that this marriage might produce a legitimate heir.
"It's been 30 years since Grace died, 30 years they've been waiting for a first lady, a princess, a dream beauty, glam. And voila!" said Colombe Pringle, executive editor of Point de Vue magazine.
As a five-time Olympic bobsledder, the prince probably ranks as the most successful royal force in sports in recent years. He met the 32-year-old willowy blonde in 2000 when she traveled to Monaco for a swimming competition.
Wittstock won gold in the 100-meter freestyle in the All Africa Games in 2001. Before moving to Monaco in 2006, she also worked as a schoolteacher.