Cannon shots rang out to alert the principality of Monaco that two new heirs had been born, and every milestone since Prince Jacques Honoré Rainier and Princess Gabriella Thérèse Marie entered the world has been accompanied by similar pomp and ceremony. The wide-eyed babes are, after all, the scions of a 700-year-old dynasty.
Yet, their arrival within minutes of each other just after 5 p.m. on Dec. 10 was also the fulfilment of a long-held dream for their mother, Princess Charlene. Asked if she wanted children back in 2013, two years after her wedding to Prince Albert, the South African former Olympic swimmer addressed the expectations surrounding the royal couple. She replied, "I think kids will come. I don't put any pressure on myself. If it happens, it happens."
Now, doubly blessed, she is "crazy in love" with their precious twins, showering them with kisses and cuddles even on public occasions.
Their first public appearance was the traditional presentation from the balcony of Monte Carlo's Prince's Palace just after New Years – followed by their joyful christening on a sunny day in May. The bah-bahs, as their parents call them in private, then caused a fresh round of excitement at the 10th anniversary of Albert's accession to the throne.
The sovereign prince has been speaking more than ever about family life, praising Charlene as an excellent mother who gets up at 6 a.m. every morning with the babies.
"I don't think they would be as smiling and happy as they are if she weren't as good a mother as she is," he told People.
Jacques, the heir to the throne, and Gabriella certainly are happy and content, looking curiously around them at public appearances.
Their father has been eager to update the public about their progress, saying they are trying to walk and express themselves.
As they get bigger the children are also developing distinct personalities. Jacques is "a real boss" who takes after his father, Charlene revealed in an interview with Paris Match to mark Albert's 10th anniversary as Monaco's leader.
She added, "(My son) only needs a little sleep, and he's looking around all the time. He's very observant and has developed a real protective side, which he directs toward his sister, Gabriella. They interact in their own little world. It's amazing to watch them."
Meanwhile, the little girl has "a real princess attitude." "I can tell you that her favourite colour is pink and that 'no' is a word she doesn't like," said Charlene.