Monaco's royal twins are 11 months old and they are making good progress, says their proud father Prince Albert. He revealed that Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella are starting to take their first steps.
The Monegasque sovereign was speaking about family life with Princess Charlene in an interview with Monaco Matin ahead of the principality's National Day on November 18.
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Jacques and Gabriella were last seen at a picnic in August wearing national colours
"(The twins) are doing very well, we have just celebrated their eleventh month and they will be with us on the balcony for the national holiday, if it isn't too cold," the 57-year-old prince promised.
He went on: "They are beginning to take their first steps and trying to say little bits of words. They really want to express themselves and I speak to them in French. In everyday life, they are very playful and curious.
Albert met Charlene, a former Olympic swimmer, when she took part in a championship in Monaco. The couple, who married in a lavish three-day celebration in 2011, are already keen to pass their love of sport on to their children.
"They have already watched a little rugby and football on TV with us and they were really interested."
The twins are also trying to express themselves
National Day will be a slightly more sombre affair than usual out of respect for victims of the Paris attacks. The prince has cancelled the traditional fireworks on the eve of the celebrations and at the weekend he ordered flags to be flown at half mast on official buildings.
Nevertheless, the event should give the public a welcome chance to see the heir Jacques and his sister Gabriella, who were last seen in August at a picnic in the principality.
Their mother Charlene seems to have cut her hair into a striking pixie style for the occasion. It's hoped that Albert's nephew Pierre Casiraghi and his new wife, Italian society beauty Beatrice Borromeo, will join them on the balcony in their first appearance since their romantic wedding, which was celebrated in Monaco and her family's private islands.
Pierre, who is the younger son of Princess Caroline, got married in a civil ceremony in one of the palace's salons. The newlyweds were then joined by no less than 700 guests at their "garden party-style" reception.