Prince Albert of Monaco and wife Princess Charlene arrive at the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 26, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT PORTRAIT ROYALS)

LONDON: Prince Albert of Monaco’s South African wife, Charlene Wittstock, has become “depressed” at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir, it has been claimed.

Princess Charlene is said by unconfirmed reports to have struck a “deal” with the principality’s playboy ruler to bear him a child after allegations – rejected by the prince’s spokesmen – that she tried to flee before their wedding last summer.

But the 33-year-old princess had not yet fallen pregnant, France’s Voici magazine reported yesterday.

Albert has fathered two love children, but neither can succeed him as they were born out of wedlock.

Voici magazine said: “Charlene has made the subject of pregnancy a taboo topic around the royal palace. She may have a smile on her face at official functions, but inside she is stressed and frustrated.

“This subject is weighing more and more heavily on her shoulders.”

Rumours of a rift and a “pregnancy pact” emerged even before the couple were married in a lavish state wedding 10 months ago.

Charlene was said to have bolted for Nice’s airport two days before they married after hearing Albert had had a third love child since he began courting her.

Palace officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the prince and his reluctant bride that she provide him with a legitimate heir.

After that she would be free to leave of her own free will, it was reported in July.

One source said at the time: “Charlene will provide an heir, then if things don’t go well, she will receive a generous divorce settlement once she’s served a decent amount of time.”

Albert, 54, has a seven-year-old son, Alexandre, with Togolese air hostess Nicole Coste.

He has a daughter, Jazmin, 20, born after a brief affair with American estate agent Tamara Rotola.

When interviewed on NBC’s Today show last year, Charlene said suggestions that she was reluctant to marry Albert were “hilarious”.

“Why would we go to all this effort, to have this fantastic couple of days, and have our most intimate and dearest friends come and join us, for us to be reluctant?” she said.

Albert suggested the rumours might have been triggered by jealousy from people who “did not like the fact that we were finally together and married”.

He was apparently told on the day of his wedding that he would have to take a paternity test to determine whether he was the father of the third illegitimate child.

Charlene, who was accused of trying to run away three times before the wedding, said the rumours were generated purely to sell magazines.

But she spoke earlier this year about her “loneliness” in Monaco, and said: “I have only two people I consider friends here.”

Before he met Charlene four years ago, Albert dated dozens of the world’s most famous and beautiful women, including Brooke Shields and supermodel Claudia Schiffer. He also battled persistent rumours that he was gay.

A government spokesman said that once he met Charlene, Albert knew he had found the woman he wanted to provide an heir. The spokesman told France’s high society Point de Vue magazine: “Charlene has beauty and style. We are all praying she will ensure the royal succession.” – Daily Mail