'I just totally ignored them': Princess Charlene dismisses 'runaway bride' rumours in first joint interview with Albert

The days surrounding the marriage of Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock this summer were blighted by rumours of a runaway bride and a paternity test scandal.

But in their first joint interview since they wed, the couple have dismissed the widespread media reports.

Charlene, 33, who is in New York with her husband, 53, this week for the Princess Grace awards, called suggestions that she was reluctant to marry 'hilarious'.

Happily married: The newlywed Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco dismissed rumours of problems in their relationship in an interview with the Today Show this morning

She told the Today show: '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.'

Describing how she handled the pressure, South African-born Charlene told how she channelled skills learned in her former career as an Olympic swimmer.

'I think I kind of went into Olympic mode there,' she admitted. 'I was in the zone, and I don't think anything was affecting me at that time.

'Obviously there were a lot of things going on at the time... I just ignored them and focused on what that day meant to the two of us.'

Olympic mode: Charlene said she ignored the rumours, and focused on what the day meant to her and Albert

Her husband, who was told on the day of his wedding that he would have to take a paternity test to determine whether he was the father of a third illegitimate child, expressed a little more sensitivity over the matter.

He said the rumours might have been triggered by jealousy from people who 'did not like the fact that we were finally together and married.'

'I think I kind of went into Olympic mode there. I was in the zone, and I don't think anything was affecting me at that time'

He called suggestions that their sober expressions during the ceremony were an indication of unrest in their relationship, were 'unfair'.

Turning to his wife, he said: 'I thought I paid attention to you, smiled at you many times - but maybe that's not enough for some people.'

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

'There was also a wonderful opportunity for them to ride on something,' she explained. 'A negative spin, because people would buy the magazines, or listen to all the negativity.'

She said the experience taught her not to take things too seriously.

Glitz: Princess Charlene and Prince Albert arrive at the grand opening of Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess in New York

Event: The royal couple stand alongside Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway at the glamorous awards gala at Cipriani

Tribute: The couple attended the Princess Grace awards, in honour of Albert's mother, in New York last night

'When all the rumours had started and people were questioning this and that, I just totally ignored it. [I learned], you know, not to take things so seriously, and to just let it go.'

Drawing a line under the subject, Albert added: 'It's behind us now... And I hope it'll never come back.'

The Prince, whose mother, the late actress Grace Kelly, became Princess Grace when she married his father, Rainier III, described how he still had a close relationship with the U.S.

He said: 'I feel very much a connection [with the U.S.]. It's very much alive. Not only in my family connections - I still see a lot of my relatives every year - ...I've been to every state and I don't think many people can say that!'

'I've enjoyed my time here tremendously over the years, and [now] I want to share it a little bit with Charlene.'

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