For their first real birthday party, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella of Monaco — both 2 — got a true taste of adventure.
Drawing on her South African roots, the twins’ mom Princess Charlene organized a surprise safari-themed party on Wednesday for the royal toddlers, their nursery schoolmates and a number of children of palace employees. There was cake with candles, lions and tigers (well, actors in costumes) and a train ride through the wild jungles of Monaco.
Because Charlene was slated to attend a Children’s Rights Summit in India during the twins’ actual birthday on Saturday, the surprise party was organized before her departure and photos were shared on the Palace’s official Facebook page on the twins’ actual birthday.
Both the princess and Prince Albert II surprised their children’s guests (who had received formal party invitations, festively decorated with engraved balloons) outside their school at noon, boarding them on Monaco’s Le Petit Train, a tourist-type tram, for a ride to a “mystery destination” according to one planner.
After a winding and sun-filled voyage across the principality, the party emerged portside. Excitement built, adventure continued, as the trek continued slowly, the train climbing around the harbor edge until — like an elephant caught in his pajamas — the procession suddenly halted outside the Rowing Club facilities where disembarking guests (and their accompanying parents) were met by costumed lions and tigers, bears and gorillas. Inside, the club restaurant area had been transformed into an African outpost with cutouts, picnic tables, toy animals, mini-Jeeps and tropical plants.
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The result of months of planning, the two-hour party inside the restaurant packed with activities. There were organized games, coloring tables, cartoons, and a ball pool (redubbed a “wild African pond”). When a Genoise au chocolat (a chocolate sponge cake) with two candles made it’s appearance, “Happy Birthday” was sung (in English) and the children —with help from their parents — blew out the candles.
Heading home for afternoon naps, guests were handed one last royal treat: a gift bag containing theme-continuing balloons, toys, crayons and a special cupcake created by Palace chef Christian Garcia.
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