Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrated the 70th birthday of her father, Mike Wittstock, at Emperors Palace on Monday night.
Honoured guests arrived from Benoni, Monaco, America and further afield.
They all braved the breezy, stormy weather of Monday night to be part of an auspicious night with Princess Charlene’s father and his family.
Dressed in what she called her “Benoni cowgirl” outfit, the princess surprised her father and his guests with a country dance and stroll as she sashayed into the birthday party area, carrying a tray with Mike’s favourite drink, a special cigar and a deck of cards and gambling chips, specially made for him with faces of all his grandchildren and family photos.
Another gift was a life-size portrait of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, together with their two bundles of joy, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella on their laps.
After the gift presentation, Princess Charlene took to the stage to say a few heart-warming words about her father and their journey together.
She thanked him for the role he played in the lives of her and her brothers, Sean and Gareth.
She acknowledged his leadership and his love for his family, and the continuous support he has always afforded all his children and his lovely wife Lynette.
“I am so ever proud of my father, my country and to be a Benonian. It always makes me happy to be back home and experience great memories with my family and my fellow countrymen. Dad, thank you for everything you have done for me and my brothers. We all love you.”
Bob Yearham, the Peermont (Emperors Palace) Group Gaming and VIP Operations Executive, shared these words on the night: “I welcome all the first-time visitors to our wonderful country and to The Palace of Dreams, Emperors Palace. If I could measure Mike’s whole 70 years into a one-hour time space, I would have probably known him for about 10 minutes. He is a good man, with a good heart, very knowledgeable and well read, very patriotic and an encyclopedia of information on so many things. I would never get into an argument with him about politics or Donald Trump, you could never win.”
For years now, Emperors Palace has been involved with a variety of great tourism and entertaining exchange programmes between their casino and the famous Monte-Carlo casino in Monaco.
Other distinguished guests included Brigitte Radebe, sister to Patrice Motsepe and a mining executive, also wife to South African Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe, South African swimming legend Ryk Neethling, Dave King – a Scottish-born, South African-based businessman and chairman of Rangers Football Club, Gavin Verij from Blue Label, Rodney Berman, who is the CEO of Golden Gloves, Kevin Taylor who is a London-based businessman, Tom Loffler, a boxing promoter in Santa Monica, California, and Andrew Mikhail, an advisor to Martin Murray and the MD of Solarking UK. Those were just a few of the names gracing the occasion. Larry Wainstein, the CEO of the Racing Association, presented Wittstock with a special trophy for his charitable achievements and involvement in the horse racing industry and with the Peermont Charity Mile.
An emotional Mike stood up on the stage and thanked all his childhood friends from the days of Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe), his family and all the guest from Benoni and further afield, and wished everyone great years of fortune and success.
The princess did not bring her two children with when she flew in on Monday for the birthday festivities. She flew back home the following day, on Tuesday, to be with her children.- Benoni City Times