Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene, have accepted an offer of damages from Britain's Sunday Times over a story that suggested she was reluctant to marry him.

The couple were not at London's High Court today for the settlement of their libel action against Times Newspapers Ltd.

The monarch's solicitor, Mark Thomson, said the July 2011 article, which appeared two days after their wedding, accused the prince of having the princess's passport confiscated at Nice airport to prevent her from fleeing Monaco.

It suggested she was reluctant to marry because she had discovered the existence of a third love child, but agreed to the marriage for the sake of appearances in return for payment with a view to obtaining an annulment after a seemly interval.

"None of these allegations are true," Mr Thomson told Mr Justice Eady.

He said that the newspaper had admitted that they were untrue and accepted liability for making such defamatory claims.

It had apologised and confirmed it would pay the couple damages, to be assessed at a later stage if not agreed, and their legal costs.

The article - headlined "The Full Filthy Monte" - also alleged that the prince had turned a blind eye to corrupt activity and granted residence permits to foreigners for fear of having alleged secrets about his love life exposed.

Mr Thomson said that the publication caused the newly-weds enormous upset and embarrassment, particularly so in view of the huge publicity and worldwide interest given to their wedding.

Solicitor Rupert Earle for Times Newspapers offered its sincere apologies for the damage and distress caused.