Prince Albert and his older sister Princess Caroline have gotten into the festive spirit as they were seen taking their children to Monaco’s Christmas village.
Albert, 63, marked the first weekend of December by taking his six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella to inaugurate the annual Christmas village, which comes complete with entertainment, festive decorations and fairground rides.
He was joined by his sister Caroline, 64, her son Pierre Casiraghi, 34, and his wife Beatrice Borromeo, 36, who all appeared to be in good spirits at Friday’s event.
Albert’s wife Charlene, 43, was absent from the festive outing, as she remains in treatment for physical and mental exhaustion following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa.
It is Albert’s third public appearance with Jacques and Gabriella since Charlene was admitted to a treatment facility, and he was seen paying particular attention to them at both.
Photographs showed Albert, who sported a face mask throughout the visit along with the rest of his family, leaning down to speak to the twins, while other snaps showed him picking up Jacques so he could pet a giant plastic bear.
Prince Albert took his six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella to Monaco’s annual Christmas village. They were joined by his sister Princess Caroline, her son Pierre and his wife Beatrice
Albert’s wife Charlene, 43, was absent as she remains in treatment for physical and mental exhaustion. Pictured: Albert with his children Jacques and Gabriella, and his sister Caroline
Photographs showed Albert, who sported a face mask throughout the visit along with the rest of his family, leaning down to speak to the twins
It is Albert’s third public appearance with Jacques and Gabriella (all pictured) since Charlene was admitted to a treatment facility
The family seemed to be having a fun-filled trip as Jacques and Gabriella were also pictured riding on a bauble-themed fairground ride and looking at the decorations.
A body language expert recently claimed Albert has ensured his children feel supported and protected at royal engagements in the absence of their mother Charlene.
‘It wouldn’t be unusual for a father to step up to the plate with his children while a mother is unwell or absent like this but for a royal male of Alberts generation this tactile and very focused behaviour might not have been a given,’ body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL.
Last month, Albert’s wife Charlene was admitted to a treatment facility in an undisclosed location within days of her return to Monaco following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa.
Her husband Prince Albert spoke out to say she is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’, while friends recently told Page Six that the mother-of-two ‘almost died’ while she was in South Africa.
A source spoke to Page Six last week and slammed the ‘portrayal of mental health issues’, claiming that the extent of her health complications are being ‘downplayed’ and the mother-of-two has lost ‘half of her body weight’.
Speaking to the publication, a source described as the royal’s friend said: ‘It is unfair that she is being portrayed as having some kind of mental or emotional issue.
‘We don’t know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa.’
The twins (pictured) sported face masks throughout their visit to the Christmas village, where they got the chance to enjoy fairground rides
Pictures showed Albert picking up six-year-old Jacques so he could pet a giant plastic bear at the annual Christmas village celebrations
Albert and his children were joined by his sister Caroline, 64, her son Pierre Casiraghi, 34, and his wife Beatrice Borromeo, 36, who all appeared to be in good spirits at Friday’s event
Explaining that the royal had a severe ear, nose and throat infection, which resulted in ‘severe sinus and swallowing issues stemming back from an earlier surgery’.
They added: ‘She has not been able to eat solid food in over six months because of all the surgeries she has since gone through. She has only been able to take in liquids through a straw, so she lost nearly half her body weight.’
Charlene returned to her husband and twins Jacques and Gabriella in Monaco last month following a 10-month absence, while she recovered from surgery following a sinus infection she contracted during a solo charity trip to her native South Africa earlier this year.
In the days after her arrival, Charlene’s sister-in-law Chantell Wittstock, told MailOnline the princess may not be returning to the palace and did not plan to immediately return to public engagements, although she later retracted the remark.
Charlene’s time away followed fresh allegations last December that Albert had fathered a love-child (which would be his third, if proven) with an unnamed Brazilian woman during the time when he and Charlene, a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, were already in a relationship.
Albert said the family reunion in Monaco came after she spent six months in her native South Africa initially went ‘pretty well’ in the first few hours, but it then became ‘pretty evident’ that Charlene was ‘unwell.’
He said the former Olympian ‘realised she needed help’, adding: ‘She was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life.’
Six-year-old Prince Jacques donned a face mask and kept warm in a navy puffer coat as he enjoyed the festivities at the Christmas village on Friday
The family seemed to be having a fun-filled trip as Jacques and Gabriella were also pictured riding on a bauble-themed fairground ride and looking at the decorations
Princess Gabriella got into the festive spirit at Monaco’s Christmas village as she was seen wearing reindeer antlers before riding a festive fairground ride
Albert was a hands-on doting father at the event as he took his children round to look at all the decorations, while he was also joined by his nephew Pierre Casiraghi
Albert explained: ‘I’m probably going to say this several times, but this has nothing to do with our relationship. I want to make that very clear. These are not problems within our relationship; not with the relationship between a husband and wife. It’s of a different nature.’
He went on to tell the magazine her current state was a result of ‘several factors which are private’.
Albert continued: ‘She hadn’t slept well in a number of days and she wasn’t eating at all well. She has lost a lot of weight, which made her vulnerable to other potential ailments. A cold or the flu or God help us, COVID.’
He said it is ‘not cancer-related or personal relationship issue.’
He later confirmed Charlene has been admitted to a treatment facility for undisclosed medical issues, as she works through a period of ill health. The location of the facility was not confirmed, though several sources claim it is in Switzerland.
The prince also said rumours around the state of his marriage ‘don’t bother him too much’.
Princess Charlene met Prince Albert in 2000 during a swimming competition in Monaco and the pair married in 2011, before welcoming twins Gabriella and Jacques in 2014.
Born in Rhodesia, a previously unrecognised state in Southern Africa colonised by the British, she relocated to South Africa aged 11.
Jacques and Gabriella made the most of the Christmas village on the first weekend of December as they rode in a bauble-themed fairground ride
Last month, Albert’s wife Charlene (both pictured) was admitted to a treatment facility in an undisclosed location after returning to Monaco following a 10-month absence in South Africa
Princess Gabriella (left) and Prince Jacques (right) with their father Prince Albert hold signs saying ‘We love you Mommy’ during celebrations marking Monaco’s National Day
She had a successful swimming career and went on to win three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1999 All Africa Games in Johannesburg, as well as representing South Africa at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games and winning a silver medal in the 4 × 100 m medley relay in the latter competition.
The pair’s marriage has made numerous headlines over the years, with a third paternity suit emerging last year.
A Brazilian woman who cannot be named for legal reasons said her 15-year-old daughter was the result of an affair with Albert in 2004.
Albert and Charlene were not yet engaged at this time, but they had known each over for four years after meeting at a swimming gala in Monaco in 2000.
Lawyers for the claimant were scheduled to demand a DNA test from Albert at a court in Milan earlier this year, while his own counsel branded the action ‘a hoax’.
Neither party is now commenting, suggesting some kind of generous settlement may have been reached, as happened with Albert’s earlier love children.
They are Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who is now 29 and the result of Albert’s affair with an American estate agent, and Alexandre Coste, 17, whose mother is a former Togolese air hostess.
Both children were struck off Monaco’s line of succession in return for vast financial settlements.