Princess Charlene of Monaco is finally back in the principality after spending 10 months living alone in South Africa away from Prince Albert and their two children, six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella.
Charlene, 43, arrived back in Monaco earlier this morning after flying by private jet from the South African city of Durban to Nice, France.
She was pictured stepping off the plane and onto the tarmac at Nice airport, where she was greeted by royal staff and a dog which she took for a short walk before being whisked away to Monaco via a royal helicopter.
She has been in her native South Africa for much of this year after contracting a ‘serious sinus infection’ which made her unable to travel and forced her to miss key events including her 10-year wedding anniversary and her children’s first day of school.
But Albert, 63, insisted in October that his wife would return home ‘way before [Monaco’s National Day] on November 19’, adding ‘she’s in good form and much better spirits’.
Charlene’s return comes after her long stay in South Africa sparked rumours of a rift between the royal couple, which they both vehemently denied.
Her long-awaited return to the principality was reported by Bild, who said the Princess landed at Nice airport around 8:45am local time this morning.
Princess Charlene of Monaco is finally back in the principality after spending 10 months living alone in South Africa (pictured: Charlene exiting the private jet that flew her from Durban, South Africa, to Nice, France, this morning)
The Princess arrived back on European soil after spending much of the year away from Prince Albert and their two children, six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella
Charlene is pictured exiting the jet on the tarmac of Nice airport and taking a dog for a short walk, before being whisked away to Monaco via a royal helicopter
Charlene, 43 (L), arrived back in the principality via a royal helicopter earlier this morning after flying by private jet from the South African city of Durban to Nice, France. She is reunited with husband Albert, 63 (R) and their two children
Charlene had been in her native South Africa for months after contracting a ‘serious sinus infection’ which made her unable to travel, but there were rumours that she remained away from the principality due to a rift between her and husband Albert (Albert and Charlene in an embrace shared on Charlene’s Instagram page)
Charlene has now been reunited with son Jacques (L) and daughter Gabriella (centre R) after 10 months in South Africa (pictured: Monaco’s royal family greet the crowd from their Palace balcony in 2017)
A royal spokeswoman told Bild: ‘The princess is in a good mood and is looking forward to returning home, while Charlene’s father, Mike Wittstock, was overjoyed that his daughter is returning to Monaco
‘Thank God she is back home,’ he said.
On October 8, Zimbabwean-born Charlene underwent a final operation to deal with an ear, nose and throat infection she contracted in May – with a palace source telling AFP that the procedure ‘went very well’.
Albert told the publication at the time that all the family miss her and ‘obviously she misses the children’, noting that Charlene was simply awaiting the final sign-off from her medical team before she could make the flight back to Monaco.
Charlene’s doctor gave the green light for her long-awaited journey home following the completion of her final medical examination last Monday.
On Tuesday, Charlene shared an update of her own, taking to her social media account to reveal her heartbreak following her beloved pet dog’s death after being run over.
The mother-of-two posted: ‘My little Angel died last night, she was run over. I will miss you so much, Rest In Peace.’
It is unknown if Princess Charlene’s pooch had been staying with her in South Africa or whether the pet had remained with Prince Albert in Monaco.
Princess Charlene today shared her heartbreak online following her beloved pet dog’s death after being run over (pictured together)
The former Olympian, 43, who has been living in her home country of South Africa for much of this year, took to Instagram to share a photo snuggling up with her pooch Angel
Charlene, whose love of animals is well documented, was pictured walking a dog at Nice airport immediately after having landed around 8:45am local time this morning
The dog was seen leaping around in excitement, though it is unclear whether the dog belongs to the royal family
Charlene’s return to the principality comes just weeks after she posted a photo in which many of her fans thought she looked particularly frail.
The post attracted an outpouring of well-wishes from social media users, with one writing: ‘Get well soon, you look so frail, take care, hope you get back to Monaco to your lovely family.’
But in her latest interview with press in South Africa, the Princess made no reference to her health and simply said she ‘can’t wait to get home to her children’.
Charlene, who wed Prince Albert II of Monaco in 2011, has been living in her home country of South Africa for much of this year, and the extended stay has stoked speculation that the royal couple may be headed for divorce.
Charlene’s return to the principality comes just weeks after she posted a photo in which many of her fans thought she looked particularly frail (pictured)
Charlene (L), who wed Prince Albert II of Monaco (R) in 2011, has been living in her home country of South Africa for much of this year, and the extended stay has stoked speculation that the royal couple may be headed for divorce
Meanwhile, in an interview which took place in early October which was shared on Charlene’s Instagram page, the royal said she ‘misses her children, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, terribly’, adding: ‘Any mother out there who has been separated from her children for months would feel the same way I feel.’
In the clip, she said: ‘I came to South Africa to oversee some foundation projects. I was unwell at the time, unknowingly, with an infection. It was addressed immediately. Unfortunately, it grounded me for some months in South Africa.
‘I had my one procedure – it was very successful. I’m well, I’m feeling much stronger. I have one more procedure. Then I cannot wait to get home to my children, who I miss terribly.
It comes amid reports that Prince Albert (pictured) ‘applied for sovereign immunity’ in his court battle to fight claims he fathered a third love child before marrying Charlene
Elsewhere in the interview she touched on community in South Africa, saying she would like to impart ‘unity and strength.’
She said: ‘Obviously I would never like to touch on anything politically. But what can be done, is people need to set their differences aside and think of the generations to come and less of themselves.
‘Too much emphasis is put on ourselves and less on the future generations to come. What do they have to look back on? Who is their guide? That needs to be installed.’
Speaking about the anti-poaching work she has been undertaking while in South Africa this year, she said: ‘I am determined to come back and continue the work I set out to do as I have done in many countries over Africa and in South Africa.
Zimbabwean-born Charlene, 43, who wed Prince Albert II in 2011, has been living in her home country of South Africa for much of this year, and the extended stay has stoked speculation that the royal couple (pictured) may be headed for divorce
‘Conservation, preservation, restoration and education. That is what my foundation stands for. We save lives.’
How Charlene and Albert made solo outings in South Africa and Monaco during nine months apart
January 27 – Charlene is pictured with Albert for the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco.
March 18 – Charlene is pictured at the memorial for the late Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini at the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, South Africa
April 2 – Charlene posts an Instagram picture of herself, Albert and their twins Jacques and Gabriella for Easter.
It is unknown where the image was taken.
May 8 – Albert, Jacques and Gabriella attend a Grand Prix event in Monaco without Charlene
May 10 – Albert attends Monaco Gala Awards in Monaco without Charlene
May 18 – Charlene shares her first picture from her conservation trip in South Africa
June 1 – Prince Albert II, Jacques and Gabriella attend event at Oceanic Museum in Monaco
June 3 – New photos emerge of Charlene on her conservation trip
June 5- Charlene puts on a united front as she shares a photo with her family to mark her niece’s fifth birthday with her brother’s family and Albert and the twins in South Africa
June 7 – Albert and the twins attend the World Rugby Sevens without Charlene
June 17 – Prince Albert attends Red Cross Summer concert in Monte Carlo with his sister Princess Caroline of Hanover
June 18 – Prince Albert appears alone Monte Carlo TV Festival
June 24 – Charlene’s foundation releases a statement saying the royal is unable to travel and is undergoing procedures for an ear, nose and throat infection
July 2 – Charlene and Albert mark their 10th anniversary separately. ‘This year will be the first time that I’m not with my husband on our anniversary in July, which is difficult, and it saddens me,’ Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene said in a statement.
July 3 – Albert appears with glamorous niece Charlotte Casiraghi at the 15th international Monte-Carlo Jumping event, which is part of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco,
July 27 – Prince Albert attends Olympics alone in Tokyo
August 13 – Charlene undergoes a four-hour operation. The reason is not announced
August 25 – Charlene shares photos of Prince Albert, Gabriella and Jacques visiting her in South Africa
August 31 – Speculation mounts in the media about couple’s relationship
September 1 – Charlene is admitted under an alias to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital after suddenly ‘collapsing’
September 2 – She is discharged, with a statement from the Palais Princier reading: ‘Her Highness is closely monitored by Her medical team who said that Her condition was not worrying’
September 23 – Prince Albert attends the 2021 Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health
September 29 – Prince Albert is joined on the red carpet by actress Sharon Stone for a first look at the eagerly anticipated James Bond release
September 30 – Charlene releases a stylish video promoting her anti-poaching campaign from her South African bolthole
October 3 – Princess Charlene shares a photograph of herself smiling in front of a bible in her first snap since being discharged from hospital following her health scare
October 5 – Prince Albert attends Sportel Awards Ceremony in Monte Carlo with nephew Louis Ducruet
October 6 – Albert tells RMC radio Charlene is ‘ready to come home’
October 8 – Princess undergoes surgery in South Africa
The release of the interview came days after a palace source said her final operation to deal with an ear, nose and throat infection she contracted in May ‘went very well’.
The operation in South Africa was performed under general anaesthetic, and ‘is the last she had to undergo following her ENT infection. She will be under observation for 48 hours,’ the source told French news agency AFP.
It comes amid reports that Albert ‘applied for sovereign immunity’ in his court battle to fight claims he fathered a third love child before marrying Charlene.
The 63-year-old prince, who already supports two illegitimate children, is alleged to have had a relationship with a Brazilian woman which resulted in a daughter in 2005.
The claim, which his lawyers dismissed as a ‘hoax’, is particularly painful as he was dating Charlene at the time, having met the former Olympic swimmer in 2000.
It was reported last year that the case would go to court in Milan in February, however according to Town&Country, the prince’s lawyers pleaded sovereign immunity and the case has been delayed.
Lawyer Erich Grimaldi, who is acting on behalf of the woman, said he hopes the judge will reject Albert’s plea and he is waiting for the case to come back to court, which he believes will happen ‘imminently’.
The 34-year-old claimant – who cannot be named for legal reasons – says she had a passionate affair with Albert, leading to the birth of their daughter – whose name is also classified – on July 4, 2005.
Albert received a handwritten letter from the child, who is now 16, in September last year reading: ‘I don’t understand why I grew up without a father, and now that I have found you, you don’t want to see me.’
Last December, legal papers were also filed, as lawyers for the claimant called on Albert to undergo a DNA test – just as he did before finally being identified as the father of two illegitimate children born in the 1990s and early 2000s.
‘This was before Charlene and Albert were an item, but the latest case covers a time when she was already in love with him,’ a source who works closely with the Monaco Royal household revealed at the time.
‘Charlene has had a terrible year, with one family crisis after another including Albert going down with coronavirus, and now she’s gearing herself up for this hell.’
The princess, whose maiden name was Charlene Wittstock, was an Olympic swimmer for South Africa when she first met Albert at a Monaco aquatic competition in 2000.
They began dating soon afterwards, before Charlene married into the House of Grimaldi at a star-studded wedding in July 2011.
Their twins – daughter Gabriella and son Jacques – were born three years later and are seen as the family’s official heirs.
By this time, Charlene had come to terms with Albert’s hard fought legal battles with women who eventually won financial settlements over children they had with Albert – even though he originally denied their claims.
In May 2005, just before he was enthroned as Prince of Monaco, Albert confirmed he was the biological father of Alexandre, whose mother was Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo.
A DNA test in May 2006 also confirmed Albert was the father of Jazmine Grace, the result of an affair with Tamara Rotolo, an American estate agent he met while she was on holiday in the South of France.
Jazmine was born in the 1990s and Alexandre in 2003. The Brazilian woman says she travelled around the world with the Prince in the 2000s.
Lawyer Grimaldi said he had filed papers with specific details of his client’s love affair with Albert, including trips to Brazil, the USA, France and Russia.
While in Moscow, the lovers are even said to have had a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who gave the Brazilian ‘a warm hug’, according to court papers.
Albert’s lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, has described the allegations as a ‘a hoax’, saying: ‘There are no intimate photos, no tangible facts surrounding a possible relationship.’
Neither Albert’s daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, now 28, nor his son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, 17, can claim the throne of Monaco, according to negotiated financial agreements.
The line of succession instead favours Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, six, and who frequently appear in their parents’ social media posts.