Princess Charlene of Monaco has revealed how ‘terribly frustrating’ it is to not be with her children while she remains in her native South Africa due to a serious ear and throat infection requiring surgical interventions.
The former Olympian, 43, ‘can’t wait’ to return to her six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella, but revealed she won’t be back in the principality ‘until the end of October’ as she recovers from a ‘serious sinus infection’.
Speaking to South Africa Radio 702’s host Mandy Wiener, the royal said: ‘[It’s] very frustrating, terribly frustrating. I can’t wait to get back to them, I can’t wait to see my children.’
Charlene, who hasn’t been seen in Monaco since January, joined the video interview from bush country in the KwaZulu-Natal region and said she felt well, despite the ‘waiting game’ during her healing process.
It comes as her husband Prince Albert of Monaco made yet another public appearance without his wife at the Tokyo Olympics amid rumours of a rift between the couple.
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Princess Charlene of Monaco (pictured) has revealed how ‘terribly frustrating’ it is to not be with her children while she remains in her native South Africa due to a serious ear and throat infection requiring surgical interventions
The former Olympian, 43, ‘can’t wait’ to return to her six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella (pictured with Prince Albert in June), but revealed she won’t be back in the principality ‘until the end of October’ as she recovers from a ‘serious sinus infection’
Charlene revealed: ‘It’s the longest period I’ve actually been away from Europe, let alone my children, but I’m FaceTiming them most days and they’ve been here and will be returning to see me again after my procedure.
‘It’s an amazing opportunity [to be here] but I’m very sad I can’t be with my children this summer in Europe.’
She added that she was initially only supposed to be in her native South Africa for ten to 12 days for a conservation trip with her Princess Charlene of Monaco foundation.
However, the royal had a problem ‘equalising her ears’ and was told by a doctor that she was suffering from a serious sinus infection.
‘It’s taken time to address the problem that I’m having,’ explained Charlene. ‘I cannot go into full detail, but I cannot force healing so I will be grounded in South Africa until the end of October.
Speaking to South Africa Radio 702’s host Mandy Wiener, the royal (pictured) said: ‘[It’s] very frustrating, terribly frustrating. I can’t wait to get back to them, I can’t wait to see my children.’
It comes as her husband Prince Albert of Monaco (pictured) made yet another public appearance without his wife at the Tokyo Olympics amid rumours of a rift between the couple
‘The reason being I cannot fly above 3,000 metres otherwise I’ll have a problem with my ears.’
‘I feel well, I feel good, it’s just obviously a waiting game for me, but I’ve had a great opportunity to understand a little bit more about South Africa, the environment, the needs and it’s been wonderful to be back in South Africa, and I think at this time it’s crucial that people are aware of certain things via my foundation.’
Charlene is hoping to raise awareness about the preservation of Rhinos, insisting she wants her ‘grandchildren to see a Rhino someday’.
She also talked about how ‘great’ it is to be home, adding: ‘Africa will always be part of me, it always has been. I’m always going to come home, and be of service and help where I can and any area where I can… South Africa means so much to me.
‘I just cannot do some things because obviously I am in a different position right now, but I’m an African at heart and I’m proudly that.’
Albert and the twins paid a brief visit to South Africa in early June, the Palace has confirmed, but they otherwise keep in touch via video link
The royal (pictured in July) said she was initially only supposed to be in her native South Africa for ten to 12 days for a conservation trip with her Princess Charlene of Monaco foundation
Charlene is passing the hours rooting for her country in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
‘I really salute the athletes,’ she said, ‘that have taken a very high risk to be in Japan during a pandemic. It’s not easy for the parents, it’s not easy for the athletes.
‘As a former Olympian, I don’t think I would have taken the risk myself of going that far. The determination and the sacrifice that these athletes have made, they are my heroes.
‘My congratulations to the parents to the families that are watching their children compete to win a medal. For me they’re all gold medallists.’
The mother-of-two hasn’t been seen in Monaco since January, but her husband and children visited her in South Africa earlier this year.
In a statement last month, Charlene explained she would not return to her family in time for her 10th wedding anniversary, saying: ‘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.
In a statement last month, Charlene (pictured in May) explained she would not return to her family in time for her 10th wedding anniversary
‘However, Albert and I had no choice but to follow the medical team’s instructions even though it is extremely difficult. He has been the most incredible support to me.
‘My daily conversations with Albert and my children help immensely to keep my spirits up, but I miss being with them. It was special to have my family visit me in South Africa, and it was truly wonderful seeing them. I can’t wait to be reunited with them.’
But according to sources, Princess Charlene’s ‘excuses’ about her health are ‘wearing thin’ and she has no intention of ending her six-month exile in South Africa any time soon.
Following the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary last month, when unusually no new official portrait of Charlene and Albert was released, even normally reverential outlets such as the highly respected Madame Figaro in Paris used long dated images of the pair, asking: ‘Are Charlene and Albert II of Monaco on the verge of divorce?’
Those responsible for such devastating headlines note that the couple are geographically some 8,500 miles apart, while the emotional gap between them appears even wider.
Those who attended Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s glittering wedding at the start of July 2011 in Monaco (pictured) certainly expected it to be for life
So much so that Stéphane Bearn, easily the most high-profile and trusted Royal commentator in France, uses an impeccably sourced piece in the latest Paris Match to discuss the torturous separation.
He describes subjects in Monaco becoming increasingly angry about their runaway Princess, as they criticise everything from Charlene’s mood swings to her appearance.
Princess Charlene’s life in the Monaco royal family
1987 – Bea Fiedler, a German topless model, claims her son Daniel was the prince’s son.
1992 – An American national files a paternity lawsuit against the Prince, claiming that he was the father of her daughter, Jazmin Grace.
2000 – Princess Charlene meets Prince Albert at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo
2005 – In May, a former flight attendant claims that her youngest son, whom she named Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, was Prince Albert’s child. She states that his parentage had been proven by DNA tests requested by the Monegasque government.
On 6 July, a few days before he was enthroned on 12 July, the Prince officially confirms via his lawyer Lacoste that Alexandre was his biological son.
2006 – After a DNA test confirmed the child’s parentage, Albert admitted, via statement from his lawyer, that he is Jazmin Grace’s father.
2010 – Princess Charlene and Prince Albert announce their engagement
2011 – Princess Charlene was said to have bolted two days before the royal wedding after hearing Prince Albert had a third love child during their relationship. It was alleged that Charlene tried to flee home to South Africa three times before her ‘arranged marriage’, at one point taking refuge inside her country’s embassy in Paris.
Monaco officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the Prince and his reluctant bride that she provide him with a legitimate heir. After that she would be free to leave of her own free will.
During the wedding, Charlene was in floods of tears, while her husband looked on impassively. Later in the year, Princess Charlene confessed she felt ‘very lonely’ in Monaco
2012 – Princess Charlene was reported to be ‘depressed’ at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir.
2014 – Pregnancy was announced in May. In December Charlene gave birth to twins Princess Gabriella and heir to the throne Prince Jacques.
2017 – Princess Charlene visits Africa, tells media: ‘I am African and this is my heritage. It will always be. It’s in my heart and in my veins.’
2019 – In a rare interview, Princess Charlene confessed it is ‘sometimes hard to smile’ and said the year had been ‘very painful’In another interview, she said she found motherhood ‘exhausting’
2020 – Charlene debuts a shocking half-shaved hairstyle. It is announced Prince Albert of Monaco will appear in court in the new year to fight explosive claims he fathered a third love child with a secret girlfriend before marrying his now wife Princess Charlene.
2021 – January 27 – Charlene is pictured with Albert for the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco. It is the last time she has been seen in Monaco this year.
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 and June – Albert, Jacques and Gabriella attend several events in Monaco without Charlene, while she shares snaps from her trip in South Africa.
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
July 7 – Charlene says the last few months have been ‘trying’ and says she misses her husband and children
‘In Monaco, since the departure of Charlene, tongues have loosened,’ Mr Bearn writes. ‘In the whirlwind of a hard-nosed court, her fine shine is rubbing off. Her sad looks are regarded as haggard.
‘Disappointed Monegasques talk about her anger, her whimsical moods, which are as changeable as her hair.’
Charlene notoriously shaved her head in the style of a punk rocker last December – an act which many saw as the first public sign of a worsening crisis that could end in a multi-million pound divorce.
Referring to the couple’s six-year-old twins, who remain in Monaco with their nannies, Mr Bearn writes: ‘The Palace had to invoke a suffering Princess so often that the Monegasques today find it hard to believe. By crying wolf, the mother of Jacques and Gabriella would have discredited and isolated herself.’
A Monaco source who knows the royal couple well suggested Charlene’s health reasoning for not flying and returning to her family was ‘sounding very thin, especially considering how many times it has been reeled out’.
She added: ‘Patients with very serious problems are flown to other parts of the world all the time.
‘The Princess has the finest medics in the world looking after her – making a flight home extremely safe and comfortable would not be that difficult.’
Another Palace source was even more forthright, telling Paris Match: ‘The Princess has, for the time being, in reality, no intention of returning.’
Instead, she has been seen house-hunting near Johannesburg, close to where she was brought up in a modest suburban family as Charlene Wittstock, the daughter of Mike Wittstock, a photocopy machine salesman.
Princess Charlene came to South Africa to do conservation and anti-poaching work, earlier this year.
Her foundation says she was driving the causes close to her heart, pouring herself into her Foundation work in South Africa when she fell ill.
Before contracting the infection and undergoing the procedures, Princess Charlene worked with various ambassadors and partners to raise awareness and funds for the Foundation’s initiatives.
Former Olympian Charlene had originally been due to return to Monaco in time for the Grand Prix in May, where she was guest of honour. Months later and she is still not home.
Charlene and Albert’s marriage has been plagued with rumours from the start.
The couple met at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo in 2000, announced their engagement in 2010.
Former Olympic swimmer Charlene reportedly tried to flee Monaco for her native South Africa on three separate occasions before the royal wedding after discovering Albert had allegedly fathered a love child – his third – while they were together.
Monaco officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the Prince and his reluctant bride, saying she could leave once she had provided him with a legitimate heir.
One source said at the time: ‘Charlene will provide an heir, then if things don’t go well, she will receive a generous divorce settlement once she’s served a decent amount of time.’
Charlene was seen in floods of tears on her wedding day in 2011.
Just one year after their wedding, it was reported that Charlene was ‘depressed’ at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir.
Her pregnancy was announced in May 2014, and in December that year she gave birth to twins Princess Gabriella and heir to the throne Prince Jacques.
In the almost 10 years since, Charlene, who shares six-year-old twins with Albert, has rarely spoken publicly of her experience.
In 2017, the Princess made an emotional return to Africa, where she spoke about how much the continent means to her.
‘I am African and this is my heritage. It will always be. It’s in my heart and in my veins,’ she told Eyewitness News.
Last year she admitted life was ‘very painful’, saying: ‘I have the privilege of having this life, but I miss my family and my friends in South Africa and I’m often sad because I cannot always be there for them.’
It’s been a tumultuous start to the year for the royal, after news emerged that her husband is facing a paternity suit over a love child born in the early years of their relationship.
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.
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 15, 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.’
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.
In January, Charlene spoke publicly for the first time since the allegations, telling Point de Vue: ‘When my husband has problems, he tells me about it.
‘I often tell him, “No matter what, no matter what, I’m a thousand percent behind you. I’ll stand by you whatever you do, in good times or in bad.”
The mother-of-two went on to say she also often tells her husband she will ‘protect him’ and will ‘always be by his side.’