Princess Charlene of Monaco showed ‘no emotional bond’ towards her husband Prince Albert in photographs showing the couple and their two children reunited in South Africa, according to a body language expert.
Charlene, 43, has finally been reunited with Albert, 63, and their six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella after almost three months apart – with her family flying out to be with her in her home country as she recovers from a mystery operation.
The princess, who is originally from Cape Town, and was last seen in Monaco in January, shared professional photographs of the family reunion on Instagram yesterday saying she was ‘thrilled’ to have her loved ones back.
However, Judi James told FEMAIL that rather than being the loved-up reunion photo one would expect of a couple surrounded by split rumours, the royals’ poses suggested ‘no signs of connection between awkward-looking Albert and Charlene’.
Princess Charlene of Monaco has finally reunited with her husband and children after almost three months apart. The absence of Charlene from Monaco, which has involved missing a string of high-profile events, has led to speculation around the state of her marriage
Former Olympic swimmer Charlene has been in her native South Africa for months after contracting a ‘serious sinus infection’, with the family having last been together at the start of June, when Albert and the children flew out to be with the princess.
Two weeks ago Charlene underwent a ‘four-hour operation under general anaesthesia’, although it was not made clear whether this was linked to the sinus infection.
Yesterday she shared a series of photos cuddled up with her children with the caption: ‘I am so thrilled to have my family back with me (Gabriella decided to give herself a haircut!!!) Sorry my Bella I tried my best to fix it,’ referring to her daughter’s choppy fringe.
Later, she then shared two snaps with just Albert as the casually-dressed couple posed together on a bridge.
Albert and Jacques and Gabriella will stay with Charlene while she recovers, the palace previously announced – and although it is not clear how long their trip will be, the princess will not return to Monaco until at least the end of October.
The absence of Charlene from the principality, which has involved missing a string of high-profile events, has led to speculation around the state of her marriage, after news emerged that Albert is facing a paternity suit over a love child born in the early years of their relationship.
Here, expert Judi explains the body language of Charlene and Albert in their latest reunion snaps…
1. OVERKILL GESTURE
In the second collection of images shared by Charlene, the royal is captured hugging Albert closely (pictured)
In the second collection of images shared by Charlene, the royal is captured hugging Albert closely, while a second shows her standing by his side as she leans on him.
‘They provide more of what was lacking in the photos with the children,’ claimed body language expert Judi.
She added: ‘In the first pose, the couple could barely be closer, posing torso to torso and face to face, with Charlene’s arm around Albert’s neck in a clinging and rather possessive-looking hug that could almost be described as an overkill gesture.
‘Their eyes are fixed on what looks like another camera, making this a posed shot rather than anything more genuinely intimate but the message of affection and physical closeness is there all the same.’
She continued: ‘Charlene looks a little needy here and that face-pressing is an unusual gesture with the mouths side-to-side rather than kissing or using eye contact.
‘It looks a little impulsive, which seems to be prompted by her rather than him as she is actually hunched into his torso and more clingy in the embrace.’
2. CHARLENE’S ‘SAD EYES’
The second image in the set sees the couple side-by-side as they stand together on a bridge without their children (pictured)
The second image in the set sees the couple side-by-side as they stand together on a bridge without their children.
‘Albert is looking more comfortable than he did in the group shots here, with some matching casuals and one hand on his hip suggesting raised levels of confidence,’ said Judi.
‘The second pose looks more relaxed and natural, with Albert front-on to camera and with his chest slightly splayed and puffed to signal much higher levels of confidence than he did in the poses with the children.
‘Charlene has again placed her arm around his upper shoulder in a gesture of possession here and she has her right hand fingers close to his neck while her left hand rests on his shoulder as though keen to show him off for the camera.’
However, the body language expert suggests Charlene looks ‘sad’, explaining: ‘Albert’s smile is more convincing than hers here. His eyes are crinkled and the corners of his mouth are curled upward in a symmetric mouth smile.
‘Charlene’s eye expression suggests sadness in both of these poses though and although she is smiling, the corners of her mouth are pulled slightly downward, suggesting mixed emotions.’
1. AWKWARD ALBERT
Judi suggested Albert looked ‘tense and awkward’ while standing on the outside of the family photographs, released earlier in the day.
She said: ‘Given the rumours of a possible split and worries about Charlene’s health it would be expected that when the couple did finally get together for a “reunion” photo they would at the very least adopt a PR-prompted “denial” pose that would suggest the marriage was very much on track.
‘Instead we have these poses of a reunion that only looks partial. This is Charlene reuniting with her two children but her husband Albert looks awkward and peripheral.’
Body language Judi James suggested Albert looked ‘tense and awkward’ while standing on the outside of the family photographs (pictured)
2. NO TOUCHING
The body language expert went on to suggest there was ‘no physical touch, closeness or even eye contact’ between the royal couple when photographed with their children.
‘There are no signs here of any direct connection between Albert and Charlene,’ said Judi.
‘The way the poses have been constructed it looks as though they have been done very much on Charlene’s terms, with her uncomfortable-looking husband entering her more casual and spontaneous world.’
She continued: ‘Charlene’s body language here defines her as a free spirit and she seems to be making no compromises to signal emotional or even empathetic bonds with her husband via her poses.
‘There is no physical touch, closeness or even eye contact between them in the photos she has chosen for social media.’
Charlene, 43, who was last seen in Monaco in January, shared professional photographs of their reunion on Instagram (pictured)
3. FORCED SMILE
‘In his smart-casuals behind his family, Albert is left looking awkward and tense,’ suggested Judi.
The body language expert claimed: ‘His smile looks rather forced and his body poses lack signs of spontaneity.
‘Stretching out to lean his hand on a tree or placing a hand on his son’s shoulder, his awkwardness suggests he is trying to look part of the synchronised group but falling short, as though casual is not really his thing.’
4. MIRRORING MUM
Play time! Twins Jacques and Gabriella climb a tree in one of the photos shared on Instagram
Judi claimed Charlene’s two children were ‘mirroring’ her casual, ‘very non-royal’ appearance, with the mother sporting a camouflage jacket.
Meanwhile, Princess Gabriella opted for a purple dress with an animal print collar and Prince Jacques donned a matching coat like his Charlene’s.
The body language expert said: ‘Charlene’s look is very non-royal here and her children seem to happily mirror that.
‘Sitting on the ground with her legs splayed she is a world away from the more formal elegance of royal life with her body language making her look relaxed.’
5. A ‘RING OF CLOSENESS’
Double trouble: The twins last saw their mother in June, when the family flew out to South Africa
Judi suggested Charlene and her two children displayed a ‘ring of closeness’ in the reunion photographs, while ‘awkward’ Albert sat on the ‘peripheral’.
She said: ‘The bonding with her children looks powerful and, with her daughter copying her trend for radical haircuts and her son performing a peace V-sign behind her, they could easily have been a group snapped having fun at a summer festival.
‘The three cuddle together using both arms to form rings of loving closeness and empathy,’ she added.
How Charlene and Albert made solo outings in South Africa and Monaco during seven 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
In recent weeks, lifestyle magazines across Europe have speculated feverishly that the royal couple could be headed for divorce.
Charlene has been in South Africa since at least March, with media reports suggesting she is looking for a house there.
The prince, who already supports two illegitimate children, is alleged to have been in 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 in 2000.
However, Charlene has publicly supported her husband, and the palace have reiterated she is only in South Africa because she’s unable to fly.
On August 13, the Monaco palace released a statement saying Charlene was to undergo surgery.
It read: ‘Princess Charlene will undergo an operation today, Friday, August 13, for four hours under general anaesthesia.’
On June 3, Charlene shared photograph of her family on safari in South Africa as her twins and husband flew to the country to celebrate her niece Avia’s fifth birthday.
In a snap showing the last time they were seen together, Albert, Jacques and Gabriella, were joined in an open top car by Charlene’s brother Sean Wittstock, 37, and his children. She captioned it with a simple heart emoji.
In earlier snaps, the family gathered around a birthday cake with Sean, his wife Chantell, 34, their eldest son Raigen, 7, and the birthday girl.
‘Happy 5th Birthday, Aiva! Love, Auntie Charlene,’ she wrote.
Princess Charlene, who has been well enough to conduct interviews from South Africa and has been seen out and about, has used the time to promote her anti-poaching initiative, Chasing Zero
Charlene’s last formal engagement was on January 27 when she joined Albert for the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monte Carlo. She has not been seen at home since.
Instead she has been keeping followers updated through social media posts and media interviews, in which she has spoken candidly about missing her children and described her husband as ‘her rock’.
Speaking to South Africa Radio 702’s host Mandy Wiener last week, 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 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.
‘The reason being I cannot fly above 3,000 metres otherwise I’ll have a problem with my ears.
Albert and the twins paid a brief visit to South Africa in early June (pictured), the Palace has confirmed, but they otherwise keep in touch via video link. They are pictured with Charlene’s brother Sean Wittstock, 37, and his son Raigen, seven, and daughter Aiva, five
‘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 joined the video interview from bush country in the KwaZulu-Natal region.
Princess Charlene’s trials and tribulations 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.
She has also shared videos released by the Monaco royal palace to mark her and Albert’s 10th wedding anniversary, which took place in July. The couple spent the milestone thousands of miles apart.
But royal sources have suggested the princess has ‘no plans’ to return soon.
A palace source told Paris Match: ‘The Princess has, for the time being, in reality, no intention of returning.’
The separation is also affecting Charlene’s relationship with the people of Monaco.
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.
‘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.’
Referring to the couple’s twins, who until now have remained 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.’
During her trip, Charlene also debuted a dramatic new shaved hairstyle.
She showcased the ‘French crop’ hairdo – featuring a longer strip on top of the head and dramatically shaved back and sides – in snaps shared on her charity’s Instagram page in late May.
The royal first stepped out with a dramatic half-shaved head in December 2020 but has since gone even shorter and bolder with the cut.
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 10 years since, Charlene 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 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.’
Keeping up appearances! How Monaco’s royal palace released a series of videos showing Prince Albert and Charlene’s romance while they were thousands of miles apart
While Charlene hasn’t returned to Monaco since October, the royal court has released a series of videos celebrating the love story of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene.
The latest video was shared on Instagram as part of a series of clips celebrating the couple’s 10th anniversary, which took place on 1st July.
Entitled ‘One Country, One Family,’ the sweet footage focuses on Princess Charlene, 43 and 63-year-old Albert’s twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, six.
The heartwarming video follows Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques as they take their first steps in Monaco’s public life – from the very moment their proud parents introduced them to the public from the palace’s balcony following their birth on December 10, 2014.
The twins’ baptism follows, including a series of footage where the adorable newborns accompany their parents throughout Monaco’s annual events – including Sainte Devote celebrations.
The slickly-produced videos capture the twins as they turn from quiet babies to independent six-year-olds, attending their country’s national events with the poise of seasoned royals.
Among other moments captured is Princess Gabriella taking the mic from her mother’s hands during an event when she was two, and the twins enjoying a ride a merry-go-round.
The twins have been part of Monaco’s public holidays since their birth, including the Principality’s national day in 2015, pictured
The Royal Palace of Monaco has released a new video highlighting the important place the children of Princess Charlene, 43 and Prince Albert, 63, hold in the heart of Monaco’s public life. Twins Princess Gabrielle and Prince Jacques were born on December 10 2014 and were presented to the public a few days later, pictured
Alongside the video, an accompanying post reads: ‘Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene watch over Their children’s first steps into official life, which is closely associated with the history and traditions of Monaco.’
‘Every year, Crown Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella take part in the festivities of the cavagnetù, the back-to-school picnic, the setting ablaze of the boat of Saint Devote, the Principality’s patron saint, every 26 January, and in June, they attend the batafoegu, the bonfire lit on the Palace Square for St John’s Day.’
It continues: ‘Visits to the elderly, sporting events, awareness-raising operations for the protection of nature.’
‘The Marquis des Baux and the Countess of Carladès, now six years old, tenderly guided by Their Parents, discover the major events that punctuate the official calendar and celebrate the links between Monegasques and the Prince’s Family,’
‘On 19 November 2020, they joined the National Day ceremonies organised in the Cour d’Honneur of the Grimaldi residence for the first time.’
Days before Monaco’s royal palace has released another video celebrating Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s joint engagements.
The video, titled ‘work together for a more sustainable and inclusive future’, was released on the palace’s Instagram account yesterday and shows the couple on state visits, at charity events and rubbing shoulders with Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry.
The official Palais Princier de Monaco Instagram account has also shared a video titled, ‘two paths, one destination’, charting Charlene and Albert’s lives before they met each other.
The clips cover the fanfare that surrounded Albert’s birth, his time on the Monaco Winter Olympic bobsleigh team and his early years as a working royal, as well as Charlene’s journey from South African schoolgirl to Olympic swimmer.
The 1 minute 50 second video ends with Albert clapping Charlene at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo in 2000, where the two first met.
In early July, Princess Charlene shared a slickly-produced video documenting her royal wedding to Prince Albert on Instagram, a day after the couple spent their 10th anniversary apart.
The two-minute long video, titled ‘Chapter 1: A New Princess for Monaco’, on her official account this morning.
Set to stirring classical music, the video montage offers a behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary time, effort and cost that went into staging the couple’s civil wedding on July 1, 2011. A religious ceremony was held the following day and a two-day national holiday was declared to mark the occasion.
Clips show Charlene and Alber, exchanging vows in front of close family and friends in the Throne Room of the Prince’s Palace, and sharing a kiss on the palace balcony to the delight of a cheering crowd. The couple also appeared on stage together at a celebratory concert for the public.