Princess Charlene has shared a photograph of herself smiling in front of a bible in her first snap since being discharged from hospital following her health scare in South Africa one month ago.
In the snap, which was shared to Instagram on Sunday, the former Olympian, 43, can be seen putting on a casual display in a black jumper and rosary bead necklace as she sits at a wooden table.
The royal, who was born and raised Protestant but converted to Roman-Catholicism ‘of her own free will and choice’ in April 2011, simply captioned the post, ‘God Bless,’ followed by a heart emoji.
The wife of Prince Albert was admitted under an alias to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital on Wednesday 1 September after a ‘medical emergency’ caused by complications from an ongoing ear-nose-throat infection she contracted in May.
She was discharged the following day, 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.’
It comes just days after Charlene released a stylish video promoting her anti-poaching campaign from her South African bolthole – after missing a No Time To Die screening in Monte Carlo with her husband Prince Albert, 63.
Princess Charlene (pictured), 43, has shared a photograph of herself smiling in front of what appears to be a bible in her first snap since being discharged from hospital following her health scare in South Africa one month ago
On Friday 29th September, Prince Albert (pictured right, with Sharon Stone), 63, attended a charity screening of the new James Bond film at the Monte Carlo Opera, in his latest in a string of public appearances without his wife
Charlene said last summer that her decision to convert to Roman-Catholicism was because she found strength in the religion and it was part of Grimaldi tradition.
‘Catholicism is the state religion [in Monaco]. But for me, it represents much more. The values of this religion profoundly touch me and correspond perfectly to my spirit,’ People reported.
Charlene’s first state visit to the Vatican was in January 2013 along with Prince Albert. The royal couple’s visit marked the 55th anniversary of the meeting of his parents, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco with Pope Pius XII in 1957.
The royal said the ‘experience was extremely intense and moving for me’.
In 2016, Princess Charlene of Monaco visited the Vatican in an all-white outfit as it was revealed she is one of only seven people allowed to don the colour while meeting Pope Francis.
Called le privilége du blanc in French or il privilegio del biacno in Italian, the special tradition is extended solely to designated Catholic queens and princesses and is usually reserved for important events at the Vatican such as private audiences, canonisations, beatifications and special masses.
On Friday September 3, Prince Albert (pictured with his children) was joined on the red carpet by actress Sharon Stone, 63, for a first look at the eagerly anticipated James Bond release – Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as the iconic secret agent
Charlene, who was last seen in Monaco in January, shared professional photographs of a reunion with her family on Instagram last month (pictured
Princess Charlene is bestowed this privilege, along with Queen Sofía of Spain, Queen Paola of Belgium, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Queen Letizia of Spain and Princess Marina of Naples.
Normal protocol for papal audiences require that ladies wear a long black dress with a high collar and long sleeves, and a black mantilla.
Charlene has spent the past several months in South Africa being treated for an ear and throat infection she contracted in May.
As a result, the mother-of-two missed her 10 year wedding anniversary and is not expected to return to the principality until October, after undergoing a ‘four-hour operation under general anaesthesia’ in August – although it was not made clear whether this was linked to the sinus infection.
Charlene and Albert reunited shortly after for the first time in months after the monarch and their children flew to South Africa, but photographs of the pair embracing were branded ‘awkward’ by a body language expert.
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
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
In his first interview since returning from visiting his wife in South Africa, Albert told People magazine of Charlene: ‘She’s ready to come home.’
Despite Charlene being admitted to hospital after a ‘sudden collapse’ rumours are rife that a rift with Prince Albert, rather than health issues, is what’s keeping her away from Monaco.
Last week, Prince Albert was joined on the red carpet by actress Sharon Stone, 63, for a first look at the eagerly anticipated James Bond release – Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as the iconic secret agent.
It was their second joint appearance in less than a week, with both having previously attended the 2021 Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health on September 23. Charlene was noticeably absent from the event.
It comes just weeks after Prince Albert hit back at rumours of a rift in his marriage – insisting Charlene ‘didn’t leave in a huff’ and remains in South Africa only because of ‘medical complications’ following a ‘severe ear, nose and throat infection’.
The royal told People that the speculation over the state of his relationship with the Olympic swimmer has ‘affected’ them both, but that he didn’t address it early because he ‘was concentrating on taking care of the kids’.
Charlene, who wed the prince in 2011 and has two children, six-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, with Albert, has been in her native South Africa for several months after contracting the infection in May.
She is not expected to return to her husband’s principality until October after experiencing complications related to a sinus lift and bone graft procedure she’d undergone before her trip for dental implants, according to the magazine.
The mother-of-two has apparently since had several corrective procedures – including one in late June that resulted in her missing her 10th wedding anniversary on July 1 and a four-hour long operation on August 13.
On September 1, Charlene was admitted to a local hospital after suddenly ‘collapsing’. She was later released but doctors are ‘still establishing exactly what happened’, according to a statement from Chantell Wittstock, director of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
Speaking to People, Albert said: ‘She didn’t leave Monaco in a huff! She didn’t leave because she was mad at me or at anybody else… She didn’t go into exile. It was absolutely just a medical problem which had to be treated.’
He added that his wife had planned to travel to South Africa to reassess her foundation’s work and to spend time with her brother and friends.
But the ’10-day maximum stay’ has lasted several months because of the infection, which the prince said resulted in ‘all these medical complications’.
Yet the last time Charlene was spotted in Monaco was in January, and the extended time apart from her husband and two children has sparked speculation about the state of the royals’ marriage.
Albert admitted he ‘probably should have addressed’ the rumours sooner, but was ‘concentrating on taking care of the kids’ and believed they would just ‘go away’.
‘Of course it affects her, of course it affects me,’ he told the magazine. ‘Misreading events is always detrimental… We’re an easy target, easily hit, because we’re in the public eye a lot.’
In recent weeks, lifestyle magazines across Europe have speculated feverishly that the royal couple could be headed for divorce. French magazine Madame Figaro stated the images ‘failed to convince the Monegasques’ amid reports Charlene is looking for a house in Johannesburg.
According to The Telegraph, the magazine asked: ‘How long can she remain away from her children, her duties?’
‘How long will the fight against rhinoceros poaching remain the Princess of Monaco’s top priority?
‘How long will Albert II of Monaco go on bearing this affront, which is becoming ridiculous?’
Historian Philippe Delorme said that ‘lots of people got the impression it was an arranged marriage’ between Charlene and Albert, adding: ‘Albert chose a wife who resembled his mother, and Charlene clearly felt very ill at ease in this Grace Kelly role they wanted her to play’
The mounting speculation about the couple’s marriage comes after Charlene shared professional photographs of her reunion with Prince Albert online, saying she was ‘thrilled’ to have her family back.
She shared a series of photos cuddled up with her kids in South Africa 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.
However a body language expert told FEMAIL Charlene showed ‘no emotional bond’ towards her husband Prince Albert in the images.
Judi James said 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’.
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.
Mummy’s boy: Princess Charlene poses with her son Jacques, who is heir to the Monaco throne
Play time! Twins Jacques and Gabriella climb a tree in one of the photos shared on Instagram
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.’
The princess will not return to Monaco until at least the end of October.
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, 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.
Charlene’s (pictured with her family) 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
‘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.
Last Monaco outing together: Charlene and Albert were last pictured together at an official event together in January at the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco. Albert has made a few visits to South Africa since
Former Olympic swimmer Charlene reportedly tried to flee Monaco for her native South Africa on three separate occasions before the royal wedding. She was seen in floods of tears on her wedding day in 2011 (pictured)
‘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.
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 uses an impeccably sourced piece in the latest Paris Match to discuss the torturous separation.
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.
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.’
He added: ‘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.’
Charlene, who was raised in South Africa and represented the country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, travelled to Thanda Safari in KwaZulu-Natal in January to learn more about being done by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa to help save rhinos from poachers.
The princess took part in conservation operations including rhino monitoring and tracking, deployment with the Anti-Poaching Unit, educational wildlife photography sessions, and a White Rhino dart and dehorning exercise.