Princess Charlene of Monaco has spoken publicly for the first time since reports emerged she was ‘living apart’ from Prince Albert and that their marriage was for ‘appearances only’.
In her first interview for several months in the Monegasque media, the former Olympic swimmer, 45, hit back at the rumours of tension between the royal couple and insisted she is ‘serene and happy’.
The mother-of-two, who shares eight-year-old twins with Prince Albert, 65, challenged the reports she is living in Switzerland and only sees her husband by appointment.
Her claims come as Prince Albert, 65, has also defended his marriage in an interview with Italian media.
He said: ‘Charlène is always by my side. I don’t understand all these rumours which hurt me, about the fact that she lives elsewhere, in Switzerland, meetings by appointment to see us. These are lies.’
The former athlete, who has battled ill-health in recent years, told Monaco Matin she is in ‘great shape’ and hopes to continue sport soon after regaining ‘more energy and feeling stronger’.
After a three-week family holiday to Corsica to ‘unwind’ before the start of school term, Charlene said she feels ‘serene and happy’.
The royal no longer wants to address the unfavourable rumours in the hope that they will eventually disappear.
Instead, she spoke to the publication in light of her eight-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, returning to school.
She suggested a united front and shared parenting goals with Albert when it comes to taking care of their children, revealing: ‘The first thing that seemed essential to me and my husband was to teach them to swim.’
Despite the royal couple both coming from athletic backgrounds, they have decided against pushing this on their children since the high-pressure lifestyle can ‘take precedence over your childhood’.
Since the speculation about their marriage emerged during the summer, including a source close to the royal pair telling French newspaper Voici that they are just a ‘ceremonial couple’, Charlene and Albert have continued to put on a united front.
Earlier today, the royal couple dropped their twins to their first day of school together, marking their seventh appearance together in nine days.
The former Olympic swimmer, 45, was pictured on the Palace’s Instagram account with her eight-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.
Posing alongside her smartly-dressed husband, Charlene opted for a stylish pair of patterned trousers and a black jumper, while her children were kitted out in their school uniform.
Gabriella sported blue jeans with her school top, while her brother opted for black trousers. Both siblings carried colourful backpacks and opted for trainers for their first day back after the summer holidays.
Charlene and Albert have continued to show unity this week in public appearances as they do their best to dispel the rumours their marriage is on the rocks.
On Sunday, the couple attended the Rugby World Cup in Marseille with Charlene cheering on her native South Africa who were taking on Scotland in the tournament.
The pair appeared to put on a loving display with Albert wrapping his arms around Charlene while they chatted to fellow sport fans.
Earlier on Sunday, the couple were pictured at Princess-Antoinette Park in Monaco, while last week they attended a 100th anniversary celebration of Prince Rainier III’s birth at Monaco’s National Council.
On Thursday, they looked cordial as they took part in the Princess of Monaco Cup ’19th hole’ event while on Tuesday they received the new French Ambassador to Monaco together.
Earlier in the month Charlene made an awkward appearance with Albert to launch a TV channel in Monaco in a then rare joint outing together.
Rumours of the state of the couple’s marriage have swirled for years, since Charlene cried on her wedding to Grace Kelly’s son in 2011.
However, the rumour mill went into overdrive when Charlene spent most of 2021 apart from her husband after returning to her native South Africa for what was supposed to be a month-long trip.
She wasn’t pictured in Monaco from January 2021 until March 2022, citing a sinus issue which stopped her from flying.
She missed the seventh birthday of her twins Gabriella and Jacques and her tenth wedding anniversary with Albert.
In interviews at the time, Albert explained he had stepped up to play a bigger role in his children’s lives as the family coped with Charlene’s ongoing health issues.
Upon her return to the principality, Albert claimed she was ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘unwell’.
Speaking to People magazine at the time, Albert said the family reunion in Monaco last week 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.’
Claims she will stay in Switzerland were backed up by a source who knows the couple well, who said: ‘The South of France is too close, but Switzerland has superb private medical facilities, and Charlene will be well looked after there.’
The couple have been at the centre of split rumours for years, but have always denied there’s an issue with their marriage.
A tumultuous two years for Princess Charlene that saw her spend 10 months in South Africa away from her children, admitted to a treatment facility in Switzerland and strike a rumoured £10 million a year deal with Albert
2021: HEALTH ISSUES, 10 MONTHS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND ADMISSION TO A SWISS TREATMENT FACILITY
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 from an unknown locatoin.
May 8 – Albert, Jacques and Gabriella attend a Grand Prix event in Monaco without Charlene
May 18 – Charlene shares her first picture from her conservation trip in South Africa
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 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.
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
September 1 – Charlene is admitted under an alias to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital after suddenly ‘collapsing’
September 2 – Charlene 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 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 6 – Albert tells RMC radio Charlene is ‘ready to come home’
October 8 2021 – Princess undergoes more surgery in South Africa
November 8 – Charlene arrives back in Monaco. Prince Albert said within hours it became clear she was ‘unwell’
November 13 2021 – Prince Albert attends Expo 2020 in Dubai without Princess Charlene. Following his return from the trip, Prince Albert holds an intervention with Charlene’s brothers and a sister-in-law in which Charlene ‘confirmed’ she would seek ‘real medically-framed treatment’ outside of Monaco
November 16 – Royal household confirms Princess Charlene will not attend National Day celebrations on November 19
November 17 – Prince Albert reveals Princess Charlene has left Monaco and is recovering in a secret location
November 19 – Prince Albert reveals Charlene is in a treatment facility ‘elsewhere in Europe’ after a family intervention
November 25 – Sources tell Page Six Princess Charlene ‘almost died’ after sinus surgery and ‘lost nearly half her body weight’ due to being ‘unable to swallow’. They also said it was ‘unfair’ to portray her as struggling with mental health issues
December 11 – Royal breaks her silence on Instagram to wish her twins Jacques and Gabriella a happy seventh birthday
December 24 – Princess Charlene of Monaco is still ‘months from recovery’ but will reunite with Prince Albert and their twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriela for Christmas at treatment centre
2022: ROAD TO RECOVERY
January 25 – Princess Charlene celebrates her 44th birthday alone: Royal shares slideshow of snaps from happier times featuring Prince Albert, their children and her swimming career as she continues to receive treatment outside of Monaco
March 14 – Palace announces that Charlene is back in Monaco but will take time to ‘further strengthen her health before gradually resuming her official duties’
April 17 – Charlene is pictured for the first time in a family portrait to celebrate Easter
April 30 – Charlene makes her first public appearance since leaving a treatment facility as she attends Monaco E-Prix with Prince Albert
May 7 – The royal makes her second public appearance at the Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament
May 10 – French media claims Prince Albert has agreed to pay his wife £10million a year to make sure she fulfils her consort role
May 25 – Princess Charlene continues her return to public life at Monte Carlo Fashion Awards with daughter Princess Gabriella
May 28 – Princess Charlene continues her return to public life as she joins Prince Albert at F1 in Monaco for the first time since 2019
June 6 – Prince Albert says he was hurt by the ‘vicious’ rumours about his wife’s absence from Monaco and his family ‘missed the princess a lot’
June 16 – Princess Charlene appears sombre in all-black ensemble for Catholic festival
June 18 – Princess Charlene of Monaco looks glamorous in all-green ensemble as she steps out with Prince Albert for the Monte Carlo TV Festival opening ceremony
June 23 – Albert and Charlene attend a science exhibition opening with their children in Oslo – her first overseas visit since returning to public duties
July 4 – Albert and Charlene! Monaco royals hold hands in new portrait to mark 11 years of marriage
July 5 – Charlene visits the Princess Grace Hospital Centre in her first solo engagement since her return to Monaco
July 9 – Albert attends Monaco’s Rose Ball without his wife, despite it being the highlight of the social calendar
July 18 – Royal joins Prince Albert at the 73rd Red Cross Gala in Monte Carlo
July 20 – Couple visit The Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis
September 4 – Charlene joins Prince Albert and their children Gabriella and Jacques for a rare family appearance at traditional picnic in Monaco
September 6 – Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco take their twins Jacques and Gabriella, 7, to class for their first day back after the summer holiday
September 12 – Couple attend a memorial service for the late Queen Elizabeth II
September 19 – Princess Charlene attends the Queen’s funeral in London alongside her husband Prince Albert
October 4-5 – Princess Charlene wows on a solo surprise visit to Paris Fashion Week
October 21 – Princess Charlene of Monaco makes emotional solo visit to an animal shelter as she sends ‘all her love’ to fans following her return to royal duties
November 8 – Royal couple attend the annual Princess Grace Awards in New York
November 16 – Princess Charlene attends Monaco’s Red Cross Christmas gift distribution with Prince Albert
November 19-20 – Princess Charlene attends Monaco National Day celebrations with Prince Albert and presents awards at 2022 World Rugby Awards ceremony
December 2 – Princess Charlene takes her seven-year-old twins to Monaco Christmas village along with her model niece Charlotte Casiraghi
December 13 – Attends Monaco’s Red Cross Christmas gift distribution with her husband Prince Albert
December 14 – Family attend Christmas tree ceremony in Monaco
December 15 – Princess Charlene of Monaco reveals she feels ‘much better’ and has ‘much more energy’ after lengthy health crisis in an interview with Monaco Matin – the first since returning to royal duties
December 21 – Royals release a stylish family Christmas card
December 23 – ‘Proud’ Prince Albert praises Princess Charlene for ‘turning it around in an incredible way’ after lengthy health crisis, saying she had a ‘very tough year’