Princess Charlene of Monaco has broken her silence after being admitted to a treatment facility with ’emotional and physical exhaustion’.
The royal, 43, shared photos of her twins Gabriella and Jacques celebrating their 7th birthday on Instagram today, with the caption: ‘Happy birthday my babies. Thank you God for blessing me with such wonderful children. I’m truly blessed. Love mom.’
The snaps show the twins, dressed in matching pyjamas, blowing out candles on a cake shaped like the number ‘7’, in a room decorated with balloons and birthday banners. It appears to have been taken in a royal residence.
Prince Albert revealed last month his wife had been admitted to a European treatment facility within days of her return to Monaco following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa.
He said she is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’, while friends recently told Page Six that the mother-of-two ‘almost died’ while she was in South Africa.
Proud mother: Princess Charlene of Monaco has broken her silence after being admitted to a treatment facility while suffering from ’emotional and physical exhaustion’ to wish her twins a happy birthday, sharing these beautiful family photos (one pictured)
Celebration: The snaps show the twins, dressed in matching pyjamas, blowing out candles on a cake shaped like the number ‘7’, in a room decorated with balloons and birthday banners
Touching words: The royal, 43, shared photos of her twins Gabriella and Jacques celebrating their 7th birthday today, with the caption: ‘Happy birthday my babies. Thank you God for blessing me with such wonderful children. I’m truly blessed. Love mom’
Speaking to the publication, a source described as the royal’s friend said: ‘It is unfair that she is being portrayed as having some kind of mental or emotional issue.
‘We don’t know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa.’
The source explained the royal had a severe ear, nose and throat infection, which resulted in ‘severe sinus and swallowing issues stemming from an earlier surgery’.
The friend added: ‘She has not been able to eat solid food in over six months because of all the surgeries she has since gone through. She has only been able to take in liquids through a straw, so she lost nearly half her body weight.’
Elsewhere friends of Princess Charlene gave Tatler a rare insight into what the royal is really like, insisting that the former swimmer is a force to be reckoned with.
One source rubbished any public perception that Charlene is ‘naive’ and trapped in an unhappy marriage with Albert, saying: ‘I don’t for one second think she did not know what she was doing when she married him.’
Prince Albert revealed last month his wife had been admitted to a European treatment facility within days of her return to Monaco following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa. The royal looked frail in this Instagram post shared from South Africa in October
Princess Charlene was reunited with her family in Monaco on November 8 and the palace released this photo. However days later she was admitted to a treatment facility
Missing their mother: Meanwhile Prince Albert has continued to make public appearances with their six-year-old twins, Jacques and Gabriella, who held up these signs to Charlene during the Monaco National Day celebrations on November 19
But one warned the mother of Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, seven, is not the type to be blindly controlled by the Monaco royal household.
‘Charlene is no Princess Di.’ one said. ‘She may come across as being extremely naïve, but nothing could be further from the truth. She is very good at keeping her smarts under wraps.’
Meanwhile Prince Albert has continued to make public appearances with their twins, Jacques and Gabriella. The trio attended a tree planting event in Monaco and the Monaco National Day celebrations, where the children held up heartrending signs saying, ‘Miss you Mommy’ and ‘Love you Mommy’.
Timeline: Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s 10 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
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
November 8 – Charlene arrives back in Monaco. Prince Albert said within hours it became clear she was ‘unwell’
November 13 – 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
– Prince Albert attends a Monaco Red Cross event without Princess Charlene
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
In interviews, Albert explained he had stepped up to play a bigger role in his children’s lives as the family copes with Charlene’s ongoing health issues.
Jacques and Gabriella are homeschooled at the palace after being taken out of the classroom due to Covid.
‘For me, it’s pretty simple – my priority is my family,’ he said in an interview this month. ‘Of course, without neglecting state affairs… I hope everyone understands that. When I can be with my kids, I do it without hesitation.
‘This is an extremely important time in their life – the way they grow up helps them see the world.
‘And if one of the parents is away for medical reasons, the other parent has to be there. I have heard too many friends and acquaintances telling me that they wish they had been there for their children, at a certain age, taken up by their work or their professional life. I don’t want to have these regrets.’
Charlene returned to her husband and twins Jacques and Gabriella in Monaco earlier this month following a 10-month absence, while she recovered from surgery following a sinus infection she contracted during a solo charity trip to her native South Africa earlier this year.
In the days after her arrival, Charlene’s sister-in-law Chantell Wittstock, told MailOnline the princess may not be returning to the palace and did not plan to immediately return to public engagements, although she later retracted the remark.
Charlene’s time away followed fresh allegations last December that Albert had fathered a love-child (which would be his third, if proven) with an unnamed Brazilian woman during the time when he and Charlene, a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, were already in a relationship.
Photographs of their reunion earlier this month were greeted with a hefty dose of scepticism by the French media.
Albert was waiting for her at the Monte Carlo helipad, along with their six-year-old twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques. The family were joined by a hand-picked photographer inside the Palace walls for the ‘reunion’ photos.
Albert said the family reunion in Monaco last week after she spent six months in her native South Africa 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.’
Albert explained: ‘I’m probably going to say this several times, but this has nothing to do with our relationship. I want to make that very clear. These are not problems within our relationship; not with the relationship between a husband and wife. It’s of a different nature.’
He went on to tell the magazine her current state was a result of ‘several factors which are private’.
Albert continued: ‘She hadn’t slept well in a number of days and she wasn’t eating at all well. She has lost a lot of weight, which made her vulnerable to other potential ailments. A cold or the flu or God help us, COVID.’
He said it is ‘not cancer-related or personal relationship issue.’
He later confirmed Charlene has been admitted to a treatment facility for undisclosed medical issues, as she works through a period of ill health. The location of the facility was not confirmed, though several sources claim it is in Switzerland.
The prince also said rumours around the state of his marriage ‘don’t bother him too much’.
Doubts about the central relationship of Monaco’s royal family are not new.
Several residents living in the narrow medieval alleys of Monaco Ville confirmed to MailOnline that before she left for South Africa Charlene was spending most of her time outside the Palace, living in a modest two-bedroom apartment above an old chocolate factory about 300m away, rather than in the 12th Century Palace itself.
‘We often saw her outside the Palace and she would usually be alone or with a bodyguard,’ said one source, ‘but she was never with Albert – it was obvious she chose to spend most of her time in the apartment rather than the palace.’
Princess Charlene met Prince Albert in 2000 during a swimming competition in Monaco and the pair married in 2011, before welcoming twins Gabriella and Jacques in 2014.
Born in Rhodesia- a previously unrecongised state in Southern Africa colonised by the British, she relocated to South Africa aged 11.
She had a successful swimming career and went on to win three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1999 All Africa Games in Johannesburg, as well as representing South Africa at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games and winning a silver medal in the 4 × 100 m medley relay in the latter competition.
However the pair’s marriage has made numerous headlines over the years, with a third paternity suit emerging last year.
Soon afterwards Charlene infamously shaved half her head in the style of a punk rocker last December.
This was seen as the first public sign of a worsening crisis that could end in a multi-million pound divorce.
Charlene’s exile in South Africa began a month after it emerged last December that Albert was facing yet another paternity suit.
A Brazilian woman who cannot be named for legal reasons said her 15-year-old daughter was the result of an affair with Albert in 2004.
Princess Charlene – whose frail appearance has sparked concerns – shared controversial photos of the couple hugging in South Africa earlier this year
Albert and Charlene were not yet engaged at this time, but they had known each over for four years after meeting at a swimming gala in Monaco in 2000.
Lawyers for the claimant were scheduled to demand a DNA test from Albert at a court in Milan earlier this year, while his own counsel branded the action ‘a hoax’.
Neither party is now commenting, suggesting some kind of generous settlement may have been reached, as happened with Albert’s earlier love children.
They are Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who is now 29 and the result of Albert’s affair with an American estate agent, and Alexandre Coste, 17, whose mother is a former Togolese air hostess.
Both children were struck off Monaco’s line of succession in return for vast financial settlements.