Prince Albert of Monaco has been continuing his busy schedule of royal engagements in his wife’s absence, taking his twins on an official visit to Dublin last Friday while their mother recovered in hospital more than 8,000 miles away in South Africa.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, 43, was hospitalised in South Africa on September 1st for a severe ear, nose and throat infection. She reportedly left hospital on September 5th.
She has been in her native South Africa for months, due to a ‘serious sinus infection’ following a four-hour surgery she underwent in August, but it’s unknown whether the surgery and infection are linked.
While in Dublin, her husband unveiled two friezes in the university – one in the dining hall and one in the library – to mark his €1 million donation towards the €90 million restoration of the library.
He was accompanied by the couple’s twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, 6, for the visit, who sported green trimmed face masks with a shamrock motif to match their father’s.
Prince Albert of Monaco, 63, brought twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, 6, with him on his recent state visit to Ireland
The royal met with Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins during the state visit
Prince Albert’s wife – Princess Charlene of Monaco, pictured here in August in photos branded ‘awkward’ by a body language expert – did not attend the visit
Prince Albert with Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins at the presidential residence
Prince Albert’s late mother Grace Kelly was the Irish-American daughter of an emigrant from Newport, Co Mayo, and in 1984, her husband Prince Rainier opened The Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco – two years after her death in a car crash.
During the visit , Prince Albert – who was accompanied by the Ambassador of Ireland Patricia O’Brien – met with Irish President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina Higgins for lunch at the presidential residence.
According to the Palace of Monaco’s Instagram account: ‘In the early afternoon, HSH the Prince and His children, Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, went to Trinity College to discover the Old Library guided by Professor Linda Doyle, Provost of the university who presented the Book of Kells, a 9th century Irish medieval manuscript famous around the world.
Then in the afternoon, he went to top university Trinity College Dublin with Gabriella and Jacques – who is next in line to head the 700-year-old House of Grimaldi.
According to the Palace of Monaco, the visit to Dublin was ‘an extension of the existing links between Trinity College and Monaco’
The royal visited Trinity College Dublin’s Old Library, which has displayed the Book of Kells, a 9th century Irish medieval manuscript, since the 1800s
The prince and Linda Doyle – the Vice President for Research/Dean of Research in Trinity College Dublin
Speculation over the couple’s relationship has been somewhat rife, after Princess Charlene was spotted crying at the their 2011 wedding
‘This national treasure has been on display in the Old Library at Trinity College since the 1800s.
‘This visit to Dublin is an extension of the existing links between Trinity College and Monaco.
‘It also marks the 60th anniversary of the state visit of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace in 1961 and the 10 years of the first state visit of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene in 2011.’
This is not the first event the princess has missed in recent months – she was last spotted on a royal engagement in Monaco in January.
Princess Charlene shared this image of herself with her son Jacques on Instagram, when her children and husband visited South Africa to see her for the first time in almost three months
The royals spent time together, with Charlene posting that she was ‘so thrilled to have my family back with me’
Twins Gabriella and Jacques, 6, play during a visit to South Africa in August to see their mother Princess Charlene
In her post, the royal joked that Gabriella had given herself a haircut, which then needed fixing – her fringe is crooked
Due to her extended stay in South Africa, and her absence from a string of high profile events, people have been speculating about the state of Prince Charlene and Prince Albert’s marriage
In fact, Zimbabwean-born Charlene has spent the better part of the year in South Africa away from Albert – with some reports suggesting she is looking for a house there.
The couple and their children reunited last month, after nearly three-months apart, having last met at the beginning of June in South Africa.
Charlene posted images of her family on her own Instagram page. She wrote: ‘I am so thrilled to have my family back with me.
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.
‘(Gabriella decided to give herself a haircut!!!)
‘Sorry my Bella I tried my best to fix it.’
In addition, the pair posted reunion images of themselves embracing on the palace Instagram account on August 25.
But the photos were branded ‘awkward’ by body language expert Judi James.
She told FEMAIL Princess Charlene showed ‘no emotional bond’ towards her husband Prince Albert in the pictures.
She added 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’.
And Monaco residents were not convinced by the images either, according to French magazine Madame Figaro.
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?’
The couple have long faced speculation over their marriage, after Charlene was seen crying at their 2011 wedding.
The former Olympic swimmer even reportedly tried to flee Monaco for her native South Africa on three separate occasions before the royal wedding.
This was after she discovered Albert had fathered a love child while they were together.
In the years following his wedding, Albert reportedly rarely saw his love child – a son named Alexandre Grimladi-Coste, whose mother is Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo.
In 2014, Nicole told the Mail On Sunday: ‘The truth is that, I’m sorry to say, Albert hasn’t seen Alexandre since a brief visit last September.
‘It has become impossible since he married that girl.
‘I suppose as a new wife, how would one feel? But she should think about my innocent child.
‘I don’t want to attack her but I think it is just jealousy and I don’t know why.
‘I have been through hell in my fight for my son’s name and future.’
However, the royal attended Monaco’s Red Cross Ball in July with both Nicole and Alexandre, while Charlene remained in South Africa.
And now the couple is reportedly facing a further crisis.
While Prince Albert is already supporting two illegitimate children he fathered, he 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.
The former swimmer, who represented the country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, spoke out on their relationship in January.
She told 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.’