For years, rumors have swirled that the royal marriage between Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco could be on the rocks. Most recently, stories have surfaced that Charlene may be living in Switzerland. According to supposed insiders who spoke with German newspaper Bild and French newspaper Voici the royal couple have a "ceremonial" relationship and take turns caring for their children. As of this writing, the Monegasque royals have not made a statement about the issue.
Earlier, in March 2023, a French publication Royauté began making the rounds on social media with claims that the couple were in the process of separating, and now the royals have at last spoken out to clarify the situation.
At that time, a source from the Monegasque royal palace told People, "The article is made up of old stories which weren't true to begin with."
Albert, the ruler of Monaco and only son of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, has been embroiled in scandal for years. In 2005, shortly after acceding the throne, another French publication revealed that Albert had an illegitimate 18-year-old son, Alexandre, with former flight attendant Nicole Coste. Albert officially acknowledged his son that year, though Monaco's succession laws meant that Alexandre (who now uses the surname Grimaldi-Coste) was not in line for the throne. The following year, DNA tests confirmed that Albert has another child, now known to be Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, whose mother had spent several years attempting to receive child support from the prince.
After the prince married South African Charlene Wittstock in 2011, many expected to see a shift away from the days of sordid gossip. A former Olympic swimmer and 20 years Albert's junior, the fashionable princess quickly gained notoriety among royal watchers for her flair for style and her dedication to social and philanthropic causes, including animal conservation and encouraging youth sports. In 2014, she and Albert welcomed twins—Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques.
Despite having secured the royal line with the birth of their children, rumors about Albert's behavior continued. In 2021, a woman known in the press as Mariza S made allegations in Italian court that her daughter is also Prince Albert's, which the prince's lawyer dismissed in public as a "sham," stating "the claims before the Italian courts are totally unfounded."
Speculation only grew that year, when what was originally planned to be a brief trip on Charlene's part to South Africa in May of 2021 turned into the princess spending more than six months away from her family. Reportedly, the extended stay was caused by an ongoing ear, nose, and throat issue that prevented Charlene from being able to fly. However, even after she returned to Monaco that November, she remained out of the public eye, and shortly thereafter it was announced that she would be entering a treatment facility to deal with "exhaustion, both emotional and physical." Ultimately, it was more than a year before she returned to public duties.
Though Albert and Charlene were both vocal at that time that there were no problems in their marriage, there were numerous suggestions that the underlying cause of their extended physical separation could be relationship issues rather than any overarching health concern.
"She didn’t go into exile,"Albert told People in September 2021. "It was absolutely just a medical problem which had to be treated."
Since her return Charlene has likewise opened up about her health, saying to Monaco Matin in 2022, "I would first like to say that I feel so much better today than I have in recent years. I feel less pain and much more energy. I continue to recover, to rebalance myself. It will still take time, but I'm happy." She added, "My family and those I love are my rock. I approach the future, step by step, one day at a time."
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