The prince and his six-year-old twins seemed in good spirits as they waved to royal fans while watching a World Rugby Sevens match in Monaco. But for Albert, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, it was yet another appearance without Charlene, prompting some to question if the princess ever plans to return home.
The 43-year-old Benoni-raised royal travelled to South Africa in March for wildlife conservation work shortly after news broke that Albert (63) is facing a paternity suit over a love child who was born in 2005 during the early years of his and Charlene's relationship.
The princess' extended stay in South Africa has prompted speculation that their marriage may be in crisis, however palace officials say that the reason she's still here is because she's recovering from an ear, nose, and throat infection that’s made it impossible to leave.
“During a trip to the African continent as part of a wildlife conservation mission, Princess Charlene contracted an ENT infection that does not allow her to travel,” the palace said in a statement.
But at least the family haven’t been apart all that time. Albert (63) and the kids visited Charlene in SA two weeks ago, to celebrate her niece’s fifth birthday, a happy occasion which she shared on Instagram. Charlene later shared a picture of her husband and their twins on a bush drive.
READ MORE | Prince Albert and the twins join Princess Charlene in SA for niece’s birthday party
She was meant to be back in Monaco in May for the principality’s Grand Prix where she was guest of honour, but due to her infection Prince Albert and the twins had to attend the event alone.
READ MORE | On your marks, get set, pose! Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella ham it up at the Monaco E-Prix
The mom-of-two, who’s known for her unconventional hairstyles, debuted yet another edgy look while on her SA trip. She was involved in operations including rhino-tracking and deployment with the Anti-Poaching Unit, after she’d travelled to Thanda Safari in KwaZulu-Natal to learn more about the work being done by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa which has partnered with the Thanda Foundation Trust to help protect the rhinos.
“It was an absolute pleasure supporting a South African Anti-Poaching unit. My sincere thanks for keeping our wildlife and rhinos safe. With all my love and respect,” she said on her Instagram account.
The former Olympic swimmer says it was a moving experience for her. “I connected with amazing people and spoke to the local trackers and anti-poaching units who all have an incredible passion for protecting our rhinos and environment. It filled me with immense joy to reconnect with the African people and spirit again,” she said.
READ MORE | EXCLUSIVE: Princess Charlene of Monaco on the real reason she shaved her hair and how she feels about Albert's alleged love child
And while she’s been rediscovering her “love for Africa”, Albert seems to be coping well. As well as the rugby match and Grand Prix, he’s also taken the twins on a trip to the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.
SOURCES: DAILYMAIL.CO.UK, NEWS24.COM, HELLOMAGAZINE.COM, ROYALCENTRAL.CO.UK