Princess Charlene and Prince Albert’s public displays of affection are an attempt to show unity in the face of rumours about the state of their marriage – but have ended up looking ‘awkward’, a body language expert has claimed.
After doubt had been cast over the marriage between the Monegasque royals, following reports that Princess Charlene only sees her husband via appointment and that she is living in Switzerland, the couple have made no fewer than six public engagements in the last week in an apparent united front.
Last week, Charlene headed to South Africa while Albert has flown around New York, Washington D.C., France and Germany.
Before going their separate ways, the royal couple put on a cosy display at the Rugby World Cup.
And according to Judi James, the couple are trying to dispel any myths about their marriage by cosying up to each other in front of members of the public – however the expert claims their attempts aren’t quite having the desired effect.
In the last fortnight, the former Olympic swimmer, 45, has appeared with her 65-year-old husband at events including an official welcome of the French ambassador to the Monegasque Palace, a trip to the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France and a ceremonial appearance with their eight-year-old twins, Jacques and Gabriella.
During these outings, the couple have smiled as they pose for photos and meet with officials, and Prince Albert has even been spotted putting his hand around his wife in a show of affection. However, James believes the couple are lacking the small, tell-tale signs that often suggest a couple are rock solid.
Princess Charlene, 45, and Prince Albert, 65, are doing their best to put on a show of unity amid rumours their marriage is on the rocks, a body language expert has claimed
The body language expert told FEMAIL: ‘It does seem that Albert and Charlene are unable to produce even small, telling moments of natural synchronicity or mirroring, or be photographed exchanging those small glances and pinging grins that can help to define a strong relationship.’
She added the couple have historically struggled to give off such signals of matrimonial bliss, referring to their wedding day in which Princess Charlene appeared to be crying as she was dubbed a ‘runaway bride’ for allegedly trying to flee the ceremony (reports she later laughed off).
Over the last week, the couple’s attempts to dispel the rumours their marriage is in trouble have risked appearing ‘awkward’ and ‘rigid’ according to the expert.
‘Receiving the new French ambassador both stood rigidly to attention side by side but the couple revealed a very common couple of cues or tells that hinted of this ongoing tension,’ she said.
‘Charlene’s inner hand, the one between herself and her husband, was part curled and she appeared to be picking at her nails, while Albert’s arms looked oddly and rigidly placed at this sides.’
According to Judi James, the Monegasque royal couple (pictured last week) are trying to dispel rumours by putting on a united front but it can appear ‘awkward’
James added: ‘At the Rugby World Cup Albert seems to be keen to use a gesture that will signal closeness and affection. Sadly his arm around his wife’s back looks stilted and awkward here.
‘There is no follow-up signal of affection, like eye contact or a beaming smile and, more importantly, there seems to be no reciprocal gesture from Charlene. If the couple were united in being on-message here she might have leaned in towards her husband or even snuggled subtly into the offered hug.
‘Instead she appears to be leaning forward, pulling her jacket across her torso with one hand and clutching her bag in the other in barrier gestures. If Albert is testing the water in terms of a mutual PDA he doesn’t seem in these poses to get any matching response.’
James further argued that Charlene appears the most animated when her husband’s back is turned – such as when she gave a grin and a thumbs-up to someone else during the match.
‘It appears to be when Albert’s back is turned here that Charlene becomes animated and even fun,’ James suggested.
‘She pulls an open-mouthed expression at someone as Albert walks off in front of her and when the sit together she turns to employ a beaming smile with a double thumbs up gesture as though to signal suddenly that she is ok.’
Reports that Princess Charlene and Prince Albert’s marriage is on the rocks first emerged earlier this year when French publication ROYAUTÉ suggested they were on the brink of divorce.
Last week the royal couple met with the French ambassador, in an official meeting in which their body language looked ‘awkward’
Although the palace issued a statement to dispel what it desribed as ‘malicious’ and ‘unfounded’ rumours, speculation was further fuelled when Princess Charlene, 45, was spotted out and about on a solo trip in Milan without her wedding ring.
After a few quieter months within the Monegasque royal family, reports of trouble in the marriage emerged once again last month, with German and French media claiming the mother-of-two now resides in Switzerland and sees her husband ‘by appointment’.
A source close to the couple told French newspaper Voici that the former Olympic swimmer and son of Grace Kelly are just a ‘ceremonial couple’. The source added that Charlene has promised to return to Monaco on official occasions and is now allowed to see her children more often.
‘Albert and Charlène are now good partners, take turns taking care of the children,’ a source added to German newspaper Bild.
The relationship between the pair has long been plagued with rumours of discontent, with Princess Charlene recently taking almost a year off from royal duties due to ill health.
She wasn’t pictured in Monaco from January 2021 until March 2022, citing an ear issue which stopped her from flying.
The last time the couple were believed to be in South Africa together was in 2021, when Prince Albert and his children flew out to be with Princess Charlene in South Africa as she recovered from a mystery operation
Referring to this 10-month period, James said: ‘[Charlene] has often looked incredibly sad and rather distanced in their poses together since, apart from some of the over-congruent, over-kill body language poses when she performed some very clinging hugs on Albert when he visited her during her ten month trip alone to South Africa.’
Upon her return to the principality, Albert claimed she was ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘unwell’, telling People magazine that it became ‘pretty evident’ a few hours after Charlene’s return that she 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.’
The Prince said the final decision making process about treatment involved an intervention-style meeting with family members, explaining: ‘I sat her down with her brothers and a sister-in-law. She had already made her decision, and we only wanted her to confirm it in front of us. She wanted this.
‘She already knew the best thing to do was to go and have a rest and have a real medically framed treatment. And not in Monaco. For privacy reasons, it would have to be someplace outside of Monaco.’
Meanwhile he revealed Gabriella and Jacques would ‘visit’ Charlene once they had the ‘medical go-ahead’, saying the twins ‘knew she was tired’ and ‘not quite herself.’
In 2021, the royal had an extended stay in her homeland, falling ill and undergoing surgery while there; she spent ten months apart from twins eight-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella
Voici reported she was seeking treatment in Switzerland at the time.
Earlier this year, the Palace was forced to deny the rumours in the French media that Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s marriage was on the rocks, and issued a statement which read: ‘I would like to formally deny the malicious rumours peddled by the French magazine Royauté. Please disregard this article which is totally unfounded.’
However, sources close to the couple have said Charlene was upset by Nicole Coste, the mother of Albert’s first son.
In July, Charlene almost came tete a tete with Nicole at the 74th annual Red Cross ball.
Former Air France stewardess Nicole, 51, who has a 19-year-old son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, with the monarch was among the guests at the fundraiser, which was founded by Prince Albert’s grandfather, Prince Louis II of Monaco, in 1948.
Nicole shared a photograph online of her inside the venue at the Sporting Club Salle des Etoiles. ‘Red, my favourite colour,’ she said of her choice of dress.
There is no love lost between Nicole and ex-Olympic swimmer Charlene. Coste has not forgiven the Princess for allegedly putting Alexandre in the palace’s staff wing before her £53million wedding in 2011.
Nicole previously admitted she felt little sympathy for Charlene after she was hospitalised for ‘exhaustion’ in 2021.
‘I don’t care what’s going on with her,’ she said. Nicole, who had a six-year clandestine relationship with Albert, even claimed: ‘The people in Monaco love me more than they do Charlene. They really love and respect me.’
Prince Albert first met swimmer Charlene Wittstock in 2000 in Monaco where she was representing South Africa and would go on to win gold. But no one was expecting a romance to blossom.
Their lives were very different. Sports-mad Charlene was 20 years his junior. Her father Michael was a photocopier salesman, and her mother Lynette a competitive diver.
But the pair allowed their relationship to develop slowly outside the public eye, and they did not make a public appearance until February 2006.
The occasion was the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. French journalist Philippe Delorme said at the time: ‘She was on his arm for the entire ceremony and they made no attempt to hide their affection for each other, sharing kisses and other tender gestures.’
Then, in June 2010, their engagement was announced. Albert proposed with a pear-cut diamond ring.
‘People could hardly believe it,’ Delorme added. ‘For four years, since they had first been seen together, the Monegasques had been holding their breath.’
Charlene was required to convert to Catholicism — she was raised a Protestant — and had to learn both French and the Monegasque dialect.
Delorme told the Daily Mail in 2011 that Albert finally meeting someone was a tale of Hollywood proportions: ‘If the Princess Grace [Kelly] story was a movie, then Princess Charlene is the remake.
‘The reality is that Albert is 52, a bit overweight, and much less fabulous and glamorous than his father was. It feels a bit like a love story of an old man and a young woman rather than a story of two young lovers.’
In her first interview after the royal wedding was announced, Charlene spoke of the challenges she faced making the transition from the life of an athlete to that of a future royal bride.
She admitted to experiencing ‘jealousy’ among some members of Monaco’s social elite. ‘The people I mixed with in Monaco didn’t relate to my South African mentality or humour,’ she told Tatler.
‘Of course I’ve been subject to jealousy, but that comes with the territory. Although I have met some wonderful people since I’ve been living in Monaco, I regard them all as acquaintances. I only have two people I consider friends here.’
At the time of their wedding, Charlene was dubbed the ‘Runaway Bride’ by the French media after allegedly trying to flee before the ceremony, but the reports were always denied.
A Parisian news magazine reported that Charlene had been stopped at Nice airport after allegedly learning a ‘distressing’ revelation about her future husband’s private life.
A senior Monaco detective claimed at the time: ‘Charlene had her passport confiscated so that the Prince’s entourage could persuade her to stay’.
The rumour mill in France went into overdrive. Charlene had, it was suggested, heard talk of another illegitimate child, conceived when she was dating Prince Albert in 2005, and who would bring his tally of children born out of wedlock to three.
But the Princess would go on to dismiss the ‘hilarious’ rumours. She said: ‘Why would he go through all this effort to have our dearest friends come join us, for us to be reluctant?’
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’