For a couple keen to show they’re happily married, they’re currently literally thousands of miles apart.
While Princess Charlene of Monaco has recently returned to her native South Africa, Prince Albert is seemingly enjoying a gallivant around the northern hemisphere – being spotted in France, New York, Washington D.C. and Munich this week.
While it was rumoured the monarch may head to Sun City in South Africa to join his wife on a charity engagement – it seems Albert has been in meetings across the US and Europe instead.
As England took on Japan in the Rugby World Cup in Nice on Sunday evening, and the 65-year-old Monegasque royal was watching from the stands, it became clear that his 45-year-old wife had made a solo trip.
Last week, the prince’s official Instagram account revealed he’d jetted to New York for the UN General Assembly – where he also met with Prince William at the Earthshot Awards. He’s since met with President Joe and First Lady Jill Biden.
Meanwhile there was an official update on Charlene too, who was making her first trip back to her homeland since her 2021 visit, where she fell ill and was without her family for the majority of her ten month stay.
Prince Albert has joined Joe and Jill Biden in Washington DC this week
The Prince has also been in Munich for Oktoberfest
Meanwhile, Charlene has been in her native South Africa
Princess Charlene of Monaco, 45, will return to her native South Africa for the first time since she fell ill there in 2021 – spending ten months away from her family. It’s thought that Prince Albert, 65, will join his wife, 45, on the charity trip in ‘a show of unity’ (Princess Charlene and Prince Albert at Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between South Africa and Scotland earlier this month)
It’s clear, from all the official updates, that a joint trip to the country where Charlene spent her formative years was unlikely to have ever been on the cards – the couple are seemingly simple too busy with their own individual pursuits.
The separate visits come as both have been making almost daily shows of unity in Monaco, albeit brief ones supported by soundbites insisting that they are still very much together.
Faced with claims that she was part of a ‘ceremonial couple,’ and no longer living with Albert, Charlene said both were in fact ‘serene and happy’.
The former South Africa Olympic swimmer told her local newspaper, Monaco Matin, that the family, including eight-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, had in fact just spent three weeks holidaying on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica.
Albert was even more forceful, saying: ‘Charlene is always by my side.’
This was not technically true – there have provably been long separations – but the picture has at least been a little rosier recently.
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
‘We received the new French ambassador to Monaco together on Tuesday at the palace,’ Albert told Italian media last week.
Clearly keeping a mental note of all his movements, Albert continued: ‘We were together at the Casino Square for the Princess of Monaco Cup golf competition.’
Then there was a sighting of them both at the South Africa versus Scotland Rugby World Cup tie last Sunday – yet another one of some seven recorded outings.
‘I don’t understand all these rumours about us, which hurt me,’ said Albert. He branded them all ‘lies’, while also admitting ‘some difficulties, many months ago.’
These followed Charlene’s horrendous South Africa trip in 2021, when she was first diagnosed with an ear, nose, and throat infection.
Then there were multiple procedures, including an unspecified one that took place under general aesthetic, and lasted at least four hours.
Prince Albert pictured with his ‘illegitimate’ children Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste and Jasmin Grimaldi; the royal has a close relationship with his two older children. Alexandre’s mother is Nicole Coste, 52, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo while Jasmin’s mother is American waitress Tamara Rotolo
Prince Albert’s son Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste (pictured) has berated his title of ‘illegitimate’ and revealed he’s ‘very close’ to his father and half-siblings (pictured with his mother and father)
Flying back to Monaco was ruled out, so Charlene stayed away from Albert and the children.
Even when she finally got back to Monte Carlo, in November 2021, Charlene soon headed off for a four-month stay at a Swiss clinic, to try and ‘get over her trauma’.
But Albert said that all this was now in the past and ‘now thank goodness she’s over it and is always by my side.
‘She supports me in leading the Principality, but we’re not attached to each other 24 hours a day.
‘We’re a working couple and sometimes that only allows us to see each other at the end of a long day full of appointments.’
There is absolutely no doubt that billionaire Albert has an intense timetable at the moment – not least of all because of more alleged ‘lies’, this time about his business dealings.
He is facing up to corruption claims being distributed by a Wikileaks-style website.
For the past two years, Les Dossiers du Rocher (The Rock Files) has provided allegations about skulduggery within his inner circle.
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
Close confidantes are said to have manipulated the sky-high property market on the Rock – as the tiny tax haven of Monaco is referred to – for personal gain.
Those named and shamed include Albert’s former chief of staff, Laurent Anselmi, his ex-wealth manager, Claude Palmero, and his one-time lawyer, Thierry Lacoste.
All were once close personal friends of Albert, while others accused of fraud include Monaco Supreme Court judge, Didier Linotte.
Those named vehemently deny all the claims made against them, but there have already been police enquiries, including searches of suspects’ homes, and mass resignations.
English writer William Somerset Maugham described Monaco as ‘a sunny place for shady people,’ and one of Albert’s greatest fears is that former lieutenants may now turn on him, not least of all by exposing family secrets.
As Albert put it: ‘The Rock Files brought to light, via the Internet, certain activities of people who were working with me.
‘As I’ve said – if trust is broken, then it’s impossible to continue working together.’
The involvement of Thierry Lacoste at the centre of the Rock File allegations is particularly worrying for Albert.
As Albert’s childhood friend and long-time lawyer, Albert was always certain he could trust Lacoste with family secrets.
It was Lacoste who managed numerous crises in the Prince’s life, not least of all ones involving his romantic affairs.
For example, in 2020, Lacoste dealt with Albert being summoned to court in Italy to face explosive claims he had fathered a third love child with a secret girlfriend before marrying Princess Charlene.
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco (pictured in November 2022 in New York City) have continuously formally denied ‘the malicious rumours’ that they are separating after almost 12 years of marriage – and Albert is also currently facing claims that Monaco is corrupt
The Prince, who already supports two illegitimate children, was alleged to have had a relationship with a Brazilian woman which resulted in a daughter being born in 2005.
It was Lacoste who dismissed the well-documented claims as a ‘hoax’, and managed to ‘make the embarrassing claims disappear,’ according to another lawyer involved in the case.
He told Mail Online: ‘This was typical of how important Mr Lacoste has been to Albert’ life.
‘One minute, these very damaging allegations were all over the international media, and then silence.
‘In this case, Albert was due in court in Milan, but clearly a settlement was very quickly reached with the claimant. She has not said a word in public since.’
Princess Charlene was clearly upset by the scandal, appearing in public with a dramatic new punk rock-style hair cut.
The now 36-year-old claimant – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said she had a passionate affair with Albert, leading to the birth of their daughter – whose name is also classified – on July 4, 2005.
Cried and groom: Charlene had been accused of trying to run away three times before she married Prince Albert in July 2011
The royal couple went on to have two children, eight-year-old twins, Jacques and Gabriella (pictured at National Day 2022 at the Monaco Palace)
Jacques is the Hereditary Prince of Monaco, pictured with his parents and sister Princess Gabriella in 2022
Albert received a handwritten letter from the child, who is now 17, in September 2020 reading: ‘I don’t understand why I grew up without a father, and now that I have found you, you don’t want to see me.’
Legal papers were also filed, as lawyers for the claimant called on Albert to undergo a DNA test – just as he did before finally being identified as the father of two illegitimate children born in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Meanwhile, leading titles including France’s Voici, and Germany’s Bild, are still reporting on the alleged collapse of Albert’s 12-year marriage.
Voici writes: ‘They [Albert and Charlene] form a facade couple, nothing more. They each have their place of refuge, even if they continue to see each other. Thanks to this arrangement, there is a real balance. Charlene is moving forward in life.’
Bild alleges: ‘Albert and Charlene have become good partners and take turns looking after the children. All that matters to the princess is the emotional balance of her children.’
The sense of tension increased when Albert displayed his lingering closeness to old flame Nicole Coste, and two of his love children, at a party last month.
Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, Albert’s son with former air hostess Nicole Coste, was celebrating his 20th birthday on August 24th, along with Jazmin Grimaldi, 31 – the result of Albert’s fling with Tamara Rotolo, a former real estate agent from the USA.
‘The picture of Albert looking very relaxed with Nicole can’t have impressed Charlene,’ said a source in Monaco, who knows the family well. ‘Nicole is still very beautiful’.
As the speculation intensifies, Charlene and Albert were due to fly out to Johannesburg at the end of last week, so as to attend a Water Bike Challenge organised by the Princess’s charity foundation.
‘We are deeply honoured that their Serene Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Monaco, are attending the event, to support the cause of the Foundation,’ said an organiser, who said the Challenge would highlight the need for water safety.
Race teams will use water bikes to circle a mile-long course, and all proceeds will go to the Lifesaving South Africa association.
It may be that the Royal couple even join in the race, said another excited palace insider, added pointedly: ‘With luck, they’ll be on the same team.’
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’