After spending much of 2021 in her native South Africa for treatment, Charlene, Princess of Monaco, has spoken out about her illness.
Charlene went to South Africa for a funeral in May of last year, but she had an ear, nose, and throat infection that kept her from flying home for six months.
The mother-of-two returned to Monaco in November after undergoing various surgeries. But she only stayed at home for a short time before heading to a facility in Switzerland to be treated for emotional and physical weariness.
Following a four-month stint at the Swiss clinic, the Monegasque king returned home in March 2022.
For the first time, the princess has talked publicly about her health, describing her recovery as “long, arduous, and very painful.”
“My health is still fragile, and I don’t want to rush things,” she said in an interview with the Monaco-Matin newspaper.
Charlene claimed she “focused all my energies” on her husband, Prince Albert II, and their seven-year-old children Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques when she returned to Monaco.
She denied rumours of an impending divorce, saying, “I am extremely glad to be back home in Monaco and with my family.”
During her absence, the South African-born Olympic swimmer turned Monegasque princess went months without seeing her two children and was even separated from Prince Albert on their tenth wedding anniversary.
However, the queen has continued to suffer difficulties since her return to Monaco in early November.
Charlene declared in November that she would be taking a break from public life and going to a secluded location to recover from her tragedy.
The princess is still receiving therapy weeks later, and family and friends, including the princess’ father, are only sharing limited details about her trauma.
It’s just the latest worrying development for Charlene, who has kept a low profile since returning to Monaco after months of illness.
But what ailment did Charlene have, how was it treated, and why are there so many rumours regarding her extended stay in South Africa? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to.
Charlene’s father speaks out
Mike Wittstock, Charlene’s father, has made a rare public comment on his daughter to the news site News24, as she continues to stay withdrawn from public life while undergoing treatment.
He revealed that he was frightened to visit her in South Africa earlier this year because he was afraid of unintentionally infecting her with COVID-19.
He told the newspaper, “I didn’t want to infect her either because she had so many medical operations, she is really vulnerable.”
He did maintain in touch with her over the phone, as well as with her children in Monaco, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, who are six years old.
Despite the fact that Charlene is presently receiving therapy in a top-secret facility, her father is confident that she will overcome her problems and return “stronger.”
“I know she’s tough and will get through this and come out much stronger,” he said of his former Olympian daughter, based on the way she used to train.
The princess had been coping with problems from an ear, nose, and throat infection, but Prince Albert recently told People that his wife is now suffering from “deep overall fatigue…exhaustion, both emotional and physical.”
He denied that she is or was ever infected with COVID-19, and stated that Charlene’s withdrawal from royal life had nothing to do with the marriage rumours.
“This isn’t about a personal bond. And if you want to talk about another rumour, it has nothing to do with plastic surgery or face work,” he added.
Why isn’t Charlene going out in public?
After returning from South Africa earlier this month, the Monaco royal palace announced on November 16 that Charlene would be taking a sabbatical from public activities.
“Their Serene Highnesses have both determined that a period of calm and repose is required to ensure Princess Charlene’s health recovers as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
“After battling bad health for several months, the Princess is now convalescing and will remain so for the next few weeks, giving her time to recover from a state of severe general exhaustion.”
“The Princess’ whereabouts will remain totally discreet in order to maintain the comfort and seclusion that are critical to her rehabilitation.”
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The news comes only days after Prince Albert left for an event in Dubai without his wife, reigniting concerns about Charlene’s health.
Since returning to Monaco, the princess has kept a low profile, posting only a single snapshot of her reunion with her family on Instagram before disappearing from the platform.
It’s unclear when she’ll resume her public royal duties, but it could be weeks before we see her again following months of battling illness and complications from surgery in South Africa.
Is Princess Charlene sick?
Before a vacation to South Africa at the start of 2021, the queen was suffering from a serious ear, nose, and throat infection that she had unknowingly contracted.
At the beginning of 2021, she returned to the country where she was raised for a funeral and to help with wildlife conservation activities.
According to People, she contracted the virus before she arrived and had surgery to correct it in mid-May 2021.
In June, Charlene was taken back into the operating room to handle issues from the previous surgery.
In early October, she had her “last” surgery.
What has Princess Charlene said about her illness?
Charlene hasn’t revealed many specifics about her sickness or procedures, although she has talked about missing her family.
“It’s been a difficult period for me.” In December 2021, she told South African News Channel24 that she misses her husband and children terribly.
“Albert is my rock and strength, and I would not have been able to get through this difficult period without his love and support.”
The monarch kept her social media posts ‘business as usual,’ avoiding any mention of her sickness during her extended trip overseas.
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Because of her sickness, the princess was unable to attend her and Prince Albert’s tenth wedding anniversary, but she offered tributes on social media to commemorate the occasion.
“Congratulations on your anniversary, Albert.” “Thank you for providing us with our lovely children,” she said accompanying a video tribute to their marriage on Instagram.
In July 2021, Charlene shared an update on her two young children, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques.
She posted a series of Instagram photographs, “Spending time with Jacqui and Bella crocheting blankets for the crèche next door.”
The royal was seen FaceTiming her son and daughter, showing them the creche and blowing kisses on the phone, according to the photos.
She first saw them in June of that year when they visited South Africa, and then she saw them again in August.