Those who 10 years ago observed with some attention the entrance of Charlene (then still Wittstock) in the courtyard of the Grimaldi Palace, in Monte Carlo, walking on a red carpet and under an immense white awning, did not see a bride who was the spitting image of the happiness. That July 2, 2011, they saw a nervous woman, very serious, moved to tears, only smiling at the end of the ceremony, with her head bowed before the illustrious guests of royal families, art, fashion or music. The 33-year-old South African married Albert II, sovereign of Monaco, a state of two square kilometers and then barely 30,000 inhabitants (today it exceeds 38,000) and that by his gesture it seemed that it was going to become more a golden prison than a home. Ten years later, doubts persist, but Charlene has found her place. Although he is not always in Monaco.
Over time, Charlene has wanted to learn to fly and has managed to do so. It is the years that give the experience and this decade has helped her to get to do, simply, what she wanted. His appearances in Monaco are rare: the Ball of the Rose, a tennis tournament, the feast of Saint Devota, the day of the Principality, a charity gala. Three, six, eight dates a year where she appears on her husband’s arm (she has few solo acts), greets, smiles and leaves. The photographers riddle her and have material for a few months in which she will be lost again. The last time she was seen in Monte Carlo, in fact, was at the end of January, for the feast of the patron saint. More than five months have passed.
Nothing is known about the life of the couple. While Alberto is dedicated to the International Olympic Committee and especially to the environment, Charlene spends long periods in South Africa, with her family and friends, and in the African continent in general, whose conservation she watches over; in fact, he has a foundation named after him dedicated to it. This is how he lets it be seen in his Instagram profile, with almost 260,000 followers and where he uploads personal and private photos, far from the official protocol of the Principality’s networks. It has been in him where posted a video thanking her husband for this decade. The message does not speak of love or their relationship: “Happy anniversary, Alberto. Thank you for the blessing that you are our precious children ”.
The couple has twins, Jacques and Gabriella, who will turn seven in December and who have given them the most important thing: a succession to the throne. Monaco is a country with a minor royalty (in fact, it is not even royalty, because there is no royal family, only princely), but it needed to ensure continuity. And having children does not give it, but that these are born within marriage and also baptized in the Catholic faith. Alberto has at least two other offspring, already recognized: Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, 29, the result of a sporadic relationship with American Tamara Rotolo; and Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, 18 years old and after another relationship, this time for six years, with Togolese Air France stewardess Nicole Coste. A year ago, a Brazilian woman stated that she had a 15-year-old daughter with him and that she would sue him, but for the moment the claim has not reached port.
When Alberto got married he already knew those children, but he needed an heir. And Charlene managed to give it to him; in fact, two. The children were born in late 2014, more than three years after a wedding that was always under suspicion. Two French media, L’Express Y Le Figaro, They went so far as to affirm that the bride had wanted to flee up to three times and that on the third, hours before the wedding and from the Nice airport, she almost succeeded.
Since then rumors and doubts have haunted them. To begin with, because on their honeymoon in South Africa – the country of the swimmer – they no longer slept in separate rooms, but in hotels 15 kilometers apart. They have always let gossip pass, and on some very rare occasion have they faced it. That July 2011, the British newspaper The Sunday Times published a story that told that the marriage had been an arrangement and where he explained those alleged attempts to escape by the princess and also that she would have accepted the wedding for a sum of money and on the condition that she remain married for at least five years and have a child. The sovereign denounced half and a year and a half after the publication, they agreed to compensation from the newspaper. There was never a trial.
However, over the years it has been shown that the couple’s relationship was special. In 2013, she missed the enthronement of Guillermo de Holanda because she was at a friend’s wedding in South Africa, a private engagement that prevailed over an official one. Also at this time the differences with their sisters-in-law have been seen. Charlene became the first lady of the Principality by marrying, displacing Carolina. Few times, more than in official and obligatory acts, have they been seen together or as accomplices.
The displays of affection between the couple have not abounded in these ten years, eleven, counting on the commitment. On Father’s Day 2020, Charlene wrote a text on Instagram where it said: “If Albert I was the explorer and Prince Rainier III, the builder, Albert II is the prince of the heart … of my heart.” A sweetened message that she complemented with an interview a few months later, when she said that she was “one thousand percent” with her husband, who was “her friend, her guide.”
Precisely in that interview, with the magazine Paris match, Charlene was talking about the striking haircut, with a side shaved, that had been done. “That haircut was my decision. It seems to have sparked all kinds of comments. But it turns out I’ve been wanting for a long time, I like the style, that’s all. It is true that, probably, of all the members of royal families, I am the one who has tried the most different hairstyles, but I will continue to do so, it is my decision, “she claimed then. He is right in saying that he is a member of a royal family with different hairstyles. She too is different. She already flies alone. And throughout these 10 years he cares less and less to prove it.