“I’ll stand by you in good times or bad”: Inside Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s rollercoaster royal marriage

How scandal has followed the couple for a decade.
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Princess Charlene wed Prince Albert II of Monaco in 2011, but their relationship hasn’t exactly been the stuff of fairytales.

South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock was 22 when she met Albert at a Monaco swim meet in 2000.

The pair took their relationship public in 2006 at the Winter Olympic Games and announced their engagement in 2010.

But even as the couple were planning their lavish royal wedding, there were reports of trouble between Princess Charlene and Prince Albert behind the scenes.

From seemingly constant rumours of secret love children, to two actual love children and an alleged wedding day escape attempt, their marriage has been a rollercoaster.

Read on for all the details of their ten-year marriage and the rumours that have plagued it.

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Runaway royal bride

Princess Charlene’s wedding day was rife with controversy, but there was drama well before she donned her white gown and walked down the aisle.

There had already been speculation about the 20-year age gap between Charlene and Prince Albert, then rumours of a love child hit the press.

The child’s identity was kept private, but there were widespread claims that Albert and the mother conceived the child while he was committed to Charlene.

His two elder love children were already public knowledge, so claims that he had fathered a third didn’t seem too outlandish.

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert announced their engagement in 2010.

(Image: Getty)

Upon hearing the reports, Charlene allegedly tried to escape her upcoming nuptials.

French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche claimed the bride-to-be sought “refuge in the South African Embassy, while in France for a bridal-gown fitting.”

It’s clear that she returned to Monaco after that supposed escape attempt, but a second is said to have followed just a few weeks later.

The same outlet claimed Charlene tried to slip away during an appearance at the Monaco Grand Prix, but failed and reportedly had her passport confiscated by Prince Albert’s entourage.

Those rumours were never confirmed, but just two days before their wedding, Charlene was said to have tried to escape one last time.

Her final attempt allegedly saw Charlene book a flight home to South Africa, but someone close to the prince supposedly talked her out of going through with her plan to leave.

Princess Charlene attending an event with Prince Albert in 2010, a year before they tied the knot.

(Image: Getty)

“Several sources have confirmed that an arrangement was reached between the future bride and groom,” Le Journal du Dimanche reported at the time.

Charlene later addressed the claims, telling the UK’s Times Weekend magazine there was absolutely no truth to the “runaway bride” rumours.

The palace also denied the stories and called them “ugly rumours” born out of jealousy, while chief advisor to Albert said that the claims were “completely crazy”. Officials insisted Charlene never tried to flee, nor was her passport taken.

But when she arrived at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco on her wedding day, scandal erupted once again.

Princess Charlene’s tears at the altar

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene said “I do” in a lavish royal ceremony at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco on July 2, 2011, following a civil ceremony the day prior.

Guests and members of the press immediately noticed that the bride wasn’t beaming as she walked down the aisle to her future husband.

Charlene was photographed crying and wiping away tears during her and Albert’s wedding ceremony.

(Image: Getty)

In fact, Charlene cried through much of the wedding ceremony, and they didn’t look like tears of joy.

The Associated Press wrote that “tears flowed freely” down Charlene’s face, The Guardian reported that Albert begged her in a whisper not to cry, and some outlets even claimed she “recoiled” when he tried to kiss her.

If the reports were troubling, the photos only made things worse.

Pictures of Charlene wiping away tears as she said her vows immediately reignited rumours that the couple’s union was anything but happy.

The princess later addressed her tears, saying that she was simply “overwhelmed” and that “there were all the mixed emotions because of the rumours” on her wedding day.

Other photos from their wedding day showed Charlene looking downcast and uncomfortable.

(Image: Getty)

Some photos from the big day did show Charlene smiling with guests and her groom, but she and Albert reportedly went on to spend the duration of their honeymoon in separate hotels.

Some outlets even suggested Charlene’s passport was confiscated and her room guarded to prevent another escape attempt.

Things didn’t improve when they returned from their honeymoon either, as the love child scandal was waiting for the newlyweds back in Monaco.

Prince Albert’s love children

Prince Albert had already fathered two older children by the time he wed Charlene in 2011, so news of a third wasn’t unbelievable.

Few details were released about the suspected third love child that supposedly prompted Charlene’s hesitance over her marriage to Albert.

As for his two elder love children, Jazmin and Alexandre, they were a different story.

Prince Albert with his oldest daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, whom he acknowledged as his child in 2006.

(Image: Instagram)

Jazmin Grace Grimaldi was born in 1992 after her mother, Tamara Rotolo, had a three-week fling with the Monegasque prince the year prior.

He acknowledged Jazmin, 29, in 2006 and appears to have a good relationship with his daughter, who is a singer and actress in the US.

In 2015, she spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about her unique situation.

“I was 14, getting ready to go to high school, when it hit the media that my father had a daughter, and it was me. It’s a difficult time for any young adult, and it was an adjustment to have that attention. But I knew it was going to come someday,” Jazmin explained at the time.

“I wanted that moment to connect with my father, to get to know him, and to have him get to know me,” she said.

Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, born in 2003, was the product of a years-long secret relationship between Albert and Nicole Coste, a flight attendant the prince met in 1997.

The royal initially refused to acknowledge Alexandre, even after a DNA test proved the boy was his son. Albert finally acknowledged Alexandre in 2005, after a legal battle and just days before he was enthroned.

While he eventually accepted both of his elder children, Charlene went through a different journey with them.

“At first, Charlene did resent Albert’s other kids and she felt rejected,” a royal source told Woman’s Day in 2019.

But the princess changed her tune in 2014, when she and Albert welcomed their first children – a set of twins.

Prince Albert with his son, Alexandre, whom he acknowledged in 2005.

(Image: Instagram)

“Once Charlene gave birth to the twins, the official royal heirs, she wanted them to grow up knowing their brother and sister,” the royal source said.

“Charlene goes out of her way to make them feel part of the family – as they indeed are.”

These days Charlene is welcoming and affectionate with the pair, the source saying: “They were outsiders to the royal family, just as she was, too.”

Because Jazmin and Alexandre were born out of wedlock, and as Article 10 of the Constitution of Monaco dictates, they cannot be royal nor inherit the throne.

Welcoming the twins

Albert and Charlene’s twins Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès, and Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco were born on December 10, 2014.

Charlene immediately took to motherhood when they arrived, with Albert revealing in a rare interview that his wife was an “eager” mum.

“She’s very eager to be with her children at all times. She’s up with the kids at six and takes them through the morning. Every day,” Albert told People in 2015.

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert welcomed their twins in 2014.

(Image: Getty)

“I don’t think they would be as smiling and happy as they are if she weren’t as good a mother as she is.”

The twins became royal fan favourites, with the general public adoring every new photo and appearance from the pint-sized prince and princess.

Charlene took to sharing sweet family photos of her kids on Instagram, where she’s regularly flooded with comments fawning over the twins.

In a 2019 interview with French magazine Point de Vue the princess shared some all too relatable insights to her family life.

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She said: “When I’m alone with them, the kids fight over who will sleep with Mum. They love to climb into our bed, suddenly we find ourselves a little cramped.”

Though scandal overshadowed the start of Charlene and Albert’s marriage, their children seemed to make them more united than ever.

The royal duo have appeared at their happiest since welcoming Gabriella and Jacques, often attending royal events as a family of four.

Meanwhile, photos from Charlene’s Instagram page show her and Albert happily taking on the roles of “mum and dad” behind the scenes too.

Charlene and Albert celebrate their twins’ sixth birthday.

(Image: Instagram)

Charlene’s long stay in South Africa

After travelling to South Africa in the early months of 2021, Charlene was struck down with a serious ear, nose and throat infection that prevented her from returning to Monaco.

The royal was grounded as she underwent two surgeries to treat the illness, then remained in South Africa for weeks recovering.

Charlene told South Africa Radio 702 of her ordeal: “Initially I was supposed to be here for 10 to 12 days.

“I found out through the doctors that I had a sinus infection and quite a serious one… I cannot force healing, so I will be grounded in South Africa until the end of October.”

Princess Charlene in South Africa on FaceTime with her son.

(Image: Instagram)

Meanwhile, her husband and two children were back in Monaco, separated from Charlene for months before finally reuniting in August.

The royal couple’s long separation ignited rumours about their marriage once again, especially given their 10 year wedding anniversary came and went while the pair were apart.

Some outlets claimed Charlene was remaining in South Africa to avoid her husband, while others reported that the couple desperately wanted to reunite.

“It’s been a trying time for me. I miss my husband and children dearly,” Charlene told South African News Channel24 in July.

“Albert is my rock and strength and without his love and support I would not have been able to get through this painful time.”

The pair were finally reunited on August 26, with Charlene sharing photos from the happy moment on Instagram.

However, fans and critics alike claimed that the snaps of her with her husband looked “posed” and “uncomfortable”.

Charlene captioned two photos of her embracing Albert: “Happy to see you healthy 🙏🏻❤️and reunited your Highness!”

While rumours of trouble in their marriage continue to swirl, Charlene has been nothing but positive in her recent statements about Albert.

10 years together

On July 2, 2021 the royal couple celebrated 10 years of marriage and marked the occasion with a series of loved-up videos.

Charlene shared one to Instagram with the caption: “Happy anniversary, Albert. Thank you for the blessing of our children.”

However, some critics claimed that the real reason for their separation separation was ongoing tensions in their marriage.

According to reports from Page Six and other outlets, love child rumours were to blame yet again.

Charlene and Albert have marked their tenth wedding anniversary apart.

(Image: Getty)

In December 2020 the Daily Mail reported that Albert had a third love child, a daughter who was born in 2005 after the prince had a “passionate affair” with the mother.

Charlene didn’t publicly comment on the claims, but appeared to give a pointed statement in a Point de Vue magazine interview the following month.

“When my husband has problems, he tells me about it. I often tell him, ‘No matter what, I’m a thousand percent behind you. I’ll stand by you whatever you do, in good times or bad,'” she said.

As for Albert, he’s now facing yet another possible paternity battle. While a court hearing was scheduled for February 2022, the prince’s lawyers pleaded sovereign immunity in October 2021, according to Town & Country.

Charlene has said she will stand by her husband no matter what.

(Image: Getty)

In July 2021, the lawyer for the mother of the supposed love child told Page Six: “I don’t understand why the prince doesn’t take a test. What’s the matter?”

Thierry Lacoste, Albert’s lawyer, told the outlet that the woman’s claims were “totally false”, “based on lies” and “akin to blackmail” and Albert has refused to take any kind of paternity test.

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