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International Royals

Princess Charlene's shock collapse: Inside the illness that kept her separated from her children for months

“I miss my husband and children dearly.”

By Maddison Leach
Princess Charlene of Monaco has been stuck in South Africa for months now, unable to return home due to a painful illness.
She went weeks without seeing her two children, six-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, face-to-face.
She was even separated from her husband, Prince Albert II of Monaco, for their tenth wedding anniversary.
And even now that the royal has reunited with her family, who flew to South Africa to be with her, it doesn't look like she'll be able to return home any time soon.
Princess Charlene and Prince Albert II of Monaco with their two children. Getty
Though she's undergone surgery to treat the condition, Charlene was recently rushed to hospital last week after collapsing following an infection.
The royal has now opened up about the illness that has prevented her from returning to Monaco and her family.
But what has Charlene been suffering from, how is it being treated, and why are there so many rumours about her long stay in South Africa? We've looked into it so you don't have to.

Why did Princess Charlene collapse?

Princess Charlene collapsed on the night of September 1 due to complications following one of several surgeries for a severe and ongoing ear, nose and throat infection.
The 43-year-old was rushed to Netcare Alberlito Hospital, where she was treated and was soon in a "reassuring" condition according to a palace statement.
"On the night of September 1, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco was taken to hospital after becoming ill due to complications from a serious ENT infection," the statement to People read.
"Her Highness is being closely followed by her medical team, who say her condition is reassuring."
Princess Charlene collapsed last week due to complications from her illness. (Getty)
Charlene was reportedly scheduled to undergo another surgery to treat the illness that day, but it's understood that procedure did not go ahead.
Prince Albert II and their twin children, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, recently travelled to reunite with Charlene and had hoped to return to Monaco as a family in October.
"She's ready to come home," Albert told People of his wife.
"I know she's said possibly late October, but that was before this most recent round of appointments."
"I'm pretty sure we can cut that time frame a little short. She's jokingly said that she's ready to stowaway on a ship to come back to Europe."

Is Princess Charlene sick?

The short answer is yes.
The royal has been suffering from a severe ear, nose and throat infection she contracted during a visit to South Africa.

She returned to the country where she was raised earlier this year to participate in wildlife protection efforts.
It's understood she developed the infection during this time and underwent surgery to treat it in mid-May, People reports.
Charlene was taken into the operating room again in June, to address complications from the first surgery, and has remained in South Africa since.
It's been months since she was in Monaco, but it's understood the royal won't be allowed to return until her medical team clears her to fly.

What has Princess Charlene said about her illness?

Though Charlene hasn't publicly shared details of her illness and surgeries, she has spoken about missing her family.
"It's been a trying time for me. I miss my husband and children dearly," she told South African News Channel24 last week.
"Albert is my rock and strength and without his love and support I would not have been able to get through this painful time."
On social media, the royal has also tried to keep her posts 'business as usual', choosing not to address her illness.
The princess was forced to miss her and Prince Albert's tenth wedding anniversary because of her illness, but shared tributes on social media to mark the occasion.
"Happy anniversary Albert. Thank you for the blessing of our beautiful children," she wrote on Instagram, alongside a video tribute to their marriage.
Charlene has also been missing her two young children, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, sharing an update on them on Friday.

"Spending time with Jacqui and Bella making blankets for the crèche next door," she captioned a series of photos on Instagram.
The snaps showed the royal FaceTiming her son and daughter, showing them the creche and blowing kisses to the phone. She last saw them when they visited South Africa in June.

When did Princess Charlene reunite with her family?

Charlene finally reunited with her husband and children at the end of August, when the Monegasque royal family flew to South Africa to join her.
The princess was thrilled to see her family again, taking to Instagram to share adorable reunion.
"I am so thrilled to have my family back with me❤️," she captioned a series of photos of her cuddled up to her children.
Prince Albert could be seen smiling in the background, but it was little Princess Gabriella's DIY fringe that caught everyone's attention, Charlene joking that she tried to fix her it.
Hours after posting the family shots, Charlene also shared two loved-up photos with her husband.

Why are there rumours about Princess Charlene’s trip to South Africa?

Princess Charlene first travelled to South Africa in March for a funeral, then returned in May for her wildlife conservation project.
However, some insiders claim the royal hasn't returned to Monaco due to tensions in her marriage.
Some reports also claim Charlene has remained in South Africa to distance herself from new rumours that Prince Albert has a third love child.
Princess Charlene stands with her husband and children in 2020. Getty
He is currently facing a new legal battle over the paternity of a child whose mother claims Albert is the father, but Albert's lawyer called the claims "totally false", "based on lies" and "akin to blackmail".
Charlene has not publicly addressed the situation, but made a pointed comment earlier this year after news of the supposed love child came out.
"When my husband has problems, he tells me about it,'" she told French magazine Point de Vue.
"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'."

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