International Royals

Inside the illness that has kept Princess Charlene 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 to her children due to a painful illness.
She was even separated from her husband, Prince Albert II of Monaco, for their tenth wedding anniversary.
And it's been weeks since she saw their two children, six-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, face-to-face.
Princess Charlene and Prince Albert II of Monaco with their two children. Getty
Though she's undergone surgery to treat the condition, new images of Charlene showed her looking thin and it's still unclear when she'll be well enough to travel home to her children.
Now the royal has 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.

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.

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 since March and has been in South Africa for almost four months now, though the palace has suggested this is not the case.
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'."
And there are plans for the family to reunite soon, with People reporting Prince Albert and the twins will be travelling to South Africa to reunite with Charlene in the coming weeks.

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