Just days after Prince Albert of Monaco announced that his wife Charlene had been admitted to a treatment facility, it's been claimed the royal "almost died" during her stay in South Africa, losing a dangerous amount of weight and undergoing bouts of surgery.
A source tells The New York Post the princess had a serious ear, nose and throat infection, which resulted in "swallowing issues".
"She hasn't been able to eat solid food in six months," says the insider.
"She's only been able to take in liquids through a straw, so she lost nearly half her body weight."
Despite looking happy to be back with her family after touching down in Monaco earlier this month, eight days later it was dramatically announced that the princess, 43, had withdrawn from public life.
A palace statement explained she was recovering from "a state of profound general fatigue".
Days later, her husband and six-year-old twins Gabriella and Jacques appeared on the palace balcony for National Day, holding up adorable homemade signs saying, "We miss you Mommy," and "We love you Mommy."A palace insider now tells Woman's Day Charlene's six-month separation from her family to show her support for anti-poaching charities came at a time when she felt at her lowest.
"Charlene was under a lot of pressure in Monaco – she was criticised, observed, judged and antagonised.
"It's too soon for her to play the perfect princess. She fears breaking down in tears in public, or worse," says the source.
Albert, 63, told People during an intervention-style meeting with Charlene's brothers and one of her sisters-in-law, the princess agreed she needed treatment, which is taking place at a facility outside Monaco.
"She realised she needed help. You can't force anyone to understand that they need treatment, they have to accept it themselves," he explained.
"She hadn't slept well in a number of days and she wasn't eating at all well. She's lost a lot of weight, which made her vulnerable to other potential ailments."
While Albert didn't go into further details but clarified his wife's health problems weren't related to COVID, cancer or "plastic surgery or facial work", he hinted they were a mixture of physical and possibly mental health ones.
"She knew the best thing to do was to go and have a rest and have a real medically framed treatment," he added, saying, "she was overwhelmed and couldn't face official duties, life in general or even family life."
The princess has been the target of whispers since her engagement in 2010. Amid reports the prince had a love child – since confirmed – it was claimed Charlene attempted to flee, earning her the nickname "the runaway bride".
She's been criticised for not smiling in public, and for saying parenting was "often exhausting".
But Woman's Day hears that despite all this, the couple's relationship remains strong.
"Albert is doing his best to help his wife. He wants to keep his marriage together so he and his children can have a stable family life. Only time will tell," the royal insider tells us.
"Charlene is still very fragile. Over the past year she's lost 10 kilos then visibly more while away and is now very thin."
Page Six claims Charlene's friends are concerned Albert has underplayed the seriousness of her condition.
"It's unfair she's being portrayed as having some kind of mental or emotional issue," one source said.
"We don't know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa."
"She's exhausted by six months of surgeries and an inability to eat properly as a result of it," the source said, adding that the royal is "definitely not losing her mind"
- PuzzlesThe Australian Women's Weekly February Issue Online Entry
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