The royal mom, who has had health struggles in the past, shares twins Jacques and Gabriella with husband Prince Albert
Princess Charlene is opening up about her 8-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, in a new interview as her children return to school.
Revealing that the twins will not be in the same classroom for the first time, the royal mom, 45, told Monaco-Matin, "it’s a big step, and it feels good."
On Monday, Charlene woke the 8-year olds, dressed them in their school uniforms, and along with husband Prince Albert, 65, took them to school — just a few hundred yards away from the palace where the Monaco royal family lives.
Seated in the royal apartments a few hours later, Princess Charlene expressed the mixed emotions felt by many parents fresh from first-day drop-off.
“They were both very excited to see their friends after such a long vacation,” Charlene told Monaco-Matin.
"As with any student on the first day of school, they had a lot of expectations: about new friends, about teachers, about what they were going to wear for this first day," Charlene continued. "They still asked me when the next vacation would be!" The family, she added, enjoyed a three-week long sailing holiday around Corsica in August.
Et voici la Une de Monaco-matin de mardi 12 septembre 2023 ! Bonne lecture ! pic.twitter.com/BOhBO0OACL
— Monaco_Matin (@Monaco_Matin) September 11, 2023
"It’s an island that gives me renewed energy," she told the outlet. "I like landscapes; the greenery, the sea, the people. As a family, we feel very comfortable there. To tell the truth, I don't want to go on vacation anywhere else in the world! The beaches are so beautiful, the mountains welcoming. It's a little paradise. And there is a historic link between Monaco and Corsica, which is important to maintain."
After struggling with health issues that kept her away from her family in 2021 and 2022, the former Olympic swimmer says she is now " happy and serene," and hoping to increase her sports activities soon: "I walk regularly, but I would like to get back into swimming training, to regain a little more energy and feel stronger."
Discussing her children, she said Gabriella as the more outgoing and "quite spontaneous," while her brother has a quieter nature. "Jacques is more reserved but very observant," said the royal mom. "I believe it's the prerogative of boys at this age, where girls are, perhaps, more expressive. They are complementary in a sense and gradually tame their environment. They are still young and developing day by day."
Asked to compare the children's athleticism to her own at a similar age, she replied, "The first thing that seemed essential to me and my husband was to teach them to swim. That they not have any fear of water. Today they are very comfortable and the Prince often goes with them in the water for aquatic activities, like we did this summer.
"More generally, Gabriella has a passion for hip-hop dance. Jacques practices taekwondo. The importance is to give them a good education, self-confidence and a happy childhood. I don't necessarily want to push them into intensive practice of a sport. The Prince and I were Olympic athletes. It is a choice which is very demanding, which requires constant training which, I speak with knowledge of the facts, can take precedence over your childhood."
When she was her children's age, she feels she already had "this ambition within me to be the best swimmer in the world. I have always loved swimming, since my childhood in Zimbabwe where I would jump in the pool with my dog and while listening to the advice of my mother who taught me to swim. When I was very young, I always heard my mother tell me how much she would have liked to participate in the Olympic Games. She practiced diving. But political circumstances at the time in [what was then called] Rhodesia did not allow national athletes to participate in the Olympics. She couldn't make her dream come true, even though she trained so hard.
"This dream became mine during my childhood: that of participating in the Olympic Games, of winning a medal. And my parents supported me in this project, which involved great sacrifices for me and for my family."
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Charlene's renewing health has allowed her much more active public schedule, she admits.
This past week alone has seen her out at a charity event for her foundation, attending the traditional "U Cavagnetu" picnic and stepping over to Marseilles, France, where she and Prince Albert cheered on South Africa's rugby win ("a wonderful moment"). On Friday, she and Albert will leave for a brief voyage to South Africa to support her charity foundation there. Her crowded schedule also included her presence alongside Albert's sisters Princesses Caroline and Stephanie at a dedication ceremony honoring their father Prince Rainier III's centennial.
"He was a great man," the Princess says of her husband's father, who was married to Oscar winner Grace Kelly. "I see that he was a great leader who did so much for his country. And I'm proud my children are learning about their grandfather through the historical stories we're telling this year. This allows them to understand the history of their country and their family. Besides, as soon as we pass somewhere that we see a photo or an image of Prince Rainier, both exclaim, 'Oh look, it’s grandfather.' It's very touching."
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