Princess Charlene reunites with family after months-long absence

·5-min read

Watch: Princess Charlene returns to Monaco after six-month separation from Prince Albert and their children. 

Princess Charlene of Monaco has been reunited with her family after months living in South Africa without her husband, Prince Albert, and two children. 

The 43-year-old royal was pictured wearing a mask as she cuddled up to her husband and their six-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella after arriving back in Monaco. 

Posting a snap of the reunion on Instagram, the royal wrote: "Happy day today. Thank you all for keeping me strong."

The royal also posed for adorable pictures as she and Prince Albert returned to family life taking their children to school.

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Princess Charlene has been reunited with her family after six months apart. The couple pictured with their twins in June 2020, in Monaco. (Getty Images)
Princess Charlene has been reunited with her family after six months apart. The couple pictured with their twins in June 2020, in Monaco. (Getty Images)

The touching reunion marks the first time the family have been together in Monaco since May, after Princess Charlene's trip to South Africa for her wildlife conservation work was unexpectedly extended by health issues.

The princess reportedly suffered from and ear, nose, and throat infection which prevented her from being able to fly and required her to undergo a series of operations. 

Speaking in a video shared on Twitter by her foundation, Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa before she boarded a plane to return home, the princess said: "It has been, obviously, a very challenging time to be here but at the same time it has been wonderful being back in South Africa.

"I'd like to thank the doctors in South Africa who have done a fantastic job of helping me and I'm so looking forward to getting back to my children.

"Thank you South Africa, and thank you everyone and god bless you."

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The family pictured together on Monaco National Day in 2018. (Getty Images)
The family pictured together on Monaco National Day in 2018. (Getty Images)

The Monaco royal was last pictured with her family in South Africa in August, sharing some family photos on her Instagram account at the time.

But though her husband and children were able to visit Princess Charlene in South Africa briefly over the summer, the royal previously opened up about how difficult she found it being separated long-term from her family. 

"I cannot wait to get home to my children, who I miss terribly," she said in an interview shared to her Instagram in October. "I think if there is any mum out there who has been separated from her children for months, [she] would feel the same way I feel."

Watch: Prince Albert assures fans Princess Charlene is 'ready to come home'

Who is Princess Charlene?

Princess Charlene was born Charlene Wittstock on January 25, 1978, in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe. She was raised by her father, sales manager Michael Wittstock, and her mother Lynette, a former competitive diver and swim coach.

The family, who are of German origin, relocated to South Africa in 1989 when Princess Charlene was 12 years old. 

Her two younger brothers, Gareth and Sean, are businessmen in Monaco and South Africa, respectively.

Princess Charlene was an Olympic swimmer, pictured in September 1999. (Getty Images)
Princess Charlene was an Olympic swimmer, pictured in September 1999. (Getty Images)

A competitive swimmer, Charlene met Prince Albert of Monaco at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo, Monaco, in 2000.

The couple made their official relationship debut at the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Italy, going on to announce their engagement in 2010 and marrying on July 1, 2011, in a four day extravaganza, which marked Monaco's first royal wedding in 55 years.

On December 10, 2014, the royal couple welcomed 6-year-old twins, Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques, who is first in the line of succession to the throne.

Princess Charlene married Prince Albert on July 2, 2011. (Getty Images)
Princess Charlene married Prince Albert on July 2, 2011. (Getty Images)

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The Princess is well known for her humanitarian efforts and in December 2012, Princess Charlene launched the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. One of the main objectives of the foundation is to raise awareness about the dangers of drowning. 

"Its missions are to raise public awareness about the dangers of water, teach children preventive measures, and teach them to swim," according to the foundation's website.

But she is also focussed on various wildlife conservation operations, including Chasing Zero, an initiative which involves "speaking out against the atrocity of wildlife poaching and doing something about it before it's too late."

The Princess is also considered to be a contender for best dressed royal crown, wowing fans with her sartorial choices on my occasions and being described by some as the "Queen of chic".

She's also been known to push a few fashion and beauty boundaries, and recently defended her decision to cut off her hair.

After drawing criticism earlier this year for her bold "half-hawk" haircut, which featured a partial buzz cut, the royal decided to respond to the doubters. 

“This haircut was my decision,” she told Point de Vue, according to People. “It seems that it has provoked all kinds of comments, but it turns out that I wanted it for a long time. The style pleases me. That’s all.”

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