Inside Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s royal romance

They've been together for almost 20 years.
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For many, the thought of marrying into royalty would be a dream come true. But for South African-born Charlene Wittstock, her relationship with Prince Albert II of Monaco wasn’t exactly a fairytale. 

From rumours of secret children, and hearsay that the wedding was almost called off, this royal relationship has had plenty of ups and downs over the years.

WATCH NOW: Princess Charlene opens up about marrying into royalty. Article continues after video. 

How did Prince Albert and Princess Charlene meet? 

In 2000, a then 22-year-old Charlene met a then 42-year-old Prince Albert at the Mare Nostrum International Swimming Meet in Monaco. 

In the late 90s and early 2000s the blonde beauty was a professional swimmer, representing her country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2002 Short Course Championships, and both the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games. 

She ultimately retired from the sport in 2008 due to a shoulder injury. 

Despite meeting in 2000, it wasn’t until 2006 at the Winter Olympics Games in Turin, Italy (a year after Prince Albert ascended to the throne following the death of his father Rainier III, Prince of Monaco) that they went public with their relationship. 

Princess Charlene rarely wears her engagement ring. (Credit: Getty)

When did Prince Albert and Princess Charlene become engaged? 

In June 2010, the couple became engaged, partaking in a romantic engagement photo shoot in the courtyard of their palace, Palais Princier de Monaco. 

The stunning ring that Prince Albert proposed with is rumoured to have been created by Parisian jeweler Repossi and features a dazzling three-carat, pear-cut diamond flanked by smaller diamonds in triangle arrangements. 

It is estimated to be worth approximately $90,000 Australian dollars. Given this, it is unsurprising that Charlene rarely wears this impressive jewel on her ring finger, often opting to wear gloves instead.  

Rumours have long swirled about the wedding day of Princess Charlene and Prince Albert. (Credit: Getty)

When did Prince Albert and Princess Charlene marry? 

Between July 1 and July 2, 2011, Albert and Charlene were married in Monaco in both a civil and religious ceremony. 

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing to their big day, with reports of trouble brewing the scenes and claims by French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche that Charlene had attempted to “slip away.” 

These reports were later categorically denied by Charlene. 

At the wedding itself, guests and members of the press were quick to note that the bride wasn’t a picture of happiness. The Associated Press wrote that “tears flowed freely” down Charlene’s face. 

Following the event, Princess Charlene said reports of her “attempted escapes” were untrue and there was absolutely no validity to rumours she was a “runaway bride”.

“Everything was just so overwhelming and there were all the mixed emotions because of the rumours, and obviously the tension built up and I burst into tears [immediately after the ceremony,” Charlene said to the UK’s Times Weekend magazine. 

“And then I burst into tears some more because I was thinking ‘Oh no, now the whole world has seen me cry’.”

What is Princess Charlene’s official royal title?

From the moment of her marriage, Charlene Wittstock was appointed as Her Serene Highness, The Princess of Monaco.

The royal wedding was a $70 million, four day event. (Credit: Getty)

Do Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have any children together?

On the 10th of December 2014, the royals welcomed twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques into the world at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre in Monaco. 

Despite being born two minutes ahead of her brother, Prince Jacques is the heir apparent to the Monegasque throne as the Monaco constitution dictates that the crown passes to the oldest male heir. 

In a rare interview with French magazine Point de Vue, the mother of two shared some all too relatable insights into her home life with her fast-growing children. 

“When I’m alone with them, the kids fight over who will sleep with Mum. They love to climb into our bed, [and] suddenly we find ourselves a little cramped,” she said in 2019. 

The twins were welcomed into the world in 2014. (Credit: Getty)

Does Prince Albert have any other children? 

Yes. By the time Albert and Charlene were wed in 2011, it was already publicly confirmed that the European royal had fathered a daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi (born in 1992), and a son Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste (born in 2003). 

Days prior to his enthronement, Prince Albert confirmed via his lawyer that Alexandre was biologically his, two years on from his birth. 

Then in May 2006, a DNA test confirmed that Jazmin was biologically his daughter. The father-daughter duo enjoyed a private relationship for three years until the press discovered her existence, at which point her father chose to formally acknowledge her via his lawyer in the French publication Le Figaro. 

Jazmin and Alexandre share a close bond. (Credit: Instagram)

In 2015, Jazmin reflected upon the first time she met her father: “I wanted that moment to connect with my father, to get to know him, and to have him get to know me,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. 

“Not having had that figure around, I missed that. It’s wonderful that it happened when it did, and we’ve been enjoying a great relationship ever since.”

One happy family. (Credit: Palais Princier De Monaco)

In October 2023, Alexandre made rare comments about his relationship with his father Albert, in a solo interview with Tatler, sharing his dreams of representing Monaco and going into business with his dad. 

“[I aspire to] work in a relationship with my dad and become this – let’s say – global ambassador for Monaco, and to bring business opportunities back to Monaco, which is what I’ve talked about with him,” he shared. 

The now 20-year-old added that the father-son duo had a positive relationship. 

“With my dad it’s good, we’re starting to see each other a lot more. During the holiday season, we are spending a lot of time together. It’s a very good relationship.”

The royals posed for a family photo to celebrate Christmas in 2023. (Credit: Palais Princier De Monaco)

To celebrate the twins’ ninth birthday in 2023, doting older sister Jazmin shared a sweet tribute to her Instagram, sharing several never-before-seen images of her siblings. 

“Happy 9th birthday to my Brother Jacques and my Sister Gabriella! 🥳” she penned. 

In the official portrait of the younger royals that Jazmin reshared from the official royal family social media accounts, Jacques is wearing military attire whilst sister Gabriella dons a bespoke double-breasted navy coat by Parisian fashion house Didierangelo.

The family of four stepped out for the 46th Monte-Carlo International Cirus Festival in January 2024. (Credit: Getty)

Have Prince Albert and Princess Charlene separated?

In 2023, the rumour mill began swirling that things were not well between the royal couple

The royal family were quick to respond, however, claiming the rumours were “malicious.”

“I would like to formally deny the malicious rumours peddled by the French magazine Royauté. Please disregard this article which is totally unfounded,” an official spokesperson for the couple said.

The relationship was put under a microscope again in August when it was also reported that the husband and wife were living in separate countries – Albert remaining in Monaco with the twins and Charlene in Switzerland. 

As of September 2023, the palace has not yet commented on these reports. 

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