Meet Prince Albert And Princess Charlene's Children

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco may be royalty, but they aren't exactly your typical prince and princess. The pair first met at a 2000 swimming competition in Monte Carlo. At the time, Princess Charlene — then known as Charlene Wittstock — wasn't famous for her royal connections but rather for representing South Africa as a swimmer in the Olympics that year. At the very least, Charlene's athletic past would have given her and Prince Albert something to talk about, as the prince represented Monaco on the bobsled for every Winter Olympics between 1988 and 2002. In July 2011, the pair wed.

Just three years after they tied the knot, a new princess and prince joined Monaco's royal family. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's children, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, were born on December 10, 2014. 

Shortly after the twins' birth, Princess Charlene told the French outlet Paris Match, "They are magnificent, adorable. I am madly in love with them." Even in the twins' early days, the princess was amazed at their evolution: "Watching them grow is marvelous." Since that interview, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques have continued to grow — and impress. 

Gabriella and Jacques were born prematurely

These days, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques are two thriving young royals who can be spotted frolicking at the beach or even attending a circus. However, that wasn't always the case. The sister and brother were born 15 days before term and were, consequently, much smaller than average.

In a conversation with Paris Match, Princess Charlene offered some insight into how the royal children held up following their birth: "They are growing every day, gaining weight." Even so, the princess conceded that they would have to wait and see how the children would progress. "Everything now depends on their progress, and the opinion of doctors. ... You see, they are the 'bosses' now," she said.

Despite the twins' small size, their parents tried to resist fretting about their ability to grow. Speaking to Point de Vue, Prince Albert said, "We followed the evolution of the babies in their mother's womb, and everything was fine. Despite being premature, there were no big risks" (via Purepeople). That being said, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene went out of their way to keep the twins comfortable.

Both twins seemed born to be royalty

If some people were born for the spotlight, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques were born for the crown. According to their mother, Princess Charlene, the royal twins of Monaco had the right disposition for their respective roles from the very beginning. Just seven months following the twins' birth, Princess Charlene told Paris Match that Prince Jacques already had the personality of an heir who watched everything around him. "Jacques is a real 'boss,'" the princess said.

Meanwhile, Princess Gabriella seemed to embrace her title at an early age. Princess Charlene said, "As for our daughter, we note with a certain amusement that she is already developing the attitude of a true little princess." In Princess Gabriella's case, this attitude apparently manifested itself in her likes — and dislikes. "I can tell you that pink is her favorite color and 'no' is an answer she doesn't like."

Interestingly, these characteristics have appeared to remain constant over the years. In a 2021 conversation with People, Prince Albert echoed his wife's earlier description of Jacques. "He's a great observer and loves to size up the situation," Prince Albert said. Likewise, he hinted that Gabriella, in true princess fashion, will shine at public engagements: "She has no qualms about being in front of people."

Gabriella and Jacques share their mom's passion for swimming

Thanks to Princess Charlene's Olympic past, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella were able to experience swimming from a young age. When the twins were about 7 months old, Princess Charlene even joked to Paris Match, "I'm sure they'll be swimming before they even start walking." Although this statement seems to be an exaggeration, the royal twins were indeed allowed to get their feet wet early on. Prince Albert told People that by the time the twins were 19 months old, they were getting in the pool twice per day. In the proud father's opinion, however, Princess Gabriella was the more confident swimmer at the beginning. "She likes putting her head underwater more than Jacques does," Prince Albert said.

Luckily, Prince Jacques' initial hesitation toward the water doesn't seem to have lasted too long. After the twins turned 4 years old, their mother told Point de Vue that they were both "good little swimmers" (via Gala).

Since then, the royal twins have been able to put their swimming skills to good use. On a 2019 trip to Dubai, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella were photographed enjoying their time in the water at Atlantis, The Palm, a five-star resort located on the artificial island of Palmeira Jumeirah (via Elle). During their trip, the twins swam with dolphins. 

They aren't expected to swim competitively

Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella may have been born to a pair of Olympians, but that doesn't mean that they will receive pressure to follow in their parents' footsteps. Princess Charlene said in an interview with Point de Vue that she doesn't expect her children to be professional athletes (via Gala).

Because of this, the princess didn't teach her children how to swim with the intention of shaping them into competitive swimmers. On the contrary, her main goal was apparently to teach her children about water safety. As the princess wrote in an opinion piece for her foundation, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, "Now I have my own children, one of my top priorities has been to teach them to swim. It is an essential life skill, like learning to safely cross a road. Far too many people, often children, drown because they can't swim."

Perhaps because of these safety concerns, Princess Charlene has been sure to expose her children to relevant information about water. During the summer of 2022, the young royals enrolled in a weeklong "Seadventures Summer Camp" at the Yacht Club of Monaco, according to Monaco Tribune. The camp included sailing lessons as well as classes about the undersea world. These lessons came just after the twins finished a basic course on diving and water rescue at the Monégasque Academy of the Sea.

The twins are bilingual

Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques may be part of Monaco's royal family, but that doesn't mean that they exclusively identify as Monégasque. Thanks to their mother's South African background, the young royals are encouraged to explore this side of their identity — and even wave around a South African flag or two. One of the biggest ways that the twins connect with their roots is by speaking English in addition to French, the official language of Monaco. As Princess Charlene revealed in an interview with Point de Vue, "We speak in English when the three of us are together, but at school, Jacques and Gabriella are of course educated in French" (via Purepeople).

Of course, raising bilingual children is not without its challenges. In the same interview, Princess Charlene divulged that her secret to multilingual parenting is flexibility. She said, "Me, as a mother, I discover, I learn. I find it wonderful to follow their evolution, to accompany them on this path." Luckily, the princess' child-rearing strategy seems to be working beautifully — especially as far as foreign languages are concerned. As the proud mother told Point de Vue, "I am amazed at how quickly they are learning. They are already both fluent in French and English" (via Gala).

Gabriella is more talkative than Jacques

It's normal for siblings to have very different personalities, and the royal twins of Monaco are no exception. As their father, Prince Albert, divulged in an interview with People, one of the most prominent differences between the twins is that Princess Gabriella is the more talkative one of the pair. In the words of her proud papa, Gabriella is "a little more outgoing, and she definitely has the gift of gab. She's just a character who loves to dance and to sing." Meanwhile, her younger twin, Prince Jacques, is apparently the reserved one of the pair. Prince Albert said, "In very broad terms, Jacques is a little more shy and a little quieter, but he can also come up with some very funny things."

Interestingly, Prince Jacques' more tranquil nature has not prevented him from performing his royal duties alongside his sister. In 2022, the duo celebrated their Irish heritage by way of their late grandmother, Grace Kelly, at a St. Patrick's Day celebration held at a library named for the great actor herself.

Dressed in festive green, the children sat in the Princess Grace Irish Library and watched local music students perform. Instagram reveals that, despite their unique dispositions, neither Gabriella nor Jacques was too shy to clap along with the beat and pose for some pictures afterward. 

They faced schooling challenges during the pandemic.

Like many children across the world, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques faced the challenge of studying during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, both students had to pause their in-person schooling as a part of measures preventing the spread of the illness. Rather than going to school as usual, the twins attended a sort of "royal home school" in the Great Hall at Grimaldi Palace, according to Vanity Fair.

While this setup was certainly a change for the twins, they were able to maintain a sense of normalcy. For one thing, several teachers came to the palace to give in-person lessons, which supplemented their online activities. In addition, four of Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella's classmates were able to join them for their home-schooling journey, ensuring that the twins had adequate social interaction. 

Holding home school inside palace walls may seem rather intense, but that doesn't mean that the twins don't have plenty of support. In an interview with People, their father, Prince Albert, opened up about the ways that he helped Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella with their at-home learning. He revealed that he gave the kids plenty of homework help, even joking that the material wasn't too hard for him — yet. "They're not doing calculus or anything like that yet, which is what I'll have a little problem with," Prince Albert said. He even divulged the twins' favorite subjects — geography and science!

Gabriella and Jacques receive presents from Santa Claus

For Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, the month of December is full of festivities. Not only do the twins celebrate their birthday on December 10, but they also have been known to enjoy Christmas-related festivities, especially those related to gift-giving and Santa Claus. As their mother, Princess Charlene, told Point de Vue, the young royals enjoy the ritual of leaving out some treats for St. Nick and his helpers. The princess revealed that her children leave "a glass of milk and cookies for Santa Claus, water and grass for his reindeer" (via Gala).

While Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques have certainly enjoyed plenty of private Christmases at the palace, they haven't kept their seasonal celebrations to themselves. Au contraire in recent years, the royal twins have made a point of spreading goodwill during the holiday.

One tradition is Monaco's official gift-giving event, which takes place at the Court of Honor. At this event, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella step into a Santa-like role and hand out Christmas presents to the children of Rocher. Through the program, any child who lives in Rocher can sign up to receive a gift, then collect it at the event. Some of the presents that the young royals distributed included dolls, backpacks, and construction games (per Histoires Royales).

They have grown up with a lot of media attention

In many ways, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques are typical children. However, when it comes to receiving media attention, the two are already essentially living under a microscope. In 2021, the duo enjoyed the wilderness with their cousins in South Africa and made headlines. Similarly, a 2023 trip to the circus was covered by tabloids like Paris Match

Because of this, experts say that Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have faced parenting challenges. As consultant Jo Austin told Express, "Raising children can be difficult at the best of times, but in our experience, those in the public eye are subject to an extremely high level of scrutiny, especially for those in the royal family." According to Austin, the media attention surrounding the twins means that their royal parents have to be especially protective of their privacy. "Charlene is bringing her children up very much in the public eye. Therefore disciplining her children must be discreet," she said.

Interestingly, it seems that Princess Charlene and Prince Albert are determined to give their kids as much of a normal upbringing as possible. In an interview with People, Prince Albert said, "We don't want to put them into the spotlight too much."

The twins have spent a lot of time away from Princess Charlene

In European royal households, it's typical for children to spend a lot of time away from their parents. In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II famously departed on a 58-day tour of Australia, leaving her two toddlers at home in England. In 1988, Sarah Ferguson traveled Down Under without her 6-week-old daughter, Princess Beatrice.

Interestingly, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella seem to be no exception. In 2020, the twins' mother, Princess Charlene, was visiting South Africa when she was struck with a severe ear, nose, and throat infection (per Hello). Her condition was so dire that she had to stay in the country for several months, undergoing various surgeries. Her children, meanwhile, remained in Monaco, where they celebrated their birthday in her absence.

As could be expected, this separation was extremely difficult for Jacques and Gabriella. In an interview with Monaco Matin, Prince Albert admitted that his children have struggled at times. "Of course they suffered from the absence of their mother. But they had enough distractions and a family circle that made sure they didn't lack affection," he said (via Purepeople). Even Prince Albert himself was committed to giving the twins extra attention during Princess Charlene's absence. "For me, it's quite simple. My priority is my family."

Jacques and Gabriella are learning about their royal duties

Although Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella have suffered due to their mother's absence, they have not skipped their royal training. Prince Albert told People that he doesn't want to pressure the twins into facing a whole load of royal responsibilities all at once. Instead, the proud papa said he wants to ease the children into performing their duties.

At this point, this means a lot of casual conversations about the topic. "It's basically just explaining to them in the simplest terms what [royal duty] is all about," Prince Albert shared. "We're not going to do a whole drilling process of explaining to them step-by-step what's expected from them."

So far, it seems that Jacques and Gabriella have enjoyed performing their royal duties, according to their mother. "With my husband, when we have to go to an event, we explain to them what the nature of this event, this ceremony is," Princess Charlene said (via People). "They like accompanying us, and with the prince, the four of us enjoy doing these together. But as I said, they are still young. They continue to observe, to learn, before it will become natural for them."