Signs Prince Albert And Princess Charlene's Marriage Is On The Rocks

Marriage isn't easy regardless of who you are, and European royals seem to know it. Over the years, countless princes and princesses have struggled to keep their romantic lives on track, no thanks to all of the pressure of being in the spotlight. Chief among these dissatisfied royals was perhaps Princess Diana, who famously criticized the press for intervening in her marriage. As she declared in a bombshell 1995 interview with the BBC: "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, and the pressure of the media was another factor, so the two together were very difficult" (via PBS). Her son, Prince Harry, has not seemed to do much better, as his marriage with Meghan Markle is said to be on the rocks no thanks to the press' obsession with the couple's every move.

Unfortunately, love has not been any easier for Monaco's Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, who are said to be one of the most mismatched royal couples out there. Ever since their 2011 wedding (after which Charlene burst into tears seemingly due to misery), rumors have abounded about the couple's unusual relationship. Some royal experts have even posited that Albert and Charlene are in an arranged marriage — a theory exacerbated by reports that Charlene tried to flee Monaco three times prior to the wedding. These days, things between the pair seem as tense as ever. Thanks to the prince's enduring playboy reputation and the princess' absences from Monaco, Albert and Charlene's marriage seems shaky at best.

Prince Albert was never the marrying type

Long before Prince Albert and Princess Charlene walked down the aisle, the prince had something of a reputation for getting around. Over the years, Albert went out with plenty of gorgeous women — Brooke Shields and Claudia Schiffer among them — but showed no signs of settling down. The former Olympian's blasé attitude toward dating did not go unnoticed by the press, who were quick to dub him the "playboy prince." And, according to royal historian, Robert Lacy, royal fans were not impressed. Speaking on "Good Morning America" in 2005, the royal expert opined: "He's got too many girlfriends, pretty blondes. And I think the people feel the sooner he settles on one of them, the better that will be" (via ABC News).

Albert's womanizing ways ultimately captured the attention of his father, Prince Rainier, who worried that the prince would never produce a legitimate heir. In 2002, the concerned father helped change Monaco's constitution, dictating that, if a reigning prince had no legitimate children, the line of succession would then include the prince's siblings and their respective offspring. At the time, it was widely understood that this amendment was a direct result of Albert's ever-changing love life. 

Despite these precautions, though, the prince did eventually make it down the aisle — albeit at the ripe old age of 53. That being said, the ghosts of his playboy past continue to haunt him, at times adding pressure to his marriage to Princess Charlene.

Rumors of infidelity rocked the early days of Albert and Charlene's marriage

Over the years, Prince Albert fathered at least two royal love children. In 1992 an American realtor, Tamara Rotolo, filed a suit claiming that she and the prince had conceived a daughter, Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, during a brief summer romance. Although Rotolo's suit was originally dismissed, a later DNA test found that Jazmin was, indeed, Albert's child. In 2003, the prince faced a similar situation when a second DNA test revealed that he also had a son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste. The boy was the product of a years-long fling between Albert and an Air France flight attendant named Nicole Coste. 

Perhaps because of Albert's unusual history of paternity filings, the chatter of a third potential baby began to circulate through Monaco in 2011. Just days before Albert and Princess Charlene walked down the aisle, reports of a secret love child rocked Le Rocher. One Monegasque parliamentary aide told the French outlet, Le Journal du Dimanche: "Rumors have been swirling for three weeks. We're talking about a hidden child, but the whole issue would be whether he's over five, because Charlene and Albert have officially been together for five years." 

In the end, not much came of these reports, unless you count adding stress to Albert and Charlene's marriage. The princess later told The Times (via Hello!): "Everything was just so overwhelming and there were all the mixed emotions because of the rumors." 

Albert and Charlene spent their honeymoon apart

In spite of all the strangeness surrounding Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's wedding, the pair officially tied the knot on July 1, 2011. Following their nuptials, the duo jetted off to South Africa, where they were expected to spend their honeymoon in newly-wedded bliss. However, that is not exactly what happened. 

Upon arriving in South Africa, Albert and Charlene went their separate ways. On one hand, the prince checked into the Hilton Hotel in Durban. Charlene, meanwhile, opted for a suite at an undisclosed hotel in Umhlanga Rocks — miles away from her new husband. While this arrangement might seem odd, Monegasque palace officials tried to justify it to the press, explaining that Albert had to perform some royal duties during the trip. Speaking to ABC News, Peter Allen of the Daily Mail quoted a senior courtier, who had told him: "The prince was in a meeting at the Hilton with members of the International Olympic Committee from July 5 to 9. For practical reasons, it was better to sleep [at the Hilton]."

Naturally, however, Allen questioned what this unusual choice said about Albert and Charlene's marriage. He told ABC: "The explanation is that he wanted to avoid the traffic in the morning to get to early meetings. So he stayed there, leaving poor old Charlene 10 miles up the coast at a seaside hotel ... You have to ask, why couldn't Charlene have stayed in Durban? It's a mystery."

Charlene was asked to change her body shape for Albert

The early days of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's marriage were full of adjustments for Charlene. Unlike her husband, the princess did not have a royal upbringing. As a result, she came into the relationship without a lot of expectations for how her life would change behind palace walls. Unfortunately, one of the things that Charlene likely did not imagine was that she would be asked to change her body shape in order to fit royal standards.

As the princess revealed in an interview with Vogue UK, she actually had to alter her workout routine to get the results that she needed to fit in. The reason for this shift likely had to do with Charlene's former position as an Olympic swimmer. Dissimilar to the likes of Princess Diana or Princess Catherine, Charlene boasted powerful arms, a muscular back, and a strong neck. Thus, the outlet reported: "In preparation for the perpetual camera-readiness expected of her as first lady of Monaco, she has cut out weight training and increased her stretching time to give her body a leaner line."

During the same interview, Albert told Vogue UK that he loved his wife just the way she was. "To me, Charlene never looks more beautiful than when she is natural—without makeup and her hair pulled back," the prince claimed. However, the princess' physical transformation from an Olympic powerhouse to a "leaner" lady does make one wonder whether that is true. 

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene live separately

One of the biggest signs of trouble for Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's marriage is that the pair has chosen to live separately. While Albert resides in the stunning Prince's Palace of Monaco, his wife has opted for a much simpler set-up. Indeed, Charlene has traded a life of luxury for a casual two-bedroom apartment that's nestled above an old-fashioned chocolate factory. A far cry from Albert's 12-century seaside castle, the princess' home lacks the Mediterranean views and private chefs of her husband's abode. Nonetheless, Charlene has chosen to hole up in her more humble quarters, perhaps as an escape from the pressures of royal life. And, of course, her apartment is located about 300 yards away from the palace, meaning she is never too far away from Albert.

Interestingly, it is understood that Charlene uses her apartment to enjoy some alone time. As one resident of Le Rocher told the Daily Mail: "'We often saw [Charlene] outside the Palace and she would usually be alone or with a bodyguard ... but she was never with Albert — it was obvious she chose to spend most of her time in the apartment rather than the palace." Another local told the outlet: "There was a while when there was a sense that she was a reluctant princess, but this is different — there's obviously something not quite right either with her or the marriage and for whatever reason we're not being told what."

Albert was accused of fathering another royal love child

As if things were not tense enough between Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, new rumors of a third love child emerged in 2021. This time, though, there was a lawsuit to go along with the chatter. Indeed, a Brazilian woman simply known as "Mariza" filed a paternity claim against Albert in Italy, her new country of residence. Per the court filings, Mariza met Albert in a Rio de Janeiro nightclub in 2004. The prince, however, was said to lie about his identity, telling Mariza that he was a Canadian diplomat. The pair allegedly embarked on a wild fling that involved jet-setting to places like Lisbon and Milan. However, once Mariza got pregnant with her daughter, the woman said that Albert stopped responding to her text messages. The little girl was subsequently raised without a father.

According to Mariza's lawyer, Erich Grimaldi, all she and her daughter want is for Albert to take a DNA test (via Town & Country). However, the prince is fighting the case tooth and nail. In 2021, Albert filed for sovereign immunity so that he would not have to answer Mariza's claims in court.

Despite Albert's efforts to dodge these claims publicly, they continued to impact him privately. It is believed that Mariza's allegations have put significant pressure on Albert and Charlene's marriage. Shortly after the rumors emerged, the princess began spending long periods of time away from Monaco, leaving her playboy husband behind.

Charlene is said to dislike Albert's illegitimate children

Nothing adds tension to a relationship like a step-parent's failure to accept their partner's children, and this seems to be the case for Princess Charlene and Prince Albert. According to reports, the princess has not had an easy time accepting her husband's illegitimate children, even as they have slowly become more integrated into royal life. 

This is especially believed to be true after Albert's former girlfriend, Nicole Coste, told the press that Charlene was unnecessarily cruel toward her son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste. The boy, who has been excluded from the line of succession, apparently went to stay at the Prince's Palace of Monaco for a time to get to know his father and half-siblings. However, as his mother told the French outlet, Paris Match, Charlene "changed my son's room, taking advantage of his father's absence to install him in the employee wing." This interaction was quite upsetting for the protective mother, who expressed a desire to develop a more civil relationship with Charlene. "Given our respective ties to the prince, we should have made sure to support each other cordially. In our situation, diplomacy had to prevail," she told the outlet.

Unfortunately, though, Coste's conversation with Paris Match did little to smooth tensions with Charlene. Although the palace did not deny the princess' behavior toward the boy, Albert did come out and condemn Coste's public statement. Speaking to Point de Vue, Albert revealed that he was "furious" about his ex-girlfriend's "inappropriate" comments.

She spent months away from the royal family in Switzerland

Oftentimes, romantic partners enjoy relying on each other in times of need. But, in Princess Charlene and Prince Albert's marriage, things are a bit more complicated than that. In 2021, the princess experienced several health issues, including what seemed to be a struggle with her mental health. Speaking to People, Albert explained: "She was clearly exhausted, physically and emotionally. She was overwhelmed and couldn't face official duties, life in general or even family life." He added: "I can say she was suffering incredible fatigue ... She has lost a lot of weight."

According to the prince, Charlene's personal battles had nothing to do with the couple's marriage. "I'm probably going to say this several times, but this has nothing to do with our relationship," Albert told the outlet. "I want to make that very clear. These are not problems within our relationship; not with the relationship between a husband and wife. It's of a different nature." 

Albert's insistence aside, however, the fact remains that Charlene decided to seek treatment for her issues abroad — and not with his support in Monaco. Indeed, the princess spent four months healing at the luxurious health facility, Clinic les Alpes, in Switzerland. During this time, Charlene remained isolated from her family, even missing her twins' December 2021 birthday celebration. As for her royal duties, Charlene took a full hiatus from all things palace-related, choosing to opt out of Monaco's National Day that November. 

Body language experts describe her as forlorn

Of course, it's important to remember that Princess Charlene is not the first royal bride to have a difficult time adjusting to her marriage. Back in the 1980s, Princess Diana also struggled enormously with royal life, especially as her husband, King Charles III, enjoyed an extra-marital affair with his then-mistress, Camilla Parker-Bowles. Compellingly, royal experts have noted several parallels between Charlene and Diana, particularly when it comes to their body language. Apparently, both women had a history of appearing forlorn at official events. 

"A problem with Charlene's body language though, and it is a trait that she shares in some way with Princess Diana, is an ability to use fluctuating facial expressions," nonverbal communication expert, Judi James, told Express. "Diana generally looked happy, but she could suddenly fall into a facial expression that was incredibly sad and reflective, even during her engagement interview. Charlene has shown a similar trait since her wedding, when her smiles of joy would slip into something much sadder-looking."

Overall, these forlorn facial expressions hint that Princess Charlene is not enjoying royal life nearly as much as she had hoped. The sadness in her eyes can also lead us to believe that all is not well in Prince Albert and Charlene's marriage — especially since the couple can seem mismatched in public. As James noted in her interview with the Express, there is often "little tactile behavior between [Charlene] and her husband."

The princess got a rebellious haircut

In the past, Princess Charlene was known to tailor her personal style to her royal role. As she admitted in an interview for Vogue UK, she did not just change her body shape to please Prince Albert — she changed her clothing choices, as well. Before meeting the prince, the princess confessed that did not worry too much about things like fashion. At her first official outing, she explained: "I thought it was all fun, fun, fun, and didn't give my outfit any thought." Soon after, though, Charlene began to take the endeavor of dressing like a royal a little bit more seriously.

Over time, though, this sense of dedication has wavered, prompting the public to question the state of Albert and Charlene's marriage. This was especially true in 2021 when the princess shocked the world by shaving half of her head. Indeed, Charlene's half-hawk cut departed from the fairy tale princess image that most royal women are expected to maintain. Naturally, this drastic change in style left many of Charlene's fans to wonder if she was finally feeling fed up with her royal role.  

Even more notably, though, it seemed that Charlene initially adopted this rebellious hairstyle without her husband's approval. And, apparently, it took some time for him to get used to it. As Charlene herself said: "After the initial surprise wore off, the prince understood [the haircut] and likes it now too" (via People).

Albert and Charlene look tense together

Ever since their 2011 wedding, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert have found themselves defending their partnership to the public. In 2022, Charlene confronted the press head-on, telling the local outlet, Monaco Matin: "You want to talk about rumors of divorce or my new home in Switzerland ... I still find it regrettable that certain media peddle such rumors about my life, my relationship." The princess went on to applaud her husband for speaking out against divorce rumors, stating: "Albert supported me enormously, we discussed these malicious articles together and he did everything to protect me and our children."

While Charlene and Albert have long insisted that all is well in their relationship, their body language says otherwise. As nonverbal communication expert, Judi James, told the Femail (via the Daily Mail), many of the couple's social media posts make them seem distant from one another. "Charlene's body language ... defines her as a free spirit and she seems to be making no compromises to signal emotional or even empathetic bonds with her husband via her poses," James explained. "There is no physical touch, closeness or even eye contact between them in the photos she has chosen for social media." This sense of separateness speaks volumes, hinting that Albert and Charlene's marriage is not as solid as they insist