How Princess Charlene Has Changed So Far In 2023

Ever since she agreed to marry Prince Albert of Monaco in 2010, Princess Charlene has seemed to have a rough go of it. During her engagement to Albert, the press buzzed about the Zimbabwe-born beauty, alleging that she had tried to flee Monte Carlo three times before the wedding. Of course, Albert and Charlene's nuptials went on without a hitch. But, the princess later told The Times that she cried at the end of the ceremony, thanks to all of the media pressure.

Ten years after her controversial wedding, things for Charlene seemed to go from bad to worse. According to the Prince's Palace of Monaco, the princess developed a severe ENT infection on a trip to South Africa. As a result of this illness, she was unable to come home to Monaco for a whopping six months — and, even after she came home, she was unable to fulfill her royal duties. Soon, the princess' absence from royal life provoked suspicions that there was something wrong with Albert and Charlene's marriage. These rumors only worsened in 2022 when Charlene spent months at a health facility in Switzerland. Some European tabloids speculated that she had ditched the palace for good.

At the end of the day, though, rumors are just rumors. And, with Charlene seemingly on the mend in 2023, the Grimaldis have not hesitated to clap back against the gossip. Indeed, the year has ushered in a version of Charlene that appears stronger than ever.

Reports indicate that Charlene's health has improved substantially

In the months that followed Princess Charlene's ear, nose, and throat infection, the Monegasque royal did not exactly appear to be in peak physical condition. On the contrary, at least one source claimed that the princess' illness was way more serious than some royal fans seemed to think. As someone reportedly close to Charlene told Page Six, "We don't know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa." The anonymous insider elaborated, "She has not been able to eat solid food in over six months because of all the surgeries she has since gone through. She has only been able to take in liquids through a straw, so she lost nearly half her body weight."

Despite having endured what has been described as a traumatic medical experience, Charlene seems to have improved substantially. Indeed, in a 2023 conversation with the local outlet Monaco Matin, the stunning royal described her physical condition in a much more optimistic light. "Today, I feel in great shape, happy and serene," she shared. 

However, just because Charlene used to be an Olympic swimmer does not mean that she could leap back into strenuous physical activities. As Charlene admitted to Monaco Matin, she has kept her exercise on the lighter side of things. That being said, the princess has also been consistent with her training, explaining that she "walk[s] regularly" — a huge improvement from just two years before.

She is already dreaming of getting back in the swimming pool

Perhaps, for a while, the severity of Princess Charlene's illness made her Olympic past seem more distant than ever. However, as she began to grow stronger in 2023, the former athlete told the press that she was already dreaming of getting back into the swimming pool. Chatting with Monaco Matin about her physical health, Charlene opened up about her desire to dive back into her favorite type of workout. The princess shared, "I hope to be able to return to sport soon ... I would like to get back into swimming training, to regain a little more energy and feel stronger."

Interestingly, it is quite possible that Prince Albert shares Charlene's enthusiasm for this goal. In a 2023 interview with the Italian outlet Corriere, the prince hinted at his wife's passion for the water. Presenting his family's private garden to the press, Albert revealed, "Here is the swimming pool today loved by my children and the princess."

She has regained the energy to interact with her children

During the period when Princess Charlene was struggling with her health, she was not able to be a present parent. After all, during the six months that she spent in South Africa, Charlene was only able to see her twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, on one occasion. And, during the Swiss stint that followed, the adoring mother remained geographically distant from two of her favorite people. 

Sadly, though, space was not necessarily the only thing keeping Charlene away from her kids. According to Prince Albert, the princess' energy levels were also making it difficult for her to interact with Jacques and Gabriella. As he told People, "She was clearly exhausted, physically and emotionally. She was overwhelmed and couldn't face official duties, life in general or even family life."

By 2023, however, that dynamic had certainly changed. On the royal twins' first day of school, Charlene could be spotted guiding the two children to the Institution François D'Assise, Nicolas Barré — a Catholic institution in the heart of Le Rocher. In the spirit of simplicity, the princess walked her children from the palace to their respective classrooms. Reflecting on this outing with Monaco Matin, Charlene seemed to be happy to share this moment with her kids. "This is ... the first time that Jacques and Gabriella will not be in the same class. This is a big step for them, and it feels good to me."

Prince Albert says that his wife has become more present

Of course, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques were not the only ones who have spent a great deal of time away from Princess Charlene. Throughout the princess' illness, she was also separated from Prince Albert — even on important dates. As Charlene explained in an official statement, which was later quoted by News 24, "This year will be the first time that I'm not with my husband on our anniversary in July, which is difficult, and it saddens me. However, Albert and I had no choice but to follow the medical team's instructions even though it is extremely difficult." Despite the distance between them, Charlene reaffirmed the strength of the couple's relationship, declaring, "He has been the most incredible support to me."

In 2023, however, the couple says that this dynamic has changed. Apparently, Charlene's improved health has allowed her to spend much more time with Albert. As the prince told Corriere, "Charlene had some difficulties many months ago now, but now thank goodness she is over it, and is always by my side." Naturally, though, the monarch did not mean that in a literal sense. Albert added, "She supports me in leading the principality, and we are not attached to each other 24 hours a day ... We are also a working couple, and work sometimes allows us to see each other only at the end of a long day full of appointments." 

Princess Charlene has taken on more royal duties

Family time is not the only thing that Princess Charlene missed out on during her absence from Monaco. While she was in the midst of her health battle, the former Olympian found herself too ill to perform her royal duties. As Prince Albert told People at the time, Charlene had to take a step back from public life because "she was suffering incredible fatigue. She hadn't slept well in a number of days and she wasn't eating at all well. She has lost a lot of weight." According to the monarch, the cause of these ailments had something to do with the "consequences of her different surgeries and the procedures she underwent in the last few months."

In 2023, however, Charlene has appeared to be much more present at official events. She not only attended the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Monaco, but also the official launch of TVMonaco. And, at the latter event, Albert was quick to remind the press of his wife's quiet presence. Per the Daily Mail, the prince was sure to state, "I'm very proud to be here with Princess Charlene."

Interestingly, when he chatted with Corriere, Albert was similarly emphatic about his wife's return to royal duties. The monarch claimed, "Charlene is always by my side, yesterday we received the new French ambassador to Monaco together at the Palais ... together in the Casino square for the Princess of Monaco Cup charity golf competition." 

The princess accompanied her husband to a special ceremony

It might seem odd for Prince Albert to demonstrate so much enthusiasm for Princess Charlene's participation in day-to-day activities. However, given the extent of Charlene's previous absence from royal life, his excitement could make a lot of sense. After all, during the time that the princess was ill, Albert attended countless official events without her. In fact, he was so often in the position of having to go solo that the prince eventually asked his cousin, Mélanie-Antoinette Costello de Massy, to fill in for Charlene at important gatherings.

However, in 2023, the princess began to reappear more and more by the prince's side. This was especially apparent in light of a series of exhibitions that had been organized to honor Charlene's late father-in-law, Prince Rainier. Indeed, photos published in local outlet Monaco Life showed the princess posing along with the rest of the royal family at one such display. 

Usually quiet, Charlene even went so far as to speak with the press about her impressions of these Rainier-centric events. Chatting with Monaco Matin, the princess said, "I see that he was a great leader who did so much for his country. And I'm proud that my children are learning about their grandfather through the historical stories we have this year." In her view, the exposé was especially important for the royal twins. "This allows them to understand the history of their country and their family," she opined.

She has started traveling again

While Princess Charlene was in ill South Africa, she was not able to travel at all. And, once she finally returned to Europe in November of 2021, the royal headed straight to Switzerland, where she remained in a treatment facility for upwards of four months. During this time, the concept of taking a frivolous vacation across the world might have seemed impossible. After all, as Prince Albert told People, "The most important aspect for [Charlene was] her health."

Luckily for the former Olympian, 2023 saw a major shift in this dynamic. No longer did Charlene have to stay abroad for health purposes. Instead, the princess could finally enjoy some fun in the sun on a family vacation. One of the highlights of her year seems to have been a trip to Corsica, where Charlene was spotted hugging Albert at the beach and paddle boarding with her kids. 

Reflecting on the importance this getaway, Charlene told Monaco Matin (via People), "It's an island that gives me renewed energy. I like landscapes; the greenery, the sea, the people." She also seemed to like the overall culture there. "As a family, we feel very comfortable there." As for the future, the princess hinted that this would not be the last time she would go to the island, sharing, "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."

The princess attended a major charity ball

During the time that Princess Charlene was sick, any kind of formal ball or gala was completely out of the cards for the Zimbabwe-born royal. At the time, Prince Albert told People that his wife really needed to step outside of the spotlight, sharing, "She needs privacy; as a family we need privacy. She needs time to rest in the best environment possible." He went on to clarify that Charlene's royal duties did not mean that she owed any kind of public role to anyone. The prince added, "Even if we as a family are public figures. When public figures have health issues, they deserve privacy just like any one else. I hope everybody will understand that."

In 2023, however, we have seen Charlene step into the limelight once more. This was particularly evident at the 74th Monaco Red Cross Gala, where the princess sparkled — literally — in a beaded white gown. Albert matched her ensemble with a white tux, which he adorned with an adorable red bow tie and a similarly vermilion handkerchief — which was hopefully not needed, now that his princess is on the mend.

She seems to have forgiven Prince Albert's ex

Interestingly, the Red Cross Ball could have signified much more than a return to public life for Princess Charlene. It also might have stood as an indication that the princess was ready to leave some past beef ... well, in the past. Indeed, Charlene has long been rumored to have a feud with Prince Albert's ex-girlfriend, Nicole Coste. And when the princess was sick in South Africa, her nemesis made some pretty questionable comments about her illness. In fact, when asked by the Daily Mail how she felt about Charlene's health struggles, Coste responded, "I don't care what's going on with her. Why should I?" She went on to say, "Everything that is happening to her is karma."

Years after her rival made these controversial comments, Charlene seems to have decided that she just wants to move on. What better way to extend an olive branch to Albert's former lover than invite her to the Red Cross Ball? Indeed, in 2023, Nicole was included on the guest list for this exclusive event. And, while there have been some whispers that Charlene was initially opposed to the other woman's attendance, it is generally understood that she signed off on the invite. Some European tabloids have even interpreted it as a palpable sign of the princess' forgiveness. Ultimately, it seems that 2023 might be the year where Charlene and Nicole will put their drama behind them.

Princess Charlene's interviews have become more lighthearted

Prior to 2023, Princess Charlene gave plenty of interviews. However, during the time that she was recovering from her illness, the princess' conversations with the press were very focused on her health. In fact, when she spoke to Monaco Matin in December 2022, Charlene admitted that she still had not fully recovered from her traumatic experience in South Africa, divulging, "The road has been long, difficult and so painful." 

While the princess did touch on lighter topics — like raising her children — even those conversations where tainted by an air of struggle. In the same interview, Charlene revealed, "When I returned to the principality, I focused all my energy on my children, my husband and my health because they are my priority. My state of health is still fragile and I don't want to go too fast."

Almost one year later, however, this dynamic seems to have changed substantially. In a September 2023 conversation with Monaco Matin, Charlene spoke much more about the happier parts of her family life. The princess spoke extensively about her children, noting, "More generally, Gabriella has a passion for hip-hop dance. Jacques practices taekwondo." She also opened up a bit about her parenting style, telling the outlet, "The importance [of the twins participating in sports] is to give them a good education, self-confidence, and a happy childhood." The princess added that an Olympic-level performance would hardly be expected of the twins.

She is preparing Gabriella and Jacques for the future

In September of 2023, Princess Charlene told Monaco Matin that, these days, you can find her preparing Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella for their respective royal futures — while giving them as normal a childhood as possible. As the protective mother explained, "Above all, my husband and I think it is important that at school and in their daily activities, they live like any other child their age. They are only children, but subject to public scrutiny." 

Of course, giving Gabriella and Jacques a sense of normalcy does not mean that the twins skip out on any royal duties. The pair can often be spotted at major events, like the Grand Prix or the principality's annual Christmas gift drive. Thus, as far as Charlene is concerned, this means that her kids are learning enough about who they are. Speaking to Monaco Matin, the princess opened up about what she does to support them as they discover the implications of being royalty, saying, "They are already aware of their role in Monaco. The main thing is to communicate, answer their questions and help them take their first steps."