All The Times That Prince Albert And Princess Charlene Defended Their Relationship

If some royals, like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, seem to be on the offense, Monaco's Prince Albert and Princess Charlene appear to be on the defense. As soon as they walked down the aisle in 2011, the Monegasque prince and princess got busy defending their relationship to the public. Thanks to rumors that Charlene had tried to flee the principality before the wedding, several European tabloids insisted that their marriage was all for show. Voici, a French outlet, even reported that the reason that Albert and Charlene stayed together was a top-secret contract — which promised the princess €12 million a year to stay on her husband's arm.

In response to these kinds of reports, the Grimaldis have insisted that they are truly in love. Whether through the palace, interviews, or people close to them, the couple has gone to the media over and over in an attempt to rectify their public image. Unfortunately, though, these efforts have proven challenging, as no amount of denial has seemed to bring the rumors to a halt. Even whispers about the couple's multi-million euro financial agreement reappeared in the news cycle — a full 11 years after the tidbit was first published.

Nevertheless, Albert and Charlene have not stopped trying to prove to the world that they are happy. Perhaps because of the press interest in their relationship — or maybe something deeper — the dynamic duo seems destined to defend their love story until the end.

After Princess Charlene cried at her wedding

Rumors have surrounded Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's marriage from the very beginning. When Charlene started crying in the middle of the couple's blow-out royal wedding, the international press grabbed the story and ran away with it. As South African journalist Arlene Prinsloo wrote in her book, "Charlene: In Search of a Princess," "Inevitably, Charlene's tears during the singing performance of barely four minutes overshadowed the wedding festivities and were headline news around the world." Indeed, in the eyes of many, the princess' sadness seemed to confirm all the gossip about a runaway bride. At the time, the Daily Telegraph's Miranda Devine commented, "You have to feel sorry for Princess Charlene of Monaco, weeping her way through her wedding last weekend for all the world to see."

In spite of all this criticism, however, Charlene defended her new marriage. Some time after the wedding, the princess told The Sunday Times that she cried because of the media attention surrounding the event. "Everything was just so overwhelming and there were all the mixed emotions because of the rumors, and obviously all this tension built up and I burst into tears," Charlene said. She went on to add, "And then I burst into tears some more because I was thinking, 'Oh no, now the whole world has seen me cry.'" As for all the claims that there was trouble in paradise, the princess stated that they were "categorical lies."

During the couple's South African honeymoon

Following their wedding, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene might have hoped for a lull in the gossip mill. However, that is, unfortunately, not how it went. Commenting on this dynamic in her book, "Charlene: In Search of a Princess," author Arlene Prinsloo explained, "Learning how to be a princess or a duchess is a slow and sometimes painful learning curve — as Meghan Markle and even Catherine Middleton found in their early years as royals. The media attention doesn't waver after getting married; instead it intensifies."

Perhaps it was as a result of this heightened scrutiny that the press was able to discover that Charlene and Albert spent their honeymoon miles apart. As reported by ABC News at the time, Charlene cozied up at a hotel in the small oceanside town of Umhlanga Rocks while her husband slept in nearby Durban. The media went wild, questioning whether this arrangement signaled that Albert and Charlene's marriage was already doomed.

Shortly after the story broke, some of Albert and Charlene's closest allies were given the green light to go to the press. The prince's team at the palace confirmed the sleeping arrangement, explaining that it was to support Albert's work. Meanwhile, Charlene's father, Mike Wittstock, told German outlet Burger that the couple was doing just fine. "I am disappointed in the media. South Africans should be supporting Charlene rather than spreading nasty rumors" (via Daily Mail).

Following the birth of Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques

On December 10, 2014, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert welcomed twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques. While the couple seemed happy in the aftermath of the birth, European magazines hinted that there was more to the story. In fact, just three months after the young prince and princess were born, it was reported that Charlene took them over the Monegasque border to a nearby town in the South of France. Although this may not sound controversial, it was said that Albert didn't participate in the outing. Apparently, this was enough to generate rumors of a divorce. 

At the time, Albert seemed absolutely livid about this reporting. In a conversation with People, the monarch exclaimed, "It's ridiculous. It's just impossible to believe that these stories have come up again. It's surreal! It's impossible to believe responsible media would pick up on these totally false stories." In Albert's view, the hardest part of seeing these stories pop up was having to dispel another round of rumors. "It's totally incredible that we have to justify ourselves all the time."

Of course, the prince also took his chat with People as an opportunity to share about his marriage. He pointed to his and Charlene's shared responsibilities as a sign of their everlasting love. At one point, he joked over their attempts to redecorate the palace, "I've let my wife decide things. And she's let me have some input."

After Albert attended his ex's birthday party

Unfortunately for Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, the speculation about their marriage didn't stop there. It's important to note, however, that the gossip was not helped by Albert's decision to make an appearance at his ex-girlfriend's party. Yes, in December 2019, the prince went out to celebrate Nicole Coste's birthday with her in London. As reported by Woman's Day Australia at the time, the monarch was photographed side-hugging his former lover and mother of his oldest son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, at the event. Speaking to the outlet, one insider claimed that this meant trouble for the prince's marriage, stating, "Since marrying Albert, [Charlene's] life has been filled with humiliation. What kind of a husband goes to an ex's birthday celebration and then poses for a cozy photo with her?"

Naturally, this report led to all sorts of speculation about whether or not the princess was really happy with her husband. Some royal fans even wondered whether Charlene was planning to flee the palace. 

However, just days after Albert's controversial outing was leaked to the press, an interview with Charlene was published in Huisgenoot, a South African publication. The princess admitted she was sad; however, she said her sadness was not a result of marital problems. Her malaise was instead caused by the deaths of two friends and her father's illness. "The past year has definitely hit me hard," she explained, later adding, "People are very quick to say, 'Oh, why isn't she smiling in the photos?' Well, sometimes it's hard to smile" (via People).

After Charlene was stranded in South Africa

In 2021, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene faced even more rumors of separation. Apparently, the trouble started when the princess underwent a sinus lift that was supposed to pave the way for a future dental implant surgery. Following the procedure, Charlene flew down to South Africa, where she hoped to do some work related to environmental protection. As Albert himself told People, "It was only supposed to be a weeklong, 10-day maximum stay." However, it didn't even take that long for things to start going badly.

Within what Albert insists were just days, Charlene developed an ear, nose, and throat infection that was severe enough to lead to multiple corrective surgeries. During the six months that followed, it was reported that the princess nearly died. However, as Albert only visited her twice, royal watchers felt conflicted about the situation. Tabloid reports even began to question the circumstances surrounding what many viewed as Charlene's "mystery" illness.

In response to the naysayers, Albert took it upon himself to announce that he and his wife were still together. In the same conversation with People, the prince exclaimed, "She didn't leave Monaco in a huff! She didn't leave because she was mad at me or at anybody else. She was going down to South Africa to reassess her Foundation's work down there and to take a little time off with her brother and some friends." He later added, "She didn't go into exile."

When Charlene missed her 10th wedding anniversary

Naturally, the fact that Princess Charlene needed a full six months to recover from her infection only exasperated gossip about the state of her marriage to Prince Albert. If anything, it fanned the flames of preexisting rumors that claimed the royals were just not meant to be. After all, Charlene skipped her 10th wedding anniversary with Albert — a move that Paris Match commentator Stéphane Bern took as a sign of marital discord. And he wasn't the only one. In reference to the princess' long absence from Monaco, French outlet Madame Figaro released a statement asking, "How long will Albert II of Monaco go on bearing this affront, which is becoming ridiculous?" (via Mirror).

In spite of these pointed observations, however, the Grimaldis were not slow to defend their marriage. Albert told People that Charlene was so "ready to come home" that she "jokingly said that she's ready to stowaway on a ship to come back to Europe."

Meanwhile, the princess tried to let the press know that she wasn't exactly excited to miss her anniversary. As reported by the Daily Mail, Charlene released a public statement in which she reaffirmed her commitment to the prince. "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." She later added, "[Albert] has been the most incredible support to me."

Following Charlene's decision to seek treatment in Switzerland

Even though Princess Charlene did eventually leave South Africa and return to Monaco, the regal princess struggled to transition back into royal life. Speaking to People about this challenging moment in 2021, Prince Albert revealed, "Obviously there were consequences of her different surgeries and the procedures she underwent in the last few months." According to the monarch, the cumulation of all of these surgeries left his wife feeling fragile. "She was clearly exhausted, physically and emotionally. She was overwhelmed and couldn't face official duties, life in general or even family life."

Because Charlene was caught in this terrible state, the royal family decided to send her to a treatment facility where she could recover in a comfortable environment. According to the Daily Mail, the princess sought support at the Clinic les Alpes in Switzerland, which, at the time, charged patients upwards of €43,000 per week.

Perhaps fearing that yet another one of Charlene's absences would exacerbate rumors about their marriage, Albert tried to get ahead of the gossip. As he announced the royal family's decision to People, the prince emphasized, "I'm probably going to say this several times, but this has nothing to do with our relationship. I want to make that very clear. These are not problems within our relationship."

When the princess returned to Monaco

In May 2022, approximately one year after Princess Charlene was grounded in South Africa, she sat down with the local outlet, Monaco Matin. And, to the surprise of some, Charlene did not remain particularly neutral in the interview. Au contraire, the Monegasque royal took the opportunity to clap back at all the tabloid rumors that had targeted her marriage in the previous 12 months. As she told the publication, "You want to talk about divorce rumors or my new home in Switzerland ... I still find it regrettable that certain media are spreading such rumors about my life, my relationship."

She went on to hint at how hurtful these whispers could be, saying, "Like everyone, we are human beings and like every human being we have emotions, fragilities, only our family is exposed in the media and the slightest weakness is relayed."

The princess also was sure to tell the press just how much she appreciated her husband, despite the many months that the two spent apart. She especially highlighted the prince's ability to defend their marriage in public time and time again, stating, "Albert supported me enormously, we discussed these malicious articles together and he did everything to protect me and our children."

After a French outlet reported the Grimaldis were getting divorced

Although Princess Charlene defended her marriage with a certain degree of gusto, some royal fans perhaps felt that she doth protest too much. By March 2023, the royal gossip mill was churning out even more rumors about Charlene's relationship with Prince Albert. Indeed, French outlet Royauté went so far as to claim that the couple were already working out the details of a separation — and the story did not take long to zoom through Europe. 

To make matters worse, Charlene also stepped out in Milan without her wedding ring. The Daily Mail promptly published a piece that dissected whether or not the princess' naked ring finger was trying to tell us something. Of course, it didn't take long for Albert and Charlene to spring into action. Soon after these reports went live, the Prince's Palace of Monaco submitted a statement to the press on behalf of the couple.

Speaking with People, the palace addressed the article in Royauté, specifically: "The article is made up of old stories which weren't true to begin with." Albert's team then proceeded to call the divorce rumors "totally unfounded" and "malicious." This statement came shortly after Albert had separately told People that his "wife and children" were his biggest accomplishment. 

In response to rumors that they only meet by appointment

For one reason or another, the rumors about Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's marriage never seem to stop. Perhaps the couple has just too big a target on their back, or perhaps there really is trouble in paradise. Either way, no amount of public statements seems to quell the whispers about their relationship. This was especially evident in August 2023 when a French tabloid, Voici, reported that Albert and Charlene were only in it for show (via Page Six). Allegedly, a palace insider told the publication that the pair no longer are a couple in the traditional sense of the word. What's more, this source also alleged that the prince and princess only see each other by appointment.

Shortly after this rumor came to light, Albert went running to the media in defense of his relationship. In a chat with the Italian outlet, Corriere, the prince addressed the rumors head-on. "Charlene had some difficulties many months ago now, but now thank goodness she is over it, and is always by my side. She supports me in leading the principality." Of course, he did say that being together does not necessarily constitute always being together. "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," Albert shared.

After it was reported that Charlene quit Monaco for good

Around the same time that Voici made its striking allegations about Princess Charlene and Prince Albert's marriage, another outlet claimed to have equally juicy intel. Bild, a German publication, alleged that Albert and Charlene were no longer living in the same city — or even the same country. According to the tabloid, the princess moved to Switzerland to start a life of her own while her husband remained in his native Monaco. The piece also cited a source who claimed that in light of the couple's so-called "separation," they mostly interact as co-parents, who "take turns taking care of the children" (via Daily Mail).

Charlene, however, says that she despises these rumors. After the chatter gained traction, she sat down with South Africa's News24 the following month to reaffirm — once again — that her marriage is solid. "There's nothing wrong with our marriage and I find the rumors to be draining and exhausting. I simply cannot understand where they come from," she said (via Tatler).  

She then proceeded to question the intentions of certain outlets, confessing, "It feels to me like certain media or people want to see us split." Ultimately, though, the princess recognized that this is just how the European tabloids roll. "At the end of the day these stories seem to be about clickbait and putting bread on someone's table." Charlene did not, however, address the years' worth of hints that her marriage is, at the least, unconventional.