Rare Moments Of PDA We Witnessed Between Prince Albert And Princess Charlene Of Monaco

In the world of royalty, where discretion and formality often prevail, the public display of affection is a rarity. When Prince William and Princess Catherine so much as hold hands it makes headlines, and most of the planet's most famous royals prefer to keep their private lives behind closed doors. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco have been in the press for all the wrong reasons in the last few years, with speculation about the state of their marriage leading many to think they're on the rocks.

In September 2023, Charlene addressed the rumblings regarding potential relationship trouble after making a visit to her home country of South Africa. She told South Africa's News24 (via Daily Mail), "I find the rumours [about my marriage] tiring and exhausting." It was the first time she had returned home since she was forced to stay there for several months due to an illness that kept her from flying. The 2021 stay in South Africa away from her husband and twins Jacques and Gabriella certainly sent the rumor mill into overdrive, leaving Prince Albert to defend his marriage as well. Prince Albert told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera (via Daily Mail), "I don't understand all these rumours, which hurt me, about us...they're lies." 

Despite all the speculation about their marriage, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have certainly engaged in some surprising PDA moments in the earliest days of the courtship as well as in more recent years.

Young and in love just before Prince Albert's second paternity suit

In the year 2000, Charlene Wittstock coincidentally crossed paths with Prince Albert II of Monaco at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo. Later that same year, she again showcased her athletic prowess by representing South Africa in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, achieving a commendable fifth place in the 4x100-meter medley relay. 

Albert and Charlene went public with their relationship at the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony that took place in Italy. The pair were all smiles looking youthful and in the throes of new love as they held hands and chatted. However, there was some major drama going on behind the scenes. As CBS News noted at the time, Prince Albert confirmed his fatherhood of a toddler named Alexandre in July 2005. His mother, Nicole Coste, met Albert while she was working as a flight attendant in 1997, and according to the news outlet, the story was first revealed by French magazine Paris Match. In June 2006, the prince faced another paternity suit, this time from a woman who claimed she was involved with him in 1991 and gave birth to his daughter, who turned 14 in 2006, per Hello! magazine. 

The entire saga, which led to Prince Albert earning the nickname of the "playboy prince," made the couple's PDA at the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony even more surprising. However, they clearly chose to put on a united front and held hands like a pair of blissed-out lovebirds. 

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene show affection during a pre-wedding concert

In 2011, Monaco hosted its first royal wedding in 55 years. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene's big day — which actually lasted four days — was arguably the royal family's most significant event since Prince Rainier exchanged vows with Hollywood icon Grace Kelly in 1956.

Albert and Charlene's extravagant celebration, which, even all these years later, remains the benchmark for contemporary royal festivities. The pair put on one of the biggest shows Monaco had ever seen. For starters, legendary rock band the Eagles helped them celebrate their nuptials. The "Hotel California" musicians played a full-on concert for attendees at a soccer arena. The pair were pictured looking incredibly close and in love, with Charlene beaming as Prince Albert placed an affectionate kiss on her cheek.

This musical highlight was reminisced by Prince Albert's cousin and best man, Chris Lavine. Per People, Lavine recalled, "Some people hire a string quartet — he got The Eagles. It was a huge, huge weekend." These "for-the-public" events added an extra layer of grandeur and meticulous planning to an already immense celebration. Reflecting on the enormity of the affair, Lavine shared, "This was an enormous affair — probably even bigger than I ever thought. It was nice in many ways, we had some great side events leading up to it, like the Eagles concert, a lot of wonderful things." 

That awkward wedding kiss seen round the world

While Prince William and Princess Catherine's wedding will certainly be remembered as the main event in 2011 for years to come, as previously noted, there was another major royal wedding that year. Prince Albert and Princess Charlene married in Monaco's biggest royal wedding ceremony since Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly exchanged vows. In a culmination of events, a sacred ceremony unfolded on July 2, 2011, where Charlene adorned herself in an exquisite off-the-shoulder Armani Prive gown adorned with an astonishing 40,000 Swarovski crystals. This momentous occasion drew the presence of a wide variety of celebrities including fashion designer Giorgio Armani, model Naomi Campbell, and members of the British royal family, including the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. But it was the arguably awkward and stiff kiss shared between the couple on what should have been the most romantic day of their lives that raised eyebrows among viewers everywhere. 

The worldwide circulation of wedding photos sparked discussions about Charlene's apparent emotional state. What's more, the princess supposedly was spotted crying on and off the entire day — and many believed the tears were not the happy kind. On top of all that, there was a rumor that Charlene supposedly tried to leave the country that same week. Per the Daily Mail, a Parisian news outlet claimed the bride had been detained at an airport in Nice where she was holding a one-way ticket to South Africa days before the wedding. 

An uneasy kiss between Princess Charlene and Prince Albert during their civil wedding ceremony

While their cringeworthy kiss during the religious ceremony for their wedding was what made headlines, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert shared other awkward moments throughout the 2011 event. During the civil ceremony, the couple's vibe vacillated between loved-up and uncomfortable. Unsurprsingly, royal watchers latched onto the more uncomfortable moments.

Charlene appeared to cuddle up to Prince Albert on the balcony at one point, holding on to his arm for support. However, the pair later kissed during the same appearance and it was as strained as ever. Charlene brought her shoulders up to her ears as they barely made contact for the kiss. Suffice to say, they weren't exactly giving us "The Notebook." As the Daily Mail put it, the interaction appeared to be "very uneasy."

Prince Albert's paternity suits came up often throughout the lead-up to the wedding, leaving many wondering if that was the reason for the iciness. Besides the two illegitimate children Albert fathered before he and Charlene met, there was quite a bit of speculation in France that he may have a third child that was conceived while they were in a relationship, per the Daily Mail. It was even rumored that Nicole Coste, mother of one of those children, was the mother of a third child fathered by Albert, being that the pair remained on good terms and stayed in touch. All of this could certainly add pressure to wedding day nerves. 

Prince Albert puts his hand around Princess Charlene's waist during a Red Cross event in 2012

During a Red Cross event in June 2012, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene made an official appearance where they posed for photos and received flowers; basically, your average royal walkabout. However, the couple appeared somewhat rigid and strained, which was becoming a hallmark of their public relationship.

Despite the presumably disconnected appearance, Prince Albert looked as if he wanted to be close as he pulled Charlene into him with a tight arm around her waist. One could argue she looked tense, with a smile that didn't fully cover her face and shoulders that appeared to be raised. What's more, Prince Albert's fingers latched on in a way that might suggest he was trying to keep her from running away, physically and metaphorically. 

Of course, it's all speculation. As body language expert Gavin Stone wrote in a LinkedIn post, a hand around the waist could be seen as fun and affectionate, or it can also be a more controlling move. He noted that a hand around the waist can indicate insecurity and possessiveness. 

A rare kiss while visiting the Brandenburg Gate in Germany in 2012

Just a year after their wedding day, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene went on a three-day state visit to Germany where they were welcomed by German President Joachim Gauck and his partner, Daniela Schadt. During their time there they attended a gala at the Schloss Bellevue Palace in Berlin, took a boat trip with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, and visited the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart. But what really stood out was the couple's surprising PDA displayed during their trip to the Brandenburg Gate. 

Charlene was glowing in a light blue pantsuit with a matching Louis Vuitton scarf as she posed with her husband, smiling throughout the event. She and Albert shared a spontaneous kiss that was somewhat rare for the couple in public yet still looked a little stilted. They barely touched lips, similar to their other public kisses in the past, leaving much to be desired in the PDA department.

A balcony kiss during Monaco National Day celebrations in 2014

In November 2014, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert shared a kiss on the balcony in a spontaneous display of affection that would have looked quite sweet had it not been for their kiss. The couple, known for their awkward public smooches in the past, stuck to their usual closed-mouthed, barely-touching-lips kiss. However, Charlene threw her head back to the side and smiled at her husband, looking more lovey-dovey than in the past. It could have been due to the fact that she was pregnant with the couple's twins Jacques and Gabriella, and was just one month from giving birth. Pregnancy can build intense intimacy between two people as sharing the experience can bring about emotional closeness. 

Charlene looked glowing and happier than ever as she waved to crowds alongside other members of the Monégasque royal family, including Princess Caroline of Hanover, Princess Alexandra of Hanover, Sacha Casiraghi, Andrea Casiraghi and Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

Charlene told French publication Paris Match (via Daily Mail), "The prospect of the upcoming birth is so magical, so powerful. We are full of love, gratitude, as well as a great sense of responsibility. I am particularly grateful for the spontaneous love bestowed on me in these special moments. The show of affection for my family, of the totality of the Monegasque people and all our friends." 

An emotional moment at Prince Albert's 10 years on the throne in 2015

In an almost surprising display of PDA, Princess Charlene and Prince Albert looked more in love than ever, though that isn't saying much, as they celebrated his 10 years on the throne. The pair hugged, awkwardly kissed, and embraced throughout the festivities with Charlene even making a loving speech in French, her first time addressing the Monégasque people in the official language.

As reported by Hello! magazine, she gushed, "[Prince] Albert I was the Explorer, Rainier III was the Prince-Builder, and you are the Prince of Hearts, of my heart." As she said this, Albert was said to have tears in his eyes as he was overcome with emotion. Not only was it a rare public display of affection for the couple, but it was an emotional display, which occurs even less than physical PDA among the world's most famous royal couples.

When Albert took to the microphone, he replied, "They told me you had a surprise for me today. But that ..." It was clear that after the birth of their twins, the pair was closer than ever. Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, who were seven months old at the time made a surprise appearance from a balcony, delighting royal watchers and causing quite the stir. 

Princess Charlene puts her head on Prince Albert's shoulder during a Formula 1 ceremony in 2018

In May 2018, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene attended the 76th Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix held at Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo. In an uncharacteristic show of warmth, Charlene was seen getting affectionate with Prince Albert at one point during the trophy ceremony for the winners of the race. While the couple stood behind the podium, Charlene appeared to quickly lean over toward Albert while the race winners sprayed each other with champagne. Charlene later took a swig of champagne from an enormous bottle while a smiling Albert looked on. The prince did not join his wife in the champagne chugging. 

Later photos, however, showed the pair looking a little more distant, though this was perhaps due to the formality of the engagement. During the ACM Gala dinner in honor of the Monaco Grand Prix, Charlene gave Albert a colder shoulder compared to earlier as she turned away from him while posing for photos. She even appeared to have her hand clutched around the arm of Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo who beamed happily. 

Forced PDA during the Monaco Grand Prix in 2022

Things looked particularly tense for Prince Albert and Princess Charlene by 2022, with the pair putting on a united front that appeared completely forced according to body language experts. While we can't say for certain how Charlene felt that day, the somber look on her face combined with the way she trailed behind her husband suggested she wasn't in the cheeriest of moods at the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix.

While the two were seen holding hands at one point, the entire interaction looked choreographed and Charlene gave off a vibe of wanting to be anywhere but there. Body language expert Judi James spoke to the Daily Mail, commenting on the couple whom she implied were forcing their PDA for the cameras. She told the publication, "Without their children to provide an outlet for more tactile and affectionate behaviours, Albert and Charlene manage to produce body language signals here that are puzzling enough to do nothing to quash rumours that sadly have been surrounding their marriage." James even pointed out that Charlene even began carrying her bag in between them, which could be interpreted as an attempt to create additional distance.

Charlene had just returned from her bout of bad health that kept her from flying back to Monaco from South Africa, so it's possible she was simply getting used to royal engagements again. But, as James said, the appearance did nothing to end the rumors about Charlene and Albert's marriage being on the rocks.

A celebratory display during the World Cup Final in 2023

Sometimes emotions overcome us, and Princess Charlene was no exception as she happily embraced Prince Albert in a spontaneous PDA. The pair were watching her home country South Africa in the Rugby World Cup Final at Stade de France in Paris as they faced rivals New Zealand, beating them 12-11. The princess was seen whooping and hollering as she hugged Albert and clung on to him while he stared back at her appreciably. The outing came just weeks after the pair watched South Africa face off against Scotland during the Rugby World Cup. At that event, however, there was no such embrace or spontaneous PDA for the press to unpack. 

The hug was so out of character for the couple that several news outlets even reported on it amid ongoing speculation that there may be trouble behind closed palace doors. According to the Daily Mail, some outlets in France and Germany have even claimed Charlene is living on her own in Switzerland, and that her marriage is simply "ceremonial."

For her part, Princess Charlene has always denied rumors of an issue between her and her husband, telling South African news site News24 (via Tatler), "It feels to me like certain media or people want to see us split." She added, "'At the end of the day these stories seem to be about clickbait and putting bread on someone's table." She even deleted her Instagram account in summer 2023, purely for the sake of her children's privacy.