Monaco's most senior royals, Prince Albert II and his wife Princess Charlene, have been facing speculation about their 12-year marriage yet again.
But in the wake of reports in multiple European media outlets claiming they're now a couple in name only and that Charlene quietly moved from Monaco to Switzerland, the royals are hitting back at the narrative.
In a September interview with Italy's Corriere della Serra newspaper, Albert insisted their marriage is fine. "Charlene is always by my side," he said, pointing to a rash of recent appearances that followed claims he and his wife are now a couple in name only.
"I don't understand all these rumors, which hurt me, about us," he added. "That she lives elsewhere. Lives in Switzerland. That we meet only by appointment. They're lies."
While Albert acknowledged that Charlene "had some [health] difficulties many months ago," he insisted that "now, thank goodness, she's over it and is always by my side. She supports me in leading the Principality, but we're not attached to each other 24 hours a day. We're a working couple and sometimes that only allows us to see each other at the end of a long day full of appointments."
Keep reading for more details…
In August 2023, reports in European publications were picked up by the British media, sparking new questions about what's going on between Prince Albert II and his wife of 12 years, Princess Charlene.
French magazine Voici reported that the royals and their twins, 8-year-old Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, vacationed together in mid-August in France's picturesque Sanguinaires archipelago at the entrance to the Gulf of Ajaccio. According to another European outlet, Germany's Bild, they enjoyed a family holiday on a yacht and appeared close.
However, Voici alleged, though Albert and Charlene are close, they're no longer a "classic couple," the publication wrote, as translated from French, adding that they remain united for the good of their kids. "Today, [they're] a couple who makes appointments to see each other," a source told the outlet.
Keep reading for more about the Monegasque royals' relationship...
According to an August 2023 report from Germany's Bild newspaper, Prince Albert II of Monaco and wife Princess Charlene are now just a "ceremonial couple." The outlet further reported that instead of being based at Prince's Palace in Monaco, Charlene is now living in Switzerland.
A source alleged to Germany's Bild that "Albert and Charlene are now good partners [who] take turns taking care of the children."
Keep reading for another alleged clue that all has not been well with the couple…
In the wake of European outlets' reporting on the status of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene's marriage, Page Six reported that Charlene's personal Instagram account mysteriously disappeared amid the claims she's now living in Switzerland and not with her husband in Monaco.
According to Page Six, as of late August 2023, the mother of two's Instagram account, @hshprincesscharlene — on which she shared news about her work as a royal as well as photos of the twins she shares with Albert — appeared to have been either deleted or deactivated, as the link takes users to a "Sorry, this page isn't available" page.
Monaco's Prince Albert II and wife Princess Charlene seemed to quietly be countering August reports alleging they'd essentially split by coming together for a series of public appearances in early September 2023.
On Sept. 9, 2023, Albert and Charlene — joined by their twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella — attended the traditional Monaco picnic at Princess-Antoinette Park in Monaco. DailyMail.com reported it was their fifth appearance together in a week following multiple reports of a royal rift.
They made other notable appearances too…
In the wake of the August 2023 reports, Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene made a joint appearance at an event for the launch of TVMonaco, Monaco's first public television channel, according to a Sept. 2, 2023, post on the royal palace's Instagram page.
Three days later, they again put on a united front as they received the new French Ambassador to Monaco, Jean D'Haussonville, at the Prince's Palace — a moment captured in a photo also shared on the palace's Instagram page.
It's unclear whether the showings were effort to smooth over speculation of trouble or if they're evidence that they now have — as Bild claimed, as reported by Town & Country — a "ceremonial" relationship.
Keep reading for more rumors that hit the couple earlier this year…
In March 2023 — after French magazine Royauté claimed that Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene were in the process of separating and the report was circulated by British tabloids — a spokesperson for Monaco's royal palace told People magazine that the "malicious rumors" about a potential breakup were "totally unfounded." A second source, meanwhile, maintained that the French tabloid's report about the separation was "made up of old stories which weren't true to begin with."
The couple had been been plagued by questions about the status of their marriage since Charlene suffered a mysterious medical crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic and spent a long period of time in her native Africa instead of in Monaco.
Keep reading for more of the rumors and reports that have plagued the Monaco royals…
A wild story concerning Monaco's senior royals emerged in May 2022 when French outlet Voici reported, per DailyMail.com, that Prince Albert II had signed an "ultra-confidential contract" that required him to pay wife Princess Charlene — who was absent from Monaco and her duties for nearly a year as she faced health issues and recovered in South Africa then Switzerland — about $12 million a year to fulfill her royal duties and be by his side.
Rival publication Paris Match Belgium reported a similar story. "Of course the princess enjoys huge perks [as a royal], but ready cash is not guaranteed. She's been through a very difficult time, so it would make sense for Charlene to try and secure her own guaranteed income," a royal insider based in Monte Carlo told DailyMail.com.
But friends of the couple dismissed the reports at the time, telling Page Six that Albert wasn't paying Charlene millions to remain as his wife. "Of course she has a generous prenup, but Albert doesn't have to pay her to stay," a source close to Charlene told Page Six. "After being away for so long during her illness, Charlene is so happy to be back with Albert and the kids. They spend every weekend at their country place. Albert is fully supportive of Charlene and is also helping her with her charities."
Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene have faced reports of trouble in their marriage from day one. After they wed in July 2011, it was alleged that Charlene tried to flee multiple times before she eventually married Albert, the son of Princess Grace — the American actress born Grace Kelly — and Monaco's Prince Rainier.
According to British tabloid the Mirror, French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche reported that multiple sources had claimed that "an arrangement" was eventually reached between the bride and groom after Charlene, a former Olympic swimmer who grew up in Zimbabwe and South Africa, tried to "escape three times." Monaco's palace at one point denied the allegations, telling People magazine in a statement, "None of this is true, and we think it comes from utter jealousy."
Some reports have claimed that Charlene was rocked by allegations Albert could have more illegitimate children. He has publicly admitted paternity of daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who was born in 1992 to former waitress-turned-real estate agent Tamara Rotolo, and son Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, who was born in 2003 to former flight attendant Nicole Coste.