Princess Charlene Current Events - Part 1: July 2011 - December 2013

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Charlene knocks every other royal out of the park. Natural beauty.
Nice to see the Princess hold the fort in Monaco whilst P Albert is away...
The Palace has released another pic of the graduation ceremony on Tuesday:

** June 18, 2013 **

And one more of the Sports Festival ceremony yesterday:

** June 19, 2013 **
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I think she looks very pretty in the white dress and top; it seems to bring out her naturally delicate colouring. The soft colours of the flowers add to the effect. Very nice :)
Thanks a lot for the candids! She is very pretty!
Does anyone recognize the people she's hanging out with?
They all look so much older than her, except for the guy in the jeans and white T-shirt.
Edited from The Times 13th July
Charlene of Monaco - the unlikely princess.

About Roc Agel
“We have two elephants arriving next month,” says the 35-year-old Princess in the broad South African accent that still sounds incongruous in this European city state where French, with a special Monégasque lilt, is spoken. “We rescued them from a circus. Our kids are going to grow up saying they had elephants in their back garden. I just need lions roaring and I will feel really at home.”

Charlene is often mentioned in the same breath as Kate Middleton, not least because both women married into royalty within months of one another. However, Charlene’s background was much less comfortable. Plain Charlene Wittstock was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), in 1978. Her mother, Lynette, was a swimming teacher and her father, Michael, sold photocopiers for a living.

Meeting Albert
The family moved to the South African town of Benoni when she was 12. By her teens she was a world-class swimmer, who would go on to swim for South Africa in the 2000 Olympics It was Wittstock’s talent for swimming, aided by her statuesque 5ft 11in frame, that gave her a way out of her upbringing – and an introduction to her future husband. He telephoned the swimmer’s manager to orchestrate a date.

“It was incredibly flattering,” she recalls of their first encounter. There was an immediate bond over sport – Albert was a former member of Monaco’s bobsleigh team. They spent, she says, the whole evening “laughing and talking”. But the couple did not meet again for five years. They started dating soon after. Their long-distance relationship culminated in Charlene, moving to Monaco.

Pre Wedding
Charlene, an unassuming South African with her no-nonsense approach and raucous sense of humour, tried to ensconce herself [into Monaco society]. It was a testing time. I remember her telling me sadly, “The people I mix with in Monaco don’t relate to my South African mentality or humour.”

Lacking any official status, unable to speak French, she lived alone in a small apartment with few friends to support her. She was far away from home, isolated and forced to endure the froideur of the Monaco beau monde who had hoped that if Albert did get round to marrying that he’d choose one of its own as his wife.

Nevertheless, her tenacity paid off when, in June 2010, they became engaged. A little over a year later, and having converted to Roman Catholicism, Charlene Wittstock became Her Serene Highness the Princess of Monaco.

The Wedding
Just days before the former Olympian was due to walk down the aisle, the French weekly newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche published unsubstantiated allegations that Charlene had made three attempts to flee. It claimed that the distraught bride-to-be had sought refuge at the South African embassy in Paris, where she was being fitted for her wedding dress in May, then again tried to leave the country during the Grand Prix and finally, less than a week before the wedding, was stopped from boarding a helicopter as officials coerced her to stay.

The story captured the attention of the international media and Charlene became the world’s most famous Runaway Bride since Julia Roberts. Headlines such as “Doubts Swirl around Monaco’s $68 million wedding”, “Rumours Cloud Royal Celebrations” and “Royal Wedding Overshadowed” appeared on many front pages.

The newspapers told one story, yet the scene I witnessed while Charlene was getting ready in a suite in the Hermitage Hotel was one of standard pre-wedding chaos. Maids of honour fluttered in and out, hairdressers, seamstresses and make-up artists took turns to attend to both the bride and her classic bespoke Armani gown. In the midst of them all, Charlene remained contained, helped, she said, by drawing on the kind of focus that an athlete utilises before an Olympic event. Yes, she was angry about the ferocity of the rumours, but she appeared to be just a bride determined to make the most of the day.

Two years on, Charlene is ready to talk. “Everything was just so overwhelming and there were all the mixed emotions because of the rumours, and obviously all this tension built up and I burst into tears [immediately after the ceremony],” she says. “And then I burst into tears some more because I was thinking, ‘Oh no, now the whole world has seen me cry.’” Despite the “categorical lies” that marred her wedding, Charlene maintains she has happy memories of the experience. “It was such a wonderful three days. Even months afterwards I would get flashbacks and think, ‘Oh, my goodness, did I really have the Eagles playing at my wedding?’ I think back and wonder how we managed to pull it off.
“There was a lot going on,” she says, summing up the day. “It was beautiful."

Royal life
Charlene has since made inroads into royal circles and forged a close relationship with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. “Máxima has been unbelievably supportive if I need any help with anything. Because she came from Argentina and moved to Holland, we have made similar lifestyle choices. She has given me advice that I identified with.”

Charlene, as do Royals the world over, has set up her own charity. The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation aims to teach children to swim. “My cousin drowned when he was five years old. Thousands of people drown in France every year, and I would say the number is close to millions globally. I want to spearhead this water safety project of mine, giving people access to someone to teach them to swim free.”

Charlene has successfully navigated her transition from beach babe to appropriately attired Royal. “Finding my fashion feet has certainly been the biggest challenge,” she told me before her wedding, recalling her first Monaco Red Cross ball in 2007. Fresh from playing volleyball on the beach, she borrowed a friend’s green dress and hurriedly painted her nails red. “I must have looked like a Christmas tree,” she said afterwards.

As a result, for a while she was terrified of meeting a head of state in an inappropriate outfit and began dressing more conservatively according to cautious advice from palace officials. Over time, however, her own sense of style has returned. In May, she hosted a Dior show on a custom-built waterside catwalk. “I worked for two years on that. I had this vision to arrange a fashion show in between Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Prix, because everybody is here,” she says. “ I’m still smiling about it.”

Over a friendship that has lasted six years, I’ve realised that Charlene Wittstock/Charlene, Princess of Monaco is a complex mix. There’s the side to Charlene that loves to party. This is the woman I spent time with at her leather-and-lace-themed hen night in New York, who was in her element telling her trademark repertoire of self-deprecating tales.

But there’s another side, too – less at ease, wary. At the time of her wedding, Charlene was castigated for her diffident manner and anxious demeanour. But, two years on, she seems gradually to be assimilating into the Monégasque community and beginning to form friendships.

“I have made two close friends in Monaco. They’re very supportive; their husbands are businessmen and they’re good friends of Albert’s,” she says. “We hang out when I have the time – I have good company.”

A palace insider testifies to her growing confidence, noting, “In private, she is blunt and direct – she speaks very frankly to people. She tells Albert, ‘I want this; I don’t want that.’ ”

“When they are together they’re very much the typical couple – drinking with friends, watching a sports game and arguing about the result. Charlene is crazy about Albert,” says a friend. “There’s nothing more she wants than to make him happy. She wants to be a good wife and make him proud.”

She has rejected many of the more rigid formalities of her royal role. She rises at 8am most days, when an alarm clock, not a servant, wakes her. She makes her own coffee and breakfast. On a rare night when she and Albert do not have an official event to attend, they order in pizza and watch a DVD.

The conversation shifts towards the subject of having children. Charlene has previously been cagey about baby-related issues. Asked during a pre-wedding interview with the veteran French TV journalist Patrick Poivre d’Arvor whether she wanted to have children, she broke with protocol and said to Prince Albert, “Hey, won’t he just give us a break!” But today she is more pragmatic.

“Look, I’m not going to put myself under any pressure. I just got married. I’m just settling in to this enormous place and getting used to having huge responsibilities,” she says firmly. “I’m finding my feet. I’m trying to place good, supportive people around me. That’s more important right now, and being confident and being really, really happy with the situation. I’ve got to conserve my energy. You know, we travel a lot, so it’s going to take a little bit of time. But as I said, I’m not going to put myself under any pressure. It will happen; it will happen.”
Thanks, cepe!!! A very good article on a very modern princess. I thought her words on the pre-wedding rumors were very interesting, and it makes me sad that she had to spend the days leading up to her wedding dealing with that nonsense.

Also, it's interesting what happened with her fashion choices.
^^^previous. Wow, cepe, thanks a lot for summarizing and posting the article! She seems to be doing quite a few interviews lately. And saying mostly the same things: taking time to settle into her new role before they start a family, being excited about her Foundation, very much in love with her husband, them being a regular couple...
Lovely interview, and I think it sort of matches with the impression that we got...that she was not quite at ease with her new role in the beginning and is now very gradually trying to find her way into this new life...

Let's be grateful she gets the time to adjust and to still remain herself
and if we must compare, we might compare the situation to P.Masako in Japan who also had a hard time adjusting and maybe didn't have the chance to be herself anymore...

just my 2 cts ofcourse...
I can only see one pic: the Princess on the cliffs above Monaco. Are there more?
Thanks again, cepe. Lovely pics, and how young she looks in the last one...
Cepe, Thanks for posting the summary of the article and the photos. Charlene is my favourite royal and I wish all the best in the world for her and her husband.
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