Princess Charlene returns to Monaco after South Africa trip

She’s back and she’s blonde (again)! Princess Charlene sports another chic new hairdo on her first engagement since returning to Monaco after visiting family in South Africa

  • Charlene attended a dance evening in Monaco yesterday evening 
  • READ MORE: Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco are ‘attempting to show unity’ in the face of split rumours – but end up looking ‘awkward’, body language expert claims

Princess Charlene of Monaco returned to her blonde roots as she carried out her first official engagement since returning to her country of residence. 

In a series of photos posted on the Monegasque Palace’s Instagram account, the mother-of-two, 45, accepted a stunning bouquet of flowers as she attended an event with the Monegasque Seniors’ Association.

The solo visit without her husband Prince Albert, 65, marks her first public appearance since she returned from her native South Africa, where she had been visiting family this month.

Charlene’s departure from Monaco was accompanied by rumours her marriage to Prince Albert was on the rocks after reports in German and French media suggested she was living in Switzerland and only saw her the father of her children ‘by appointment’.

However both Charlene and Albert have since dismissed the rumours, and as she carried out her first engagement since returning to Monaco on Monday evening, the Princess was pictured beaming.

Princess Charlene of Monaco (pictured) has returned home after a visit to her native country,  South Africa. The royal attended a dance evening with the Monegasque Seniors’ Association

The Princess, who shares eight-year-old twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella with her husband, was in high spirits as she danced with a member of the Association on the dancefloor. 

Charlene donned a simple, yet classy off-the-shoulder knitted black top, as her trademark pixie crop stood out. 

She matched the top with a sophisticated satin skirt and a pair of elegant black pumps.

Her return to her blonde locks follows a brief switch to brunette over the summer, while she holidayed in Corsica with her husband. 

For the occasion, Charlene donned a simple asymmetric knitted top and matched it with a satin skirt 

Charlene was photographed greeting the seniors at the ball, before accepting an impressive bouquet of flowers.

Posting photos of Charlene’s engagement on Instagram, the Palace said: ‘Yesterday evening, H.S.H. Princess Charlene went to the dance evening of the Monegasque Seniors’ Association organized on the Place d’Armes.

‘She shared, for an evening, a warm and festive moment with the elders of the Principality.’

Charlene’s trip to South Africa marked her first return since 2021 when she suffered a horror illness, which kept her in her native country and away from her husband and children for several months.

The 45-year-old became seriously unwell in the country where she was brought up, and which she represented as an Olympic swimmer.

This led to Charlene, whose non-royal family moved to South Africa in 1989, undergoing a series of medical operations while her husband remained in Monte Carlo with their young twins, Gabriella, eight, and Jacques, also eight. 

The rumour mill went into overdrive when Charlene spent most of 2021 away from her husband. 

She wasn’t pictured in Monaco from January 2021 until March 2022, citing a sinus issue which stopped her from flying.

The mother-of-two appeared in high spirits as she greeted the excited attendees with a wave and a smile 

At the end of the evening, Charlene shared a dance with one of the attendees with a broad grin across her face 

The royal looked stunning as she debuted the return of her blonde pixie crop- and smiled for photographs with other attendees of the dance evening 

The couple had been expected to put all that behind them, and travel to South Africa together to attend a ‘Learn to Swim’ charity event that included a Waterbike Challenge race.

But photos showed Charlene was again by herself in the Sun City resort, near Johannesburg. 

Meanwhile, Prince Albert occupied himself with several trips across the northern hemisphere, including New York, Washington D.C, France, and Germany.  

Charlene’s return to principality comes after the 45-year-old royal insisted that she is ‘serene’ and ‘happy’ amid rumours of deep tension with Albert. 

She challenged rumours claiming that she was living in Switzerland and only saw her husband by appointment, and said she no longer wanted to address unfavourable speculation.

The monarch kept her makeup to a minimum, revealing her natural beauty. She appeared in high spirits while chatting with others at the event 

The evening ended with live music- while some attendees took to the dance floor others sat by and watched 

In interviews at the peak of Charlene’s illness, Albert explained he had stepped up to play a bigger role in his children’s lives as the family coped with Charlene’s ongoing health issues.

Upon her initial return to the principality, Albert claimed she was ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘unwell’.

Speaking to People magazine at the time, Albert said the family reunion in Monaco last week initially went ‘pretty well’ in the first few hours, but it then became ‘pretty evident’ that Charlene was ‘unwell.’

He said the former Olympian ‘realised she needed help’, adding: ‘She was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life.’

Claims she will stay in Switzerland were backed up by a source who knows the couple well, who said: ‘The South of France is too close, but Switzerland has superb private medical facilities, and Charlene will be well looked after there.’

The couple have been at the centre of split rumours for years, but have always denied there’s an issue with their marriage.

A tumultuous two years for Princess Charlene that saw her spend 10 months in South Africa away from her children, admitted to a treatment facility in Switzerland and strike a rumoured £10 million a year deal with Albert  


January 27 – Charlene is pictured with Albert for the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco.

March 18 – Charlene is pictured at the memorial for the late Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini at the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, South Africa

April 2 – Charlene posts an Instagram picture of herself, Albert and their twins Jacques and Gabriella for Easter from an unknown locatoin. 

May 8 – Albert, Jacques and Gabriella attend a Grand Prix event in Monaco without Charlene

May 18 – Charlene shares her first picture from her conservation trip in South Africa

June 3 – New photos emerge of Charlene on her conservation trip

June 5 – Charlene puts on a united front as she shares a photo with her family to mark her niece’s fifth birthday with her brother’s family and Albert and the twins in South Africa

June 24 – Charlene’s foundation releases a statement saying the royal is unable to travel and is undergoing procedures for an ear, nose and throat infection

July 2 – Charlene and Albert mark their 10th anniversary separately. ‘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,’ Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene said in a statement.

August 13 – Charlene undergoes a four-hour operation. The reason is not announced

August 25 – Charlene shares photos of Prince Albert, Gabriella and Jacques visiting her in South Africa

September 1 – Charlene is admitted under an alias to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital after suddenly ‘collapsing’

September 2 – Charlene is discharged, with a statement from the Palais Princier reading: ‘Her Highness is closely monitored by Her medical team who said that Her condition was not worrying’

September 30 – Charlene releases a stylish video promoting her anti-poaching campaign from her South African bolthole

October 3 – Princess Charlene shares a photograph of herself smiling in front of a bible in her first snap since being discharged from hospital following her health scare

October 6 – Albert tells RMC radio Charlene is ‘ready to come home’

October 8 2021 – Princess undergoes more surgery in South Africa

November 8 – Charlene arrives back in Monaco. Prince Albert said within hours it became clear she was ‘unwell’

November 13 2021  – Prince Albert attends Expo 2020 in Dubai without Princess Charlene. Following his return from the trip, Prince Albert holds an intervention with Charlene’s brothers and a sister-in-law in which Charlene ‘confirmed’ she would seek ‘real medically-framed treatment’ outside of Monaco

November 16 – Royal household confirms Princess Charlene will not attend National Day celebrations on November 19

November 17 – Prince Albert reveals Princess Charlene has left Monaco and is recovering in a secret location

November 19 – Prince Albert reveals Charlene is in a treatment facility ‘elsewhere in Europe’ after a family intervention

November 25 – Sources tell Page Six Princess Charlene ‘almost died’ after sinus surgery and ‘lost nearly half her body weight’ due to being ‘unable to swallow’. They also said it was ‘unfair’ to portray her as struggling with mental health issues 

December 11 – Royal breaks her silence on Instagram to wish her twins Jacques and Gabriella a happy seventh birthday

December 24 – Princess Charlene of Monaco is still ‘months from recovery’ but will reunite with Prince Albert and their twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriela for Christmas at treatment centre


January 25 – Princess Charlene celebrates her 44th birthday alone: Royal shares slideshow of snaps from happier times featuring Prince Albert, their children and her swimming career as she continues to receive treatment outside of Monaco

March 14 – Palace announces that Charlene is back in Monaco but will take time to ‘further strengthen her health before gradually resuming her official duties’

April 17 – Charlene is pictured for the first time in a family portrait to celebrate Easter

April 30 – Charlene makes her first public appearance since leaving a treatment facility as she attends Monaco E-Prix with Prince Albert

May 7 – The royal makes her second public appearance at the Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament 

May 10 – French media claims Prince Albert has agreed to pay his wife £10million a year to make sure she fulfils her consort role 

May 25 – Princess Charlene continues her return to public life at Monte Carlo Fashion Awards with daughter Princess Gabriella 

May 28 – Princess Charlene continues her return to public life as she joins Prince Albert at F1 in Monaco for the first time since 2019 

June 6 – Prince Albert says he was hurt by the ‘vicious’ rumours about his wife’s absence from Monaco and his family ‘missed the princess a lot’ 

June 16 – Princess Charlene appears sombre in all-black ensemble for Catholic festival 

June 18 – Princess Charlene of Monaco looks glamorous in all-green ensemble as she steps out with Prince Albert for the Monte Carlo TV Festival opening ceremony 

June 23 – Albert and Charlene attend a science exhibition opening with their children in Oslo – her first overseas visit since returning to public duties

July 4 – Albert and Charlene! Monaco royals hold hands in new portrait to mark 11 years of marriage

July 5 – Charlene visits the Princess Grace Hospital Centre in her first solo engagement since her return to Monaco 

July 9 – Albert attends Monaco’s Rose Ball without his wife, despite it being the highlight of the social calendar

July 18 – Royal joins Prince Albert at the 73rd Red Cross Gala in Monte Carlo 

July 20 – Couple visit The Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis 

September 4 – Charlene joins Prince Albert and their children Gabriella and Jacques for a rare family appearance at traditional picnic in Monaco 

September 6 – Princess Charlene and Prince Albert of Monaco take their twins Jacques and Gabriella, 7, to class for their first day back after the summer holiday

September 12 – Couple attend a memorial service for the late Queen Elizabeth II

September 19 – Princess Charlene attends the Queen’s funeral in London alongside her husband Prince Albert 

October 4-5 – Princess Charlene wows on a solo surprise visit to Paris Fashion Week

October 21 – Princess Charlene of Monaco makes emotional solo visit to an animal shelter as she sends ‘all her love’ to fans following her return to royal duties

November 8 – Royal couple attend the annual Princess Grace Awards in New York 

November 16 – Princess Charlene attends Monaco’s Red Cross Christmas gift distribution with Prince Albert 

November 19-20 – Princess Charlene attends Monaco National Day celebrations with Prince Albert and presents awards at 2022 World Rugby Awards ceremony

December 2 – Princess Charlene takes her seven-year-old twins to Monaco Christmas village along with her model niece Charlotte Casiraghi

December 13 – Attends Monaco’s Red Cross Christmas gift distribution with her husband Prince Albert 

December 14 – Family attend Christmas tree ceremony in Monaco 

December 15 – Princess Charlene of Monaco reveals she feels ‘much better’ and has ‘much more energy’ after lengthy health crisis in an interview with Monaco Matin – the first since returning to royal duties

December 21 – Royals release a stylish family Christmas card

December 23 – ‘Proud’ Prince Albert praises Princess Charlene for ‘turning it around in an incredible way’ after lengthy health crisis, saying she had a ‘very tough year’ 

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