Princess Charlene was last publically seen in Monaco attending the Sainte Devote Ceremony on 27 January 2021. (Photo: PLS Pool/Getty Images)
- UPDATE: Palace says Princess Charlene ‘stable’ after ‘suddenly collapsing’
- Princess Charlene of Monaco was rushed to hospital in South Africa earlier this week due to a medical emergency.
- News24 understands the royal received medical attention at the Netcare Alberlito Hospital, in Ballito, under an alias.
- She has been in South Africa since early 2021 and reportedly has not returned to Monaco as she is recovering from an ENT infection.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, 43, was admitted to hospital late on Wednesday night after a medical emergency at the lodge north of Durban, where she is staying.
She was admitted, under an alias, to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital in Ballito, north of Durban, and discharged on Thursday, News24 can reveal.
Security at the hospital was tightened during the course of her hospitalisation.
Princess Charlene was first spotted in South Africa in March this year among the dignitaries and politicians who attended the funeral service of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini kwaBhekuzulu in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.
Two months later, in May, the Royal Palace of Monaco released a statement that said the royal was unable to leave the country after contracting an ear, nose and throat (ENT) infection.
The former Olympic swimmer, who is married to Prince Albert of Monaco, was in SA to raise awareness around rhino poaching when she reportedly contracted the infection.
“During a trip to the African continent as part of a wildlife conservation mission, Princess Charlene contracted an ENT infection that does not allow her to travel,” the palace said at the time.
The royal, who hails from Zimbabwe, but grew up in South Africa after her family relocated in 1989, was scheduled to make an appearance at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix in Monte Carlo on 23 May, but sent her “best wishes” after being unable to return home.
A few days later, Chantell Wittstock, the director of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation in South Africa, told Channel24’s Bashiera Parker in a statement that Charlene was still in South Africa and “recovering from an ENT infection with great progress”.
The princess was reportedly staying at a lodge in KwaZulu-Natal while being involved in various conservation operations.
Missing her 10-year anniversary
Late in June, in a statement to People, Her Serene Highness announced that she would not be celebrating her 10-year wedding anniversary on 1 July 2021 alongside her husband: “This year will be the first time that I will not be with my husband on our wedding anniversary in July, which is difficult and saddens me.
“However, Albert and I had no choice but to follow the instructions of the medical team, even if it was extremely difficult. He has been the most incredible support to me.”
Princess Charlene of Monaco during the memorial service of King Goodwill Zwelithini in Nongoma, South Africa, on March 18, 2021.
Getty Images Phill Magakoe / POOL / AFP
Princess Charlene of Monaco and Prince Albert II of Monaco attend the Sainte Devote Ceremony on January 27, 2021 in Monaco, Monaco.
Getty Images (Photo by PLS Pool/Getty Images)
Princess Charlene of Monaco, Princess Gabriella of Monaco, Prince Jacques of Monaco, Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Caroline of Hanover attend the Monaco National day celebrations in the courtyard of the Monaco palace on November 19, 2020 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
Getty Images (Photo by PLS Pool/Getty Images)
Princess Charlene of Monaco and Prince Albert II of Monaco attend the Monte-Carlo Gala For Planetary Health on September 24, 2020 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
Getty Images (Photo by SC Pool – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Princess Charlene of Monaco and brother Gareth Wittstock at the finish of The Crossing Calvi Monaco Water Bike Challenge on September 13, 2020 in Calvi, France.
Getty Images (Photo by AJ/Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Albert II of Monaco, Prince Jacques of Monaco, Princess Gabriella of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attend the Fete de la Saint Jean on June 23, 2020 in Monaco, Monaco.
Getty Images (Photo by SC Pool – Corbis/Getty Images)
Princess Charlene of Monaco and Prince Albert II of Monaco with their children Princess Gabriella of Monaco and Prince Jacques of Monaco greet the crowd from the palace balcony during the Sainte Devote Ceremony.
Getty Images (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Annika Noelle, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Denise Richards and Princess Charlene of Monaco attends the closing ceremony of the 59th Monte Carlo TV Festival on June 18, 2019 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.
Getty Images (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/WireImage)
In July, Channel24 again reached out to Princess Charlene regarding her health after she underwent “multiple, complicated procedures after contracting a severe ear, nose and throat infection in May”, as specified by her foundation.
The 43-year-old said: “It’s been a trying time for me. I miss my husband and children dearly. What has been extremely difficult for me was when I was instructed by my medical team that I could not return home for my 10th wedding anniversary. Albert is my rock and strength and without his love and support I would not have been able to get through this painful time.”
The foundation added: “HSH is finding it extremely difficult to be away from her husband and children at this time. The recovery period is long and painful, still eliminating flight between procedures as this will most certainly be detrimental to the success of her treatment. The road ahead is a long and painful one. The South African foundation team is striving to keep HSH in good spirits by executing the projects that she initially came to South Africa to work on. These are very close to her heart.”
Due to return in October
Early in August, in an interview with Mandy Wiener on Radio 702, the princess said that she was feeling “good” and expanded on why she had been unable to return home: “Initially, I was supposed to be here for 10 to 12 days. Unfortunately, I had a problem equalising my ears, and I found out through the doctors that I had a sinus infection and quite a serious one. So, it’s taking time to address this problem.”
She continued: “I cannot force healing, so I will be grounded in South Africa until the end of October.”
Shortly after the interview, Charlene underwent yet another four-hour long medical procedure under general anaesthesia.
A statement from the office of her husband, Prince Albert II, said: “The operation went well; Princess Charlene is resting, and we are thinking of her with tenderness.”
No further details were given.
At the end of August, Prince Albert and the couple’s six-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, paid another visit to Princess Charlene, just as they did in June when they spent time together as a family at a private game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.
Photos of the family’s latest reunion, posted on Charlene’s Instagram, sparked further concern for the princess’ health and fuelled speculation that her marriage to Prince Albert might be under severe strain.
The prince and the couple’s children returned to Monaco last week, while Charlene remains in South Africa.
A spokesperson for Charlene previously told YOU magazine speculation that the princess does not intend to return to Monaco is “100% false”.