Prince Albert of Monaco has ensured his children feel supported and protected at royal engagements in the absence of their mother Princess Charlene, a body language expert has claimed.
Albert, 63, has made two public appearances with six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella since Charlene, 43, was admitted to a treatment facility, and paid particular attention to them at both.
‘It wouldn’t be unusual for a father to step up to the plate with his children while a mother is unwell or absent like this but for a royal male of Alberts generation this tactile and very focused behaviour might not have been a given,’ body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL.
Charlene sought treatment for ’emotional and physical exhaustion’ within days of her return to Monaco, following a 10-month hiatus in her home country of South Africa. She was initially grounded due to a ‘sinus infection’ she contracted during a solo charity trip to the country and later required surgical treatment, delaying the return.
Today Page Six reported Charlene ‘almost died’ after having surgery to address swallowing issues stemming from a severe throat infection and has lost half her body weight.
Protective: Prince Albert of Monaco has ensured his children feel supported and protected at royal engagements in the absence of their mother Princess Charlene, a body language expert has claimed. Pictured, placing a hand on Gabriella’s back during an engagement this week
By their side: Albert joined his six-year-old twins at a tree-planting event in Monaco this week and stood behind them in a show of support, body language expert Judi James noted
In media interviews, Albert explained he had stepped up to play a bigger role in his children’s lives as the family copes with Charlene’s ongoing health issues.
Jacques and Gabriella are homeschooled at the palace after being taken out of the classroom due to Covid.
‘For me, it’s pretty simple – my priority is my family,’ he said in an interview this month. ‘Of course, without neglecting state affairs… I hope everyone understands that. When I can be with my kids, I do it without hesitation.
‘This is an extremely important time in their life – the way they grow up helps them see the world.
‘And if one of the parents is away for medical reasons, the other parent has to be there. I have heard too many friends and acquaintances telling me that they wish they had been there for their children, at a certain age, taken up by their work or their professional life. I don’t want to have these regrets.’
This commitment to his children was reflected in his body language at Wednesday’s tree-planting engagement.
Undivided attention: His behaviour was similarly attentive at the Monaco National Day celebrations last Friday. When Gabriella spoke to him, he ensured he only had eyes for her
Watchful eye: Albert paid close attention to his children at the National Day celebrations. Jacques and Gabriella held up heartbreaking notes to their mother Princess Charlene
Leaning down to speak to them: Judi explained small signals like this show a deep connection
Albert joined Jacques, Gabriella and other children to plant a tree to mark the centenary of Soroptimist International, a women’s organisation promoting peace and working to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.
The father-of-two stood behind his children as they waited to plant a tree, at one point leaning down to speak to Gabriella and place a reassuring hand on her back.
His behaviour was similarly attentive at the Monaco National Day celebrations last Friday.
Albert was supported by his sisters Caroline and Stephanie – who have rallied around the children in recent months – as he observed the festivities from a balcony.
The twins held up heartbreaking signs saying ‘We miss you Mommy’ and ‘We love you Mommy’ as they stood in front of their father.
Tactile displays: Gabriella reached out to touch her father ahead of the National Day celebrations. Judi said such affection is not a given for a male royal of Albert’s generation
Playful moment: The bond between the father and his children was also evident on the day Charlene returned from South Africa. The royal couple invited photographers to capture her arrival at the palace. The children hung onto Albert like he was a ‘human swing’ to play with
Changing feelings? This is a shift from the body language demonstrated earlier this year when Albert and the children flew to South Africa to visit Charlene, when they ‘clustered’ around their mother (above). In Monaco last week they ‘clustered’ around their father
How Charlene and Albert made solo outings in South Africa and Monaco during ten months apart
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.
It is unknown where the image was taken.
May 8 – Albert, Jacques and Gabriella attend a Grand Prix event in Monaco without Charlene
May 10 – Albert attends Monaco Gala Awards in Monaco without Charlene
May 18 – Charlene shares her first picture from her conservation trip in South Africa
June 1 – Prince Albert II, Jacques and Gabriella attend event at Oceanic Museum in Monaco
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 7 – Albert and the twins attend the World Rugby Sevens without Charlene
June 18 – Prince Albert appears alone Monte Carlo TV Festival
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.
July 3 – Albert appears with glamorous niece Charlotte Casiraghi at the 15th international Monte-Carlo Jumping event, which is part of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco,
July 27 – Prince Albert attends Olympics alone in Tokyo
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
August 31 – Speculation mounts in the media about couple’s relationship
September 1 – Charlene is admitted under an alias to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital after suddenly ‘collapsing’
September 2 – She 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 23 – Prince Albert attends the 2021 Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health
September 29 – Prince Albert is joined on the red carpet by actress Sharon Stone for a first look at the eagerly anticipated James Bond release
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 5 – Prince Albert attends Sportel Awards Ceremony in Monte Carlo with nephew Louis Ducruet
October 6 – Albert tells RMC radio Charlene is ‘ready to come home’
October 8 – Princess undergoes surgery in South Africa
November 8 – Charlene arrives back in Monaco. Prince Albert said within hours it became clear she was ‘unwell’
November 13 – 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
– Prince Albert attends a Monaco Red Cross event without Princess Charlene
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
At different points he leaned down to speak to his children, engaged with their questions, and encouraged their playful, tactile behaviour.
Judi explained: ‘Even at formal events he appears to be putting his children first, keeping watchful as he stands behind them but then bending to their level to communicate and to give them more active feelings of caring and protection as well as signalling the sense of undivided attention that children crave.’
The bond between the father and his children was also evident on the day Charlene returned from South Africa. The royal couple invited photographers to capture her arrival at the palace.
‘He is also clearly a playful dad,’ Judi said, analysing one of the homecoming photos.
‘The children seem to lean towards him to play and when he has both children’s hands they do appear to be using him as a human swing.’
‘That pose with both parents is telling in terms of balanced emotional comfort and support.
‘While Charlene walks with her dog the children seem more the comfortable walking with their father.’
This is a shift from the body language demonstrated earlier this year when Albert and the children flew to South Africa to visit Charlene.
Judi added: ‘When they visited in South Africa they were photographed clustering with their mother which could have caused concern but here they look equally happy clustering with their dad.’
At the weekend, Prince Albert revealed his wife has been admitted to a ‘treatment facility’ where she will remain for ‘at least several’ weeks.
The royal explained his wife, who has appeared increasingly frail, acknowledged she needed help after he staged a family intervention with her brothers and sister-in-law.
Albert did not reveal details of her illness but ruled out cancer and Covid.
He hinted at mental health struggles, saying she ‘was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life’ and is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’.
Speaking to People magazine, Albert said the family reunion in Monaco two weeks ago 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.’
The Prince said the final decision making process about treatment involved an intervention-style meeting with family members, explaining: ‘I sat her down with her brothers and a sister-in-law. She had already made her decision, and we only wanted her to confirm it in front of us. She wanted this.
‘She already knew the best thing to do was to go and have a rest and have a real medically framed treatment. And not in Monaco. For privacy reasons, it would have to be someplace outside of Monaco.’
Meanwhile he revealed Gabriella and Jacques would ‘visit’ Charlene once they had the ‘medical go-ahead’, saying the six-year-old twins ‘knew she was tired’ and ‘not quite herself.’
French magazines such as Voici claimed that Charlene has gone to Switzerland, where there are numerous specialist private medical clinics.
Albert explained: ‘I’m probably going to say this several times, but this has nothing to do with our relationship. I want to make that very clear. These are not problems within our relationship; not with the relationship between a husband and wife. It’s of a different nature.’
Albert continued: ‘She hadn’t slept well in a number of days and she wasn’t eating at all well. She has lost a lot of weight, which made her vulnerable to other potential ailments. A cold or the flu or God help us, COVID.’
In another interview in Monaco-Matin, translated from French, he said. ‘There is tiredness, not just physical, which can only be treated with a period of rest and monitoring.
‘She is not in the Principality but we will be able to visit her very soon. I cannot tell you more out of discretion.’
Claims she will stay in Swtizerland 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.’
Asked if the children had been ‘more protected’ during their mother’s absence, Albert added: ‘They should be protected in general, but of course they suffered from the absence of their mother. But they had enough distractions and a family circle that made sure they were not lacking in affection.’
Charlene’s time away followed fresh allegations last December that Albert had fathered a love-child (which would be his third, if proven) with an unnamed Brazilian woman during the time when he and Charlene, a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, were already in a relationship.