Charlene, Princess of Monaco
Charlene at the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden in June 2013
|Princess consort of Monaco|
|Tenure||1 July 2011 – present|
25 January 1978 |
|Spouse||Albert II, Prince of Monaco (m. 2011)|
|Issue||Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès
Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco
|Father||Michael Kenneth Wittstock|
|Monegasque Princely Family|
HSH The Prince
Charlene was born in Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe), the daughter of Michael and Lynette Wittstock; the family relocated to South Africa in 1989. She represented South Africa at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, with her team finishing fifth in the 4 × 100 metre medley relay. She retired from competitive swimming in 2007.
Charlene met Prince Albert at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo, Monaco in 2000. They were first seen together in 2006, and she has accompanied the prince on many of his official duties since then. They announced their engagement in June 2010, and were married on 1 July 2011. Princess Charlene's pregnancy was announced on 30 May 2014. On 10 December 2014, The Princess of Monaco gave birth to Princess Gabriella and Hereditary Prince Jacques.
Early life and family history
Charlene was born on 25 January 1978 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (renamed Zimbabwe in 1980), the daughter of Michael Kenneth Wittstock, a sales manager, and Lynette Wittstock (née Humberstone), a former competitive diver and swimming coach. Two brothers were born over the next five years: Gareth (born 1980), a computer technician, and Sean (born 1983), a sales representative. The family relocated to South Africa in 1989, when Charlene was 11 years old. She attended Tom Newby Primary school in Benoni, near Johannesburg, from 1988 to 1991.
The Wittstock family is of German origin; Charlene's great-great-grandparents Martin Gottlieb Wittstock and Johanne Luise Wittstock (born Johanne Luise Schönknecht) emigrated to South Africa from the Pomeranian village of Zerrenthin in northern Germany in 1861 to escape hardship. In South Africa, the Wittstocks worked as handyworkers and unsuccessfully prospected for diamonds. Gottlieb's son, Heinrich Carl Wittstock would marry Olive Florence Caldwell, of English origin. Their son Dudley Kenneth Wittstock, Charlene's paternal grandfather, married Sylvia Fagan Nicolson, also of English origin. Charlene was given a certificate in 2014 which verified her Irish ancestry.
|Competitor for South Africa|
|1999 Johannesburg||100 m freestyle|
|1999 Johannesburg||100 m backstroke|
|1999 Johannesburg||4 x 100 m medley|
|1999 Johannesburg||4 x 100 m freestyle|
Charlene won three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1999 All-Africa Games in Johannesburg. She also was a member of the South African women's 4×100 m medley team at the 2000 Summer Olympics, which finished fifth. She finished sixth at the 2002 FINA Short Course World Championships for the 200 m breaststroke. She left her Durban-based team (the Seagulls) to join the Tuks Swimming Club at the High Performance Centre of the University of Pretoria. She never enrolled in classes. The Club sponsored her by providing her with free access to their pools, free coaching, accommodations, and gymnasium access.
She decided to leave Pretoria in January 2005, and returned to Durban; she then went to the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, where she joined a former University of Pretoria swimming coach, Brannislav Ivkovic. On 13 April 2007, Charlene regained her title as South Africa’s 50 m women’s backstroke champion when she completed the 50 m backstroke final at the Telkom SA National Aquatic Championships in 30:16 seconds, to finish third behind Australia’s Sophie Edington and Brazil’s Fabíola Molina.
Over the years she has won several national titles. She planned to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, which she said would be her swansong, but she did not qualify. Previously she had been out of competitive swimming for 18 months with a shoulder injury. Charlene said she would be swimming in Europe in the near future, hoping to improve her times. "I have a year left of competitive swimming, and I just want to be the best I can be in that time. After that I want to get involved in charity work, and development work with athletes' commissions".
Special Olympics ambassador
On 27 May 2011, the Special Olympics announced that Charlene had become global ambassador for the movement, charged with promoting respect and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities to a worldwide audience. Charlene has said that the Special Olympics movement is close to her heart because, as a former athlete, she values its role in "using the power of sport to change lives".
Charlene met Albert II, Prince of Monaco, in 2000 at the Mare Nostrum swimming meet in Monaco. They were first seen together in 2001. They went public at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics. Charlene moved in with Albert in 2006. She accompanied him to the weddings of the Crown Princess of Sweden in 2010 and of the Duke of Cambridge in 2011.
On 23 June 2010, the palace announced the engagement of Charlene and Albert. Charlene, who was raised a Protestant, converted to Roman Catholicism, even though this is not a requirement of the Constitution of Monaco. The future princess was also instructed in the French language and the Monégasque dialect, and became familiar with European court protocol. The Prince presented her with an engagement ring featuring a pear-shaped three-carat diamond at the center and round diamond brilliants surrounding it. This engagement ring was reported to be created by Parisian jeweler Repossi.
The wedding was originally scheduled for 8 and 9 July 2011, but was moved forward to prevent a conflict with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Durban on 5–9 July. The couple had invited members of the IOC, including president Jacques Rogge, to their wedding. The couple attended the IOC meeting; hence Charlene's first foreign visit as princess was to her childhood home, South Africa.
During the week before the wedding, the palace denied reports that Charlene had been getting cold feet. French weekly L'Express reported that Charlene tried to leave Monaco on Tuesday, 28 June, after rumors surfaced that Albert had fathered a third illegitimate child. The report claimed Monaco Police intercepted her at Nice Côte d'Azur Airport, confiscated her passport, and that it took "intense convincing" by Albert and palace officials for her to stay. The palace called the stories "ugly rumors" born out of jealousy.
The couple were married in a civil ceremony on 1 July 2011 at the Throne Room in the Prince's Palace. The Nuptial Mass on 2 July, was a lavish affair presided over by Archbishop Bernard Barsi. Only days after the beginning of the couple's honeymoon in South Africa, several newspapers from Spain, Britain, and elsewhere reported that Charlene and Albert were not staying at the same hotel, but were in fact booked in different hotels several miles apart. These reports fueled rumors about the couple's marital crisis that was sparked off even before their wedding.
Pregnancy and motherhood
On 30 May 2014, it was announced that Princess Charlene was pregnant. After much speculation it was confirmed on 9 October 2014, that the couple was expecting twins by the end of the year. On 10 December 2014, her twins were born at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre. Daughter Gabriella Thérèse Marie was born first followed by her brother Jacques Honoré Rainier. Due to male-preference cognatic primogeniture, Jacques is first in line to the throne and has been styled His Serene Highness The Hereditary Prince of Monaco as well as Marquis of Baux. Gabriella has been styled Her Serene Highness The Countess of Carladès.
Princess of Monaco
As Monaco's Princess Consort, Charlene attends the principality's national day celebrations, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Rose Ball (Bal de la Rose) held to raise funds for the Princess Grace Foundation, and the annual Red Cross Ball.
Princess Charlene is known for her elegant fashion style, patronising designers Akris and Armani. She wore an exclusive Giorgio Armani Privé wedding dress, and attended the Akris show at Paris Fashion Week in October 2011.
Charlene went to South Africa to attend the memorial service of Nelson Mandela on 12 December 2013.
Titles and styles
- National Honours
- Foreign honours
- Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland
- Italy: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Italy
- Whenever she is referred to by surname and not her title, Wittstock is the surname used.
- Since her marriage, an accent has been added to her name in French documents
- "H.S.H. Princess Charlene". Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- "Monaco's Prince Albert weds South African Charlene Wittstock". BBC News. 1 July 2011.
- "Biography - Prince’s Palace of Monaco". Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- Centre de Presse de Monaco. "Biographical details for Ms. Charlene Wittstock". Princely Wedding Monaco 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "After William and Kate's wedding, preparations for royal wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco begin". International Business Times. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "Charlene Wittstock remembered at former primary school". Times LIVE. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "Charlenes Wurzeln Vorfahren kommen aus Zerrenthin". n-tv (in German). 19 June 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- Wittstock (PDF), Ancestry 24
- "Princess Charlene of Monaco's Irish ancestry revealed". Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- "Charlene Wittstock’s family in limbo about moving to Monaco". ZA: Looklocal. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- Meaklim takes tally of gold medals to six at KZN championships[dead link]
- Independent Newspapers Online (15 April 2007). "Apple of Prince Albert's eye makes a splash". Iol.co.za. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- , “Madame Charlene Wittstock Becomes Global Ambassador for Special Olympics”, Friday, 27 May 2011
- "Monaco's Prince Albert to marry Charlene Wittstock". Gmanews.tv. Associated Press. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- The wedding is set to take place in Summer 2011 according to an interview with Prince Albert II, which appeared in a French newspaper.Fit for a princess: Prince Albert and Charlene guests of honour at Grace Kelly exhibit
- La Nueva España. "Baile de la Rosa con sabor marroquí". Lne.es. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- the CNN Wire Staff (23 June 2010). "Monaco's Prince Albert gets engaged". CNN. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "Prince Albert of Monaco engaged to Charlene Wittstock". BBC News. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "Marriage Princier 2011 Website, Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Crown jewels: The fabulous rings which sealed the love of Europe's royal couples". HELLO! magazine (UK).
- "Prince Albert and Charlene change wedding date". Hello!. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
- "Monaco's three-day royal wedding kicks off". Nine News. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "Prince Albert of Monaco weds Charlene Wittstock". Associated Press. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "Prince Albert Reportedly Had Charlene Wittstock's Passport Confiscated: Monaco's Runaway Bride Going Nowhere Fast". International Business Times. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2011.
- "Monaco prince marries South African swimmer". Reuters. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- Alberto y Charlene: luna de miel en hoteles separados. http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2011/07/12/gentes/1310498303.html
- Los Príncipes de Mónaco pasan su luna de miel en hoteles separados. http://www.abc.es/20110712/estilo-gente/abci-charlene-alberto-monaco-luna-201107121439.html
- Princess Charlene of Monaco 'spent honeymoon sleeping 10 MILES away from husband Albert' in different hotel. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2013453/Princess-Charlene-Monaco-spent-honeymoon-10-MILES-away-Prince-Albert.html
- "Monaco confirms: Princess Charlene is pregnant with twins". Royalista.com. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- News, BBC. "Monaco's Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene expecting baby". BBC News Europe. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- "La princesse Charlène est sur le point d'accoucher à Monaco". www.monacomatin.mc. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
- "The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor: The Prince and Princess of Monaco's Wedding: The Bridal Gown". Orderofsplendor.blogspot.com. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- Maysa Rawi (3 October 2011). "Paris Fashion Week 2011: Princess Charlene of Monaco braves Akris show crowds | Mail Online". Paris: Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
- High Society
- "Biography". Prince's Palace of Monaco. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- Nice Matin, 18 octobre 2012 "The Princely has arrived in Poland", mention of receiving the order of Merit without citing the grade
- Quirinale website
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Title last held byGrace Kelly
|Princess consort of Monaco
2011 – present