Princess Charlene of Monaco appeared ’emotionally isolated from an animated Prince Albert’ despite trying to ’emphasise her role as a loving wife’ during the couple’s first public appearance since November, a body language expert has claimed.
Former Olympic swimmer Charlene, 44, joined her husband Prince Albert, 64 and their twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, seven, at Monaco’s E-Prix yesterday.
They have rarely been seen together since Zimbabwean-born Charlene spent some 10 months in South Africa last year, after contracting a serious sinus infection during a solo charity trip. The illness left her hospitalised and delayed her return to Monaco.
After returning to the principality last November, the mother-of-two almost immediately left and went to Switzerland to receive treatment for ‘exhaustion’.
Looking at the couple’s body language, expert Judi James told FEMAIL that Albert and Charlene were keeping their distance from one another, and that Charlene’s ‘pensive’ expression made her look ‘isolated’ from the rest of her upbeat family.
Former Olympic swimmer Charlene, 44, joined her husband Prince Albert, 64 and their twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, seven, at Monaco’s E-Prix yesterday
The expert noted that Charlene’s lips looked like she was trying to smile, but the smile did not reach her eyes (pictured)
‘Charlene’s lack of mirroring makes her look emotionally isolated here, with her very sad-looking eye expression and her reflective or pensive gaze,’ Judi said.
She added her expression made the royal ‘look distanced from her more animated family, despite the fact that she is standing with them and even cuddling her small daughter.’
In pictures taken from the event, Charlene could be seen standing behind Gabriella, with her hand – featuring her wedding and engagement ring – on her daughter’s chest.
Judi added that keeping her hands across her daughter’s chest suggested that Charlene wanted to keep Gabriella ‘safe and loved, while also creating an emphatic focus on her wedding and engagement rings to emphasis her role as a loving wife.’
The body language expert also suggested that there was very little interaction between Albert and his wife, who have been plagued with rumours of marital discord since their wedding over ten years ago.
The Monaco palace has consistently denied media reports of a rift between Charlene and Albert.
The mother-of-two (pictured with her family) wore a business suit to appear strong and confident, but adopted a ‘self-hiding’ pose, claimed the body language expert
While the rest of the family was upbeat, Charlene’s pensive looks made her seem isolated and sad, Judi claimed
Charlene stood closer to her children than she did her husband during the family event, Judi noted
Commenting on Charlene’s interactions yesterday, Judi said: ‘Her only verbal and non-verbal communication in these poses appear to be with her daughter and there are no signs of her using any eye-engage techniques with either her husband or the public.’
Timeline: Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s year 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 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 7 – Albert and the twins attend the World Rugby Sevens without Charlene
June 17 – Prince Albert attends Red Cross Summer concert in Monte Carlo with his sister Princess Caroline of Hanover
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
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
January 25 – Charlene celebrates her birthday alone outside of Monaco
January 26 – Prince Albert is joined by his children and sister without Charlene at St Devote’s Day
February 27 – Prince Albert and his two children attend AS Monaco football match without Princess Charlene
March 14 – The royal palace announced Charlene had returned to Monaco.
April 17 – Palace released Easter Sunday family portrait of couple with their seven-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques
The expert also noted the Monaco princess’s smile was anything but joyful.
‘If this can be called a smile it does not reach her eyes, whereas an authentic smile will tend to start in the eye expression,’ she said.
‘Her mouth expression is asymmetric, pulled up very slightly at the right corner but in some shots the left corner is curled down.
‘There is some puckering of the sides of the mouth in one pose but the incongruence of the mouth movement suggests she is conflicted here, perhaps trying to smile or thinking that she should, but failing,’ the expert added.
However, Charlene’s pensive look differed greatly from her husband’s demeanour.
‘Albert seems to try to look upbeat, waving to the crown palm-out and performing a social smile but neither the wave nor the smile is mimicked by Charlene,’ Judi said, adding that there was a lot of space between Albert and Charlene.
Judi also noted how Charlene’s choice of outfit showed her attempt to look strong and confident.
‘Charlene’s choice of a tailored charcoal pants suit with padded shoulders suggests that, as a pre-planned intentional gesture, she was keen to project a sense of strength and confidence,’ she said.
The expert noted it was a departure from the ethereal dress Charlene wore in the picture the Monaco royal family released for Easter.
‘This is a stylish, more business-like outfit but she adopts a part-protective, part-self-hiding or shielded pose, standing behind her daughter with her hands folded across her chest,’ Judi said.
Yesterday’s event marked the first time the Monaco royals have been seen in public together as a family since Charlene returned to the principality following her treatment.
Charlene was pictured wearing an all-grey ensemble, pairing her trouser suit with a matching top.
Her blonde crop was neatly coiffed, and she wore elegant make-up, including liquid eye liner and natural glossy lips.
She has faced a variety of health problems, including what the palace has previously referred to as a ‘state of profound general fatigue’ over the last year, which have kept her largely out of the public eye.
The Monaco palace has consistently denied media reports of a rift between Charlene and the principality’s ruler Prince Albert, who were wed in 2011.
Rumours the pair were incompatible were sparked from the outset, with Charlene attracting a barrage of attention over an apparent bad dose of pre-wedding jitters which, reportedly, saw her seeking refuge in her country’s embassy and gaining the moniker ‘the Runaway Bride’.
Charlene first had a 10-month absence in her native South Africa last year, where she contracted and was hospitalised for a serious sinus infection that delayed her return to Monaco.
She underwent surgery in October for an ear, nose and throat infection after checking in under a pseudonym in a Durban hospital, a palace source said at the time.
After her return to the principality in November, Charlene left almost immediately to receive treatment for ‘exhaustion’ at a Swiss clinic.
Friends previously told Page Six that the mother-of-two ‘almost died’ while she was in her home country, while her husband spoke out to say she is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’.
‘She was clearly exhausted, physically and emotionally. She was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life,’ Albert told People magazine in November.
A palace statement released on December 23 revealed Albert and the couple’s children were planning to visit Charlene during the Christmas holidays, as well as asking for the family’s privacy to be respected.
It added that the princess ‘is recuperating in a satisfactory and reassuring manner, although it may take a few more months before her health has reached a full recovery.’
But distinguished royal journalist Stephane Bern has long speculated that Charlene’s litany of supposed health problems could simply be a cover-up to excuse her from participating in royal activities alongside her husband.
Bern said in January of last year, Charlene was expected to make a trip to visit French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, but suddenly came down with an illness.
‘The princess had contracted a sudden gastroenteritis,’ he said.
‘The Palace has had to invoke a suffering princess so often that the Monegasques today find it hard to believe. By crying wolf, the mother of Jacques and Gabriella has discredited and isolated herself.’
The couple released an official family portrait earlier this month to mark Easter. Judi note at the time that Albert looked ‘tense’ in the image, while highlighting the close bond shared by Charlene and her children.
Charlene and Albert’s marriage has made numerous headlines over the years, with a third paternity suit emerging in December 2020.
Soon afterwards Charlene famously shaved half her head in the style of a punk rocker. Months later she left for South Africa.
The allegations in December 2020 claimed 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 were already in a relationship.
The woman said she met the prince in a nightclub in Rio de Janeiro in 2004 — when Charlene and Albert were supposedly dating.
Her daughter, a 15-year-old Brazilian schoolgirl, sent a handwritten note in Portuguese to Prince Albert at the Royal Palace last September.
The royal couple, pictured on their wedding day 2011 in Monaco. The couple has been plagued with rumours of marital discord since their wedding over 10 years ago
Albert’s legal team call the allegations ‘a hoax’ and the legal team of the woman concerned declined to comment.
It was due to come to court in Milan in February but never commenced. Some believe the matter has been settled.
But the Prince has also fathered two other children outside of wedlock. Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who is now 29 and the result of Albert’s affair with an American estate agent, and Alexandre Coste, 18, whose mother is a former Togolese air hostess.
Both children were struck off Monaco’s line of succession in return for vast financial settlements.
Charlene has directly attempted to address the talk about a third possible love child.
She told Point de Vue magazine last January: ‘When my husband has problems, he tells me about it. I often tell him, ‘No matter what, I’m a thousand percent behind you. I’ll stand by you whatever you do, in good times or in bad.’