Prince Albert felt 'sorry,' for whoever he would marry, expert claims

Prince Albert of Monaco was fearful ‘low-key’ Charlene wouldn’t cope with the ‘fish bowl’ of public life and comparisons to his mother Grace Kelly, royal correspondent claims – as princess remains in South Africa

  • Albert’s friend said he was ‘fearful’ Charlene wouldn’t cope with ‘fish bowl’
  • Joel Stratte-McClure revealed she faced pressure from the start in documentary
  • Comes after Charlene revealed in an interview she faced a ‘trying time’ recently
  • She spent her 10th anniversary in South Africa, away from her husband Albert
  • Spokesperson said she is undergoing multiple, complicated procedures for a severe ear, nose, and throat infection she contracted in May in South Africa   
  • Charlene has not been pictured publicly with her husband since late January 
  • Comes after Prince Albert became embroiled in a high-profile paternity scandal 

A royal correspondent has claimed Prince Albert was ‘fearful’ his ‘low-key’ bride Charlene wouldn’t cope with the Monaco ‘fish bowl’ in a new documentary released days after the couple spent their 10th anniversary apart.

Princess Charlene and Albert, who share six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella, spent their anniversary thousands of miles apart. The Princess remains in South Africa where she is undergoing ‘multiple, complicated’ procedures after contracting an ear, nose and throat infection in May, while on a solo visit to the country.   

Speaking in The Curse of Grace Kelly’s Children, airing at 9pm on Saturday on Channel 5, Joel Stratte-McClure, who covered Monaco for People and knew Prince Albert, has said his wife faced pressure from the start. 

Joel revealed: ‘Albert has told me that he felt sorry for anybody who would become the princess of Monaco, due to the fish bowl effect and the obligations that come with that role.’

Charlene, 43, who hasn’t been seen in Monaco since January, recently said she had faced a ‘trying time’ in the past few months.   

An old friend of Prince Albert has said he was ‘fearful’ his ‘low-key’ bride Charlene wouldn’t cope with the Monaco ‘fish bowl’ in a new documentary released days after the couple spent their 10th anniversary apart (Pictured: Albert, now 63, with his wife of 10 years Princess Charlene, 43, on their wedding day on July 1 2011)

After the death of his mother when he was just 23, Albert did not seem in a rush to find a partner, and his sister Caroline became the Principality’s de-facto First Lady.  

While he was rumoured to be dating several women, including Brooke Shields and supermodel Claudia Schiffer, the young Prince struggled to settle down with anyone.  

Albert met Charlene in 2000 at a swimming competition in Monte Carlo and the pair bonded over their shared love of sports. 

The Monaco prince waited ten more years to propose to Charlene after asking her father for her hand. 

It comes days after Princess Charlene said she ‘misses Prince Albert dearly’ after spending their 10th anniversary apart as she remains in South Africa

‘I don’t know if at the time he immediately knew that, “this is the woman that I want”,’ said Street-McClure, who worked as Monaco Correspondent from 1984 to 2004. 

‘But he obviously waited a long time before he chose someone, and was sure after a number of years that she was the one. I think in retrospect, it was his time table.’

Meanwhile royal expert Phil Dampier said: ‘I think Albert was worried about the inevitable comparisons to Grace Kelly.

‘He was concerned that Charlene might not be able to cope with and forever being compared to them and put on that pedestal, it was quite a big decision to make. ‘

Meanwhile the experts said Albert was concerned his bride would inevitably be compared to Grace Kelly  (Albert, pictured with his mother Grace of Monaco in July 1980, two years before her death)

Royal commentator Angela Levin reflected on Albert’s decades as a single man, saying: ‘As long as his sister was stepping up to be first lady he didn’t have to bother.’ 

The documentary comes as Princess Charlene called Albert her ‘rock and strength’ in a recent interview.

She told Channel24: ‘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. Without his love and support I would not have been able to get through this painful time.’  

Last week, Princess Charlene shared the two-minute long video, titled ‘Chapter 1: A New Princess for Monaco’, on her official account. 

Charlene and Albert, who share six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella, spent their anniversary thousands of miles apart (pictured, Albert, Jacques and Gabriella last month in Monaco 

The royal shared this photo of her husband Albert, her twins, her brother and nieces and nephews on safari in South Africa last month. It is thought Albert will travel to South Africa with their children soon so they can see their mother

Set to stirring classical music, the video montage offers a behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary time, effort and cost that went into staging the couple’s civil wedding on July 1, 2011.

Princess Charlene’s life in the Monaco royal family 

1987 – Bea Fiedler, a German topless model, claims her son Daniel was the prince’s son. 

1992 – An American national files a paternity lawsuit against the Prince, claiming that he was the father of her daughter, Jazmin Grace.

2000 – Princess Charlene meets Prince Albert at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo

2005 – In May, a former flight attendant claims that her youngest son, whom she named Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, was Prince Albert’s child. She states that his parentage had been proven by DNA tests requested by the Monegasque government. 

On 6 July, a few days before he was enthroned on 12 July, the Prince officially confirms via his lawyer Lacoste that Alexandre was his biological son.

2006 – After a DNA test confirmed the child’s parentage, Albert admitted, via statement from his lawyer, that he is Jazmin Grace’s father. 

2010 – Princess Charlene and Prince Albert announce their engagement  

2011 – Princess Charlene was said to have bolted two days before the royal wedding after hearing Prince Albert had a third love child during their relationship.

It was alleged that Charlene tried to flee home to South Africa three times before her ‘arranged marriage’, at one point taking refuge inside her country’s embassy in Paris. 

Monaco officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the Prince and his reluctant bride that she provide him with a legitimate heir.  

After that she would be free to leave of her own free will. 

During the wedding, Charlene was in floods of tears, while her husband looked on impassively. 

Later in the year, Princess Charlene confessed she felt ‘very lonely’ in Monaco

2012 – Princess Charlene was reported to be ‘depressed’ at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir.

2014 – Pregnancy was announced in May.

In December Charlene gave birth to twins Princess Gabriella and heir to the throne Prince Jacques. 

2017 – Princess Charlene visits Africa, tells media: ‘I am African and this is my heritage. It will always be. It’s in my heart and in my veins.’

2019 – In a rare interview, Princess Charlene confessed it is ‘sometimes hard to smile’ and said the year had been ‘very painful’

In another interview, she said she found motherhood ‘exhausting’

2020 – Charlene debuts a shocking half-shaved hairstyle.

It is announced Prince Albert of Monaco will appear in court in the new year to fight explosive claims he fathered a third love child with a secret girlfriend before marrying his now wife Princess Charlene. 

2021 – January 27 – Charlene is pictured with Albert for the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco. It is the last time she has been seen in Monaco this year. 

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 and June – Albert, Jacques and Gabriella attend several events in Monaco without Charlene, while she shares snaps from her trip 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 

July 7 – Charlene says the last few months have been ‘trying’ and says she misses her husband and children 

 A religious ceremony was held the following day and a two-day national holiday was declared to mark the occasion. 

Clips show Charlene and Albert exchanging vows in front of close family and friends in the Throne Room of the Prince’s Palace, and sharing a kiss on the palace balcony to the delight of a cheering crowd. The couple also appeared on stage together at a celebratory concert for the public. 

The mother-of-two hasn’t been seen in Monaco since January, but her husband and children visited her in South Africa last month. 

In a statement last month, Charlene explained she would not return to her family in time for the anniversary, saying: ‘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.

‘However, Albert and I had no choice but to follow the medical team’s instructions even though it is extremely difficult. He has been the most incredible support to me. 

‘My daily conversations with Albert and my children help immensely to keep my spirits up, but I miss being with them.

‘It was special to have my family visit me in South Africa, and it was truly wonderful seeing them. I can’t wait to be reunited with them.’

Princess Charlene came to South Africa to do conservation and anti-poaching work, earlier this year. 

Her foundation says she was driving the causes close to her heart, pouring herself into her Foundation work in South Africa when she fell ill. 

Before contracting the infection and undergoing the procedures, Princess Charlene worked with various ambassadors and partners to raise awareness and funds for the Foundation’s initiatives.

Prince Albert and their children will visit Princess Charlene in South Africa again soon to be with her and support her, a spokesperson said. 

Former Olympian Charlene, who debuted a radical new hairstyle while on the trip, had originally been due to return to Monaco in time for the Grand Prix in May, where she was guest of honour. Months later and she is still not home. 

Charlene and Albert’s marriage has been plagued with rumours from the start.

The couple met at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo in 2000, announced their engagement in 2010.

Former Olympic swimmer Charlene reportedly tried to flee Monaco for her native South Africa on three separate occasions before the royal wedding after discovering Albert had fathered a love child – his third – while they were together.  

Monaco officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the Prince and his reluctant bride, saying she could leave once she had provided him with a legitimate heir. 

One source said at the time: ‘Charlene will provide an heir, then if things don’t go well, she will receive a generous divorce settlement once she’s served a decent amount of time.’ 

Charlene was seen in floods of tears on her wedding day in 2011.  

Just one year after their wedding, it was reported that Charlene was ‘depressed’ at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir. 

Her pregnancy was announced in May 2014, and in December that year she gave birth to twins Princess Gabriella and heir to the throne Prince Jacques.  

In the almost 10 years since, Charlene, who shares six-year-old twins with Albert, has rarely spoken publicly of her experience. 

In 2017, the Princess made an emotional return to Africa, where she spoke about how much the continent means to her.

‘I am African and this is my heritage. It will always be. It’s in my heart and in my veins,’ she told Eyewitness News.

Last year she admitted life was ‘very painful’, saying: ‘I have the privilege of having this life, but I miss my family and my friends in South Africa and I’m often sad because I cannot always be there for them.’

It’s been a tumultuous start to the year for the royal, after news emerged that her husband is facing a paternity suit over a love child born in the early years of their relationship. 

The 63-year-old prince, who already supports two illegitimate children, is alleged to have had a relationship with a Brazilian woman which resulted in a daughter in 2005.

The claim, which his lawyers dismissed as a ‘hoax’, is particularly painful as he was dating Charlene at the time, having met the former Olympic swimmer in 2000.

Princess Charlene of Monaco shared a slickly-produced video documenting her royal wedding to Prince Albert on Instagram last week, a day after the couple spent their 10th anniversary apart. Pictured, the couple waving to a waiting crowd after their civil ceremony on July 1, 2011 

The 34-year-old claimant – who cannot be named for legal reasons – says she had a passionate affair with Albert, leading to the birth of their daughter – whose name is also classified – on July 4, 2005.   

Albert received a handwritten letter from the child, who is now 15, in September last year reading: ‘I don’t understand why I grew up without a father, and now that I have found you, you don’t want to see me.’ 

Legal papers were also filed, as lawyers for the claimant called on Albert to undergo a DNA test – just as he did before finally being identified as the father of two illegitimate children born in the 1990s and early 2000s.

In January, Charlene spoke publicly for the first time since the allegations, telling Point de Vue: ‘When my husband has problems, he tells me about it. 

Last public outing together: Charlene and Albert were last pictured together at an official event together in January (left) at the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco. On April 2, she shared a photograph alongside her husband Prince Albert and their children Jacques and Gabriella to mark Easter, although it is not clear where it was taken

‘I often tell him, “No matter what, no matter what, I’m a thousand percent behind you. I’ll stand by you whatever you do, in good times or in bad.” 

The mother-of-two went on to say she also often tells her husband she will ‘protect him’ and will ‘always be by his side.’

Charlene, who was raised in South Africa and represented the country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, travelled to Thanda Safari in KwaZulu-Natal to learn more about being done by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa to help save rhinos from poachers. 

The princess took part in conservation operations including rhino monitoring and tracking, deployment with the Anti-Poaching Unit, educational wildlife photography sessions, and a White Rhino dart and dehorning exercise.

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