Princess Charlene of Monaco: Here is what we know about the former Olympic swimming champion. Image via Instagram (@Palais Princier de Monaco) and Pinterest (@popsynette)

Princess Charlene of Monaco: From SA swimmer to Prince’s wife

From South African Olympic swimmer to Princess of Monaco. Here’s what we know about Zimbabwean-born Princess Charlene.


Princess Charlene of Monaco: Here is what we know about the former Olympic swimming champion. Image via Instagram (@Palais Princier de Monaco) and Pinterest (@popsynette)

Princess Charlene née Charlene Lynette Wittstock is the wife of Prince Albert II of Monaco. Prior to becoming a Princess, Charlene was a swimming champion who participated in various swimming competitions like the Swimming World Cup, the Manchester Commonwealth and the Olympic games just to name a few.

In the year 2000 Charlene went to Monaco to compete in the Marenostrum; an international swimming meeting, where she not only won gold in the 200-metre backstroke, but this was where she met her future husband Prince Albert II of Monaco.

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Charlene Lynette Wittstock was born on 25 January 1978 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. When Charlene was 12 years old her father Michael Wittstock; a sales manager, mother Lynnette Wittstock; a swimming instructor and two brothers emigrated to South Africa.

At a very young age Charlene developed a passion for swimming. At 18 years old she won the South African Championships in the backstroke competition. In 2000 she entered the Olympic Games in Sydney, with her team coming in fifth place.

Since starting her career Charlene participated in plethora of competitions winning a combination of gold and silver medals.

Although the professional swimmer qualified to swim for the South African team at the 2008 Beijing Games, in 2007 she made the decision to end her illustrious and competitive career.

Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco with their two children. Image via Instagram (@Palais Princier de Monaco)

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In the same year of her retirement rumours about a royal romance began to spread when Charlene moved from South Africa to an apartment in Monaco. These rumours intensified when she was spotted participating in charitable causes and started learning French and Monegasque.

 In June 2010 Charlene and Prince Albert II put an end to all speculation and announced their engagement.

One year later in July 2011, Charlene and Prince Albert’s wedding would be the first wedding since Prince Rainier III, married former American actress Grace Kelly in 1956.

Charlene and Prince Albert’s wedding was a two-day wedding, the first ceremony was a civil ceremony held on the 1 July 2011 in Throne Room at the Palace of Monaco. The following day a religious ceremony took place in the Cour d’Honneur of the Palace of Monaco.

Charlene now bears the title HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco along with all the historical titles vested to her husband Prince Albert II, in the feminine.

On 10 December 2014, the royal couple welcomed twins Jacques Honoré Rainier and Gabriella Thérèse Marie.

Despite multiple rumours of a turbulent marriage the royal couple have been married for 12 years to date.

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