Princess consort of Monaco
Tenure 1 July 2011 – present
Spouse Albert II, Prince of Monaco
Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès (2014-)
Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco (2014-)
Full name
Charlene Lynette
Father Michael Wittstock
Mother Lynette Wittstock (née Humberstone)
Born 25 January 1978 (1978-01-25) (age 41)
Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
Occupation Swimmer
Religion Roman Catholicism
previously Protestantism

Monegasque Princely Family

HSH The Prince
HSH The Princess

HRH The Princess of Hanover
HSH Princess Stéphanie

Charlene, Princess of Monaco (French: Charlène; born Charlene Lynette Wittstock on 25 January 1978), is a South African former Olympic swimmer, and since 2011 the wife of Albert II, Prince of Monaco.

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, Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2001. They were first seen together in 2006, and she 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.

Early LifeEdit

Background & BirthEdit

See Wittstock family

Charlene was born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the first child of Michael Wittstock, a sales manager, and his wife Lynette Humberstone, a former competitive diver and swimming coach. Charlene has two younger brothers: Gareth (1980-) and Sean (1983-).

The Wittstock family relocated to Transvaal, South Africa, in 1989, when Charlene was 11 years old.


Charlene attended Tom Newby Primary school in Benoni from 1988 to 1991.[1]

Swimming CareerEdit

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Medal record
Women's swimming
Competitor for 23x15px South Africa
All-Africa Games
Gold 1999 Johannesburg 100 m freestyle
Gold 1999 Johannesburg 100 m backstroke
Gold 1999 Johannesburg 4 x 100 m medley
Silver 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. Although ahe 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[2], having previously been out of competitive swimming for 18 months with a shoulder injury.

Special Olympics AmbassadorEdit

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".

Personal LifeEdit

Charlene met Albert II, Prince of Monaco, in 2000 at the Mare Nostrum swimming meet in Monaco. They were first seen together 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.


See Engagement of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Charlene Wittstock

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. The ring was reported to be created by Parisian jeweler Repossi.


See Wedding of Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Charlene Wittstock

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, French weekly L'Express reported that Charlene tried to leave Monaco on June 28, 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 lavish Catholic Nuptial Mass was held the next day, 2 July. She wore a Giorgio Armani Privé dress.

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 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.


On 30 May 2014, the Palace announced that Princess Charlene was pregnant. On October 9, after much speculation, Palace announced that the Princess was expecting twins. On 10 December 2014, the twins, a girl and boy, were born at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre.

Royal LifeEdit

As Monaco's first lady, Charlene presides over 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.

Charlene went to South Africa to attend the memorial service of Nelson Mandela on 12 December 2013. Her adviser is Princess Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein.


Princess Charlene is known for her elegant fashion style, patronizing designers Akris and Armani.

Titles, Styles, Honours & ArmsEdit

Titles & StylesEdit

Since her marriage, Charlene has been styled as "Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco". The previous holder was her mother-in-law, Grace Kelly.

National HonoursEdit

See also List of honours of the Monegasque Princely Family by country

Foreign HonoursEdit


External linksEdit

Monegasque royalty
Title last held by
Grace Kelly
Princess consort of Monaco
2011 – present

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