Princess Charlene of Monaco continued her return to public life yesterday when attending the F1 in Monte Carlo, alongside her husband Prince Albert in their first joint engagement without their children.
It was the first time the pair were seen in public together since French media claimed she is receiving £10million a year to appear by her husband’s side at public outings.
Photographs taken at yesterday’s occasion showed the former Olympian, 44, walking side-by-side Albert, without holding hands, while she warmly greeted drivers Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel with kisses on the cheek.
Body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL today that the mother-of-two’s smile showed ‘no genuine happiness’ and she seemingly avoided ‘forced tactile poses’ with Albert, 64.
While she used to be a regular at racing events, Charlene last attended the Grand Prix in 2019 – where she received a kiss on the cheek from Lewis Hamilton.
Charlene recently returned to Monaco following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa and was seen last month with her children and husband for the first time since November after spending time in a treatment facility for ‘exhaustion’.
The royal, 44, joined her husband Prince Albert, 64, at the F1 in Monte Carlo yesterday, for the first time since French media claimed she is being paid £10 million a year to appear beside her husband’s side at public engagements
Looking at the couple’s body language, expert Judi James told FEMAIL that Charlene’s facial expressions are ‘incongruent’, with her eyes downcast and sad and that her smile does not suggest genuine happiness
Looking at the couple’s body language, expert Judi said: ‘Without their children to provide an outlet for more tactile and affectionate behaviours, Albert and Charlene manage to produce body language signals here that are puzzling enough to do nothing to quash rumours that sadly have been surrounding their marriage.’
She added that the royal looks ‘elegant’ and ‘stunning’ in a blue tunic dress and white jeans with towering black heels but her smile does not involve facial muscle movements that might suggest genuine happiness.
In pictures taken from yesterday’s event, Charlene stands near to her husband but opts not to hold his hand and carries her bag between them, while he seems to walk in front of her.
Judi said: ‘It would be totally unfair to expect Charlene, who has clearly been suffering from ill-health, to perform any gruesome “togetherness” poses with her husband purely for the public and a small-steps approach would surely be preferable at a time when she clearly needs support and love rather than being pushed into anything forced.
‘What is complex here though is the way Albert seems to walk in front of her and the way any touch rituals seem to have been blocked by the carrying of her bag between them.’
The expert added that Charlene appears to be much more tactile with the racing drivers, kissing their cheeks to greet them or posing with an arm extended at waist level as they smile for the cameras.
She also suggested that there was little interaction between the royal couple, a move which she said could have been purposeful.
Charlene and Prince Albert pose for a picture with Patrick Dempsey at yesterday’s event in Monte Carlo
Judi added that the royal looks ‘elegant’ and ‘stunning’ at yesterday’s event but her smile does not involve facial muscle movements that might suggest genuine happiness
The expert added that Charlene appears to be much more tactile with the racing drivers in yesterday’s pictures, kissing their cheeks to greet them or posing with an arm extended at waist level as they smile for the cameras
Judi also suggested that there was little interaction between the royal couple, a move which she said could have been purposeful at the event yesterday
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, following the princess’ long absence.
Adding additional comment, Judi said: ‘Albert can be seen mirroring these poses with his arm extended at waist level around his wife but her poses seem to be predominately with the drivers.
‘This could be a deliberate decision to help avoid fuelling speculation and scrutiny, with less riding on her poses with the drivers than those with her husband.’
The expert noted that Charlene has had some tactile moments with her husband in the past: ‘There have been moments in South Africa and when she first returned to Monaco when Charlene seemed to attempt some very emphatically tactile poses with her husband, clinging to his neck and pressing her face against his.’
But she added that it is possible the royals have chosen to ‘take things slowly’ and allow the poses to ‘develop naturally’ now that Charlene is easing back into public life.
Charlene recently spoke for the first time about her long battle with ill-health, admitting: ‘The path has been long, difficult and very painful.’
Princess Charlene of Monaco stunned in an ethereal gown on Tuesday as she took her daughter Gabriella, seven, to Monte Carlo Fashion Awards
Meanwhile her husband Prince Albert, 64, took Gabriella’s twin Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco to attend the traditional Star Team charity football match
The 44-year-old spent almost a year away from the Mediterranean principality in her native South Africa, undergoing treatment for an unspecified condition.
She then booked into a clinic in Switzerland, leading to fears that she would find it hard to return to Royal life with her husband Albert.
But in a soul-searching interview in the latest edition of Monaco-Matin newspaper, the Princess said she was determined to overcome her problems.
‘My state of health is still fragile and I don’t want to go too fast,’ she said. ‘The path has been long, difficult and very painful.’
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
April 30 – Princess Charlene makes first public appearance at Monaco E-Prix
May 7 – Charlene joins Albert at Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament
May 18 – Prince Albert takes twins to Disneyland without Charlene
May 25- Charlene appears with Gabriella at fashion show while Albert attends football game with Jacques
May 28 – Charlene and Albert appear together at Monaco F1
Referring to her seven-year-old twins, Gabriella and Jacques, Charlene said: ‘When I returned to the Principality, I focused all my energy on my children, my husband and my health because they are my priority.’
Denying rumours about a possible divorce or a permanent move to Switzerland, she said: ‘I am very happy to be back home in Monaco and with my family.’
Following her absence, there have been rumours about the state of her marriage ever since.
Addressing them directly, Charlene told local reporters: ‘You want to talk about rumours of divorce, or my new home in Switzerland?’
‘I still find it regrettable that certain media peddle such rumours about my life, my relationship,’ she said.
‘Like everyone else, we are human beings, and like all human beings we have emotions, weaknesses, only our family is exposed to the media and the slightest weakness is relayed.’
There had also been claims by leading French media that Albert had signed an ‘ultra-confidential contract’ to pay his wife more than £10m a year to fulfil her Royal duties.
But Charlene instead described him as ‘my protector,’ saying: ‘We discussed these malicious articles together and he did everything to protect me and our children.’
Charlene said: ‘I’m very happy to be back home in Monaco and with my family. I received so many positive and warm messages when I was away from Monaco, and I thank them for their support.’
Earlier this week, the mother-of-two and her daughter Princess Gabriella – who is second in line to the Monégasque throne – attended the Monte Carlo Fashion Awards.
They posed in front of a flower wall at the Opera of Monte-Carlo. She later presented an award to Saudi designer Abdul Al-Romaizan on stage after he opened the fashion show.
Meanwhile her husband Albert took Gabriella’s twin Jacques, Hereditary Prince of Monaco to attend the traditional Star Team charity football match.
The father and son, who sported matching outfits, watched Prince Albert’s team and the Formula 1 drivers team, at the Louis II stadium just a few days before the Grand Prix of Monaco as part of a charity match.
Last week, Charlene was nowhere to be seen when Prince Albert took his twins to DisneyLand Paris.
While just days before Charlene looked solemn as she appeared at an official engagement with her husband for the second consecutive week.
Charlene has rarely been seen with Albert since she spent some 10 months in South Africa last year. She contracted a serious sinus infection on a charity trip, which left her hospitalised and delayed her return to Monaco.
She returned home in November, but left almost immediately for Switzerland to receive treatment for ‘exhaustion’.
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 noted 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.
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.’