Princess Charlene of Monaco Biography
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Charlene Wittstock, Charlene Lynette Wittstock, Princess Charlene
Born Country: Zimbabwe
Born in: Bulawayo
Famous as: Princess consort of Monaco
Height: 1.77 m
Spouse/Ex-: Albert II, Prince of Monaco
father: Michael Kenneth Wittstock
mother: Lynette Humberstone Wittstock
siblings: Gareth Wittstock
children: Countess of Carladès, Hereditary Prince of Monaco, Jacques, Princess Gabriella
Princess Charlene is a former South African Olympic swimmer who, after her marriage to Prince Albert II, became the Princess of Monaco. When Charlene was a child, her family moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa where she received her early education and also developed a keen interest in swimming. She began her competitive swimming training under the supervision of her mother, who was a swimming coach, and went on to represent South Africa in 2000 Sydney Olympics. She first met Prince Albert of Monaco in an international swimming event held in Monaco and after several years, the couple was first spotted in public together at an international sporting event. For years Albert had enjoyed a playboy lifestyle which raised the question of whether he would ever marry, but her appearance on the scene raised hopes of a wedlock. In the following years, she retired from competitive swimming and eventually the couple put an end to the speculation, announcing their engagement. Their two-day royal wedding ceremony took place in the Monaco palace and she was styled as the Princess Consort of Monaco. Three years later, the couple was blessed with twins and people witnessed the next heir to the throne of Monaco. As the gorgeous Princess of Monaco, she remains actively involved in charitable causes, a sound symbol of elegance and compassion.
- She was born as Charlene Lynette Wittstock, on January 25, 1978 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to Michael Kenneth Wittstock, a sales manager, and his wife, Lynette Wittstock, a former competitive diver and swimming instructor. She has two younger brothers, Gareth and Sean.
- Her family belonged to German, Irish and English descent by way of South Africa and Rhodesia. After living in Zimbabwe for several years, her family relocated to South Africa in 1989.
- She received her early education from the Tom Newby Primary school in Benoni, near Johannesburg. She developed a passion for swimming at a very early age and at the age of 18, she became the winner of the South African Swimming Championship.
- During her career as a swimmer, she participated in Sydney Olympics and many other championships around the world. She won three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1999 All-Africa Games in Johannesburg.
- For a brief period, she left her Durban-based team, The Seagulls, to join the ‘Tuks Swimming Club’ of the University of Pretoria. In January 2005, she decided to leave Pretoria and returned to Durban.
- Over the years, she became the winner of several national titles. She planned to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics, but failed to qualify for it and eventually retired from competitive swimming in 2007.
- Since 2010, she has been associated with the Nelson Mandela Foundation. She also regularly participates in fund raising events for charities such as ‘Amfar’.
- On 27 May 2011, the Special Olympics announced that Charlene had become global ambassador for the movement and was given the charge of promoting respect and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities to a worldwide audience.
- Since her marriage in 2011, she has been styled as ‘Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco’. As Monaco's Princess Consort, she attends the principality's national day celebrations, the Monaco Grand Prix, the Rose Ball, and the annual Red Cross Ball.
- On July 8, 2011, she was appointed as a co-patron of the ‘Giving Organization Trust’, a group of South African charities that deals with issues ranging from AIDS among underprivileged children to the protection of the environment.
- Since 2012, she has been the patron of AS Rugby Monaco. She also serves as the Honorary President of the MONAA association.
- In 2012, she was awarded the Dame Grand Cross of the ‘Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland’. The same year, she also received the Dame Grand Cross of the ‘Order of Saint-Charles’ of Monaco.
- In 2014, she was conferred the Dame Grand Cross of the ‘Order of the Star of Italy’.
- In 2000, she met Albert II, Prince of Monaco, at the Mare Nostrum swimming meet in Monaco. After six years, the couple was first seen together at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics, and then at several other events and ceremonies.
- On 23 June 2010, the palace announced the engagement of Charlene and Albert. Although it was not a requirement of the Constitution of Monaco, she converted from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism before the wedding.
- A year later, the couple got married in a civil ceremony on 1 July 2011 at the Throne Room in the Palace of Monaco. The religious marriage ceremony was conducted the following day in the Main Courtyard of the Palace of Monaco. The wedding dinner also took place on July 2, 2011.
- On 30 May 2014, it was announced that she was pregnant. After much speculation it was confirmed that the couple were expecting twins by the end of the year. On December 10, 2014, she gave birth to the children--daughter Gabriella Thérèse Marie, born first followed by son, the current heredity prince of Monaco, Jacques Honoré Rainier.
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