The ruler of Monaco opened up to People this week about his relationship with Charlene, who has been out of the country since May for what was supposed to be a short trip to her native South Africa.
Albert told the outlet that his wife “didn’t live Monaco in a huff” and that she also “didn’t go into exile.”
“She didn’t leave because she was mad at me or at anybody else,” he said. “She was going down to South Africa to reassess her foundation’s work down there and to take a little time off with her brother and some friends.”
Charlene’s trip to South Africa, which Albert said should have lasted no more than 10 days, was extended after the princess began experiencing health complications related to a sinus infection. She has since had multiple surgeries.
She was rushed to the hospital again last week, and palace officials later said she was in “reassuring” condition.
The prince told People that he didn’t talk about the state of the marriage earlier because he thought “it would just probably go [away].”
“We’re an easy target, easily hit, because we’re in the public eye a lot,” Albert said.
Charlene’s extended stay in South Africa meant she was apart from Albert on the couple’s 10th wedding anniversary, resulting in rampant speculation about their relationship — which has been under a microscope for many years.
The princess, a former Olympic swimmer, openly wept at their wedding in 2011. She and her husband also stayed in separate hotels during their honeymoon, which a Monaco palace official said at the time was due to Albert having important meetings with the International Olympic Committee at his hotel.
Albert visited Charlene in August with the couple’s children, twins Jacques and Gabriella, who have remained in Monaco. During the visit, the family posed for photos later posted on Instagram.
“I am so thrilled to have my family back with me,” Charlene wrote in the caption of a photo of the family.
Subscribe to HuffPost’s Watching the Royals newsletter for all things Windsor (and beyond).