Princess Charlene of Monaco‘s father has revealed his daughter is ‘very vulnerable’ as he spoke out about her health problems while she remains in a treatment facility.
Mike Wittstock, 75, said that although Charlene, 43, is ‘vulnerable’ because she has had ‘so many medical interventions’, he is sure that she will ‘come back much stronger’.
Charlene, the wife of Prince Albert, remains in treatment for ‘physical and mental exhaustion’ following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa, where it was claimed she contracted a sinus infection.
Mr Wittstock, who lives in the Gauteng province of South Africa, said he was not able to see his daughter during her extended period in the country because he was concerned about the risks of Covid-19.
He told News24: ‘I didn’t want to infect her either because she had so many medical interventions, she is very vulnerable.’
Mike Wittstock, 75, said that although Charlene (both pictured in 2011), 43, is ‘vulnerable’ because she has had ‘medical interventions’, he is sure she will ‘come back much stronger’
Mr Wittstock said speaks to her children, six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella, regularly as they remain in Monaco with their father Albert while Charlene (all pictures) is in treatment
But he revealed they spoke on the phone regularly and said he has an ‘excellent’ relationship with Charlene.
Mr Wittstock added that he also speaks to her children, six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella, regularly as they remain in Monaco with their father while Charlene continues treatment.
Mr Wittstock, who encouraged his daughter as she trained to become an Olympic swimmer for South Africa, said he remains confident that Charlene will come back ‘stronger’ than ever.
He added: ‘Knowing how she trained, I know that she is strong and that she will make it and come back much stronger.’
Charlene returned to her husband and twins in Monaco last month after a 10-month absence in her native South Africa, while she reportedly recovered from surgery following a sinus infection she contracted during a solo charity trip.
Within days of returning, Charlene was admitted to a treatment facility in an undisclosed location, with her husband Albert, 63, saying she is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’.
Last month, Albert’s wife Charlene (both pictured) was admitted to a treatment facility in an undisclosed location after returning to Monaco following a 10-month absence in South Africa
Albert (pictured on wedding day in 2011) said Charlene is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’, but a friend claimed her health complications are being ‘downplayed’
In the days after her arrival, Charlene’s sister-in-law Chantell Wittstock, told MailOnline the princess may not be returning to the palace and did not plan to immediately return to public engagements, although she later retracted the remark.
But a source slammed the ‘portrayal of [Charlene’s] mental health issues’, claiming that the extent of her health complications are being ‘downplayed’ and the mother-of-two has lost ‘half of her body weight’.
Speaking to Page Six, a source described as the royal’s friend said: ‘It is unfair that she is being portrayed as having some kind of mental or emotional issue.
‘We don’t know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa.’
They explained the royal had a severe ear, nose and throat infection, which resulted in ‘severe sinus and swallowing issues stemming back from an earlier surgery’.
They added: ‘She has not been able to eat solid food in over six months because of all the surgeries she has since gone through. She has only been able to take in liquids through a straw, so she lost nearly half her body weight.’
Last week, Albert went to Monaco’s Christmas village in his third public appearance with Jacques and Gabriella since Charlene was admitted to the treatment facility, which several sources claimed is in Switzerland.
Albert, 63, marked the first weekend of December by taking twins Jacques and Gabriella to inaugurate the annual Christmas village, which comes complete with entertainment, festive decorations and fairground rides.
He was joined by his sister Caroline, 64, her son Pierre Casiraghi, 34, and his wife Beatrice Borromeo, 36, who all appeared to be in good spirits.
Prince Albert took his six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella to Monaco’s annual Christmas village. They were joined by his sister Princess Caroline, her son Pierre and his wife Beatrice
Albert’s wife Charlene, 43, was absent as she remains in treatment for physical and mental exhaustion. Pictured: Albert with his children Jacques and Gabriella, and his sister Caroline
Photographs showed Albert, who sported a face mask throughout the visit along with the rest of his family, leaning down to speak to the twins
It is Albert’s third public appearance with Jacques and Gabriella (all pictured) since Charlene was admitted to a treatment facility
Photographs showed Albert, who sported a face mask throughout the visit along with the rest of his family, leaning down to speak to the twins, while other snaps showed him picking up Jacques so he could pet a giant plastic bear.
The family seemed to be having a fun-filled trip as Jacques and Gabriella were also pictured riding on a bauble-themed fairground ride and looking at the decorations.
A body language expert recently claimed Albert has ensured his children feel supported and protected at royal engagements in the absence of their mother Charlene.
‘It wouldn’t be unusual for a father to step up to the plate with his children while a mother is unwell or absent like this but for a royal male of Alberts generation this tactile and very focused behaviour might not have been a given,’ body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL.
Charlene’s time away followed fresh allegations last December 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, a former Olympic swimmer for South Africa, were already in a relationship.
Albert said the family reunion in Monaco, which came after she returned from South Africa, went ‘pretty well’ in the first few hours, but it then became ‘pretty evident’ that Charlene was ‘unwell’.
He said the former Olympian ‘realised she needed help’, adding: ‘She was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life.’
The twins (pictured) sported face masks throughout their visit to the Christmas village, where they got the chance to enjoy fairground rides
Pictures showed Albert picking up six-year-old Jacques so he could pet a giant plastic bear at the annual Christmas village celebrations
Albert and his children were joined by his sister Caroline, 64, her son Pierre Casiraghi, 34, and his wife Beatrice Borromeo, 36, who all appeared to be in good spirits at Friday’s event
The family seemed to be having a fun-filled trip as Jacques and Gabriella were also pictured riding on a bauble-themed fairground ride and looking at the decorations
Albert explained: ‘I’m probably going to say this several times, but this has nothing to do with our relationship. I want to make that very clear.
‘These are not problems within our relationship; not with the relationship between a husband and wife. It’s of a different nature.’
He went on to tell the magazine her current state was a result of ‘several factors which are private’.
Albert continued: ‘She hadn’t slept well in a number of days and she wasn’t eating at all well. She has lost a lot of weight, which made her vulnerable to other potential ailments. A cold or the flu or God help us, COVID.’
He said it is ‘not cancer-related or personal relationship issue.’
He later confirmed Charlene has been admitted to a treatment facility for undisclosed medical issues, as she works through a period of ill health. The location of the facility was not confirmed, though several sources claim it is in Switzerland.
The prince also said rumours around the state of his marriage ‘don’t bother him too much’.
Princess Charlene met Prince Albert in 2000 during a swimming competition in Monaco and the pair married in 2011, before welcoming twins Gabriella and Jacques in 2014.
Born in Rhodesia, a previously unrecognised state in Southern Africa colonised by the British, she relocated to South Africa aged 11.
Princess Gabriella got into the festive spirit at Monaco’s Christmas village as she was seen wearing reindeer antlers before riding a festive fairground ride
Albert was a hands-on doting father at the event as he took his children round to look at all the decorations, while he was also joined by his nephew Pierre Casiraghi
Jacques and Gabriella made the most of the Christmas village on the first weekend of December as they rode in a bauble-themed fairground ride
Princess Gabriella (left) and Prince Jacques (right) with their father Prince Albert hold signs saying ‘We love you Mommy’ during celebrations marking Monaco’s National Day
She had a successful swimming career and went on to win three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1999 All Africa Games in Johannesburg, as well as representing South Africa at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games and winning a silver medal in the 4 × 100 m medley relay in the latter competition.
The pair’s marriage has made numerous headlines over the years, with a third paternity suit emerging last year.
A Brazilian woman who cannot be named for legal reasons said her 15-year-old daughter was the result of an affair with Albert in 2004.
Albert and Charlene were not yet engaged at this time, but they had known each over for four years after meeting at a swimming gala in Monaco in 2000.
Lawyers for the claimant were scheduled to demand a DNA test from Albert at a court in Milan earlier this year, while his own counsel branded the action ‘a hoax’.
Neither party is now commenting, suggesting some kind of generous settlement may have been reached, as happened with Albert’s earlier love children.
They are Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who is now 29 and the result of Albert’s affair with an American estate agent, and Alexandre Coste, 17, whose mother is a former Togolese air hostess.
Both children were struck off Monaco’s line of succession in return for vast financial settlements.