'Convalescing' Charlene to miss Monaco's national day: palace

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Charlene, seen here in 2019, returned to Monaco last week after several months away in her native South Africa for medical treatment (AFP/VALERY HACHE)
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Princess Charlene of Monaco, the wife of Prince Albert II, will miss the principality's national holiday this week due to severe fatigue, the palace said Tuesday, in a statement fuelling new concern over her health.

Charlene, 43, only returned to Monaco last week after several months away in her native South Africa where she underwent surgery during a prolonged absence that sparked renewed speculation about the couple's marriage.

The statement from the palace said that "in order to protect the comfort and privacy essential to her recovery, the Princess' location will remain strictly confidential."

"Due to this situation, the Princely Couple regrets to announce that Princess Charlene will be unable to attend this year's National Day celebrations," it added.

The statement said that the couple had decided a "period of calm and rest is necessary to ensure the very best recovery for Princess Charlene's health".

"Having battled with poor health over the past few months the Princess is currently convalescing and will continue to do so for the coming weeks, allowing her time to recover from a state of profound general fatigue," it added.

In her absence, Albert on Tuesday attended an event at the headquarters of the Monaco Red Cross which Charlene had also been scheduled to attend.

The former South African Olympic swimmer married Prince Albert in 2011, after first appearing with him at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Initially hailed as a fairy-tale match for a prince long described as the world's most eligible bachelor, rumours shadowed the couple ever since they married.

There were claims, denied by the royal palace, that Charlene had tried to escape on the eve of the wedding.

Albert, 63, is the son of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly, an American film star who died in a car accident in 1982.

The statement said that more information on the princess's health would be published ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Charlene needed surgery in South Africa in September after collapsing as the result of complications stemming from an ear, nose and throat infection.

In her most recent Instagram post one week ago, Charlene shared a picture of her with her arm round Albert and their twins Gabriella and Jacques. "Happy day today. Thank you all for keeping me strong!!" she wrote.

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