Princess Charlene of Monaco debuted a dramatic new shaved hairstyle on her recent conservation trip to South Africa.
The 43-year-old wife of Prince Albert showcased the ‘French crop’ hairdo – featuring a longer strip on top of the head and dramatically shaved back and sides – in snaps shared on her charity’s Instagram page.
She has not been pictured publicly with her husband since late January and she’s believed to have travelled to South Africa in mid-March.
However, she did post a snap of the family together at Easter on April 2. It’s unknown whether they joined her in South Africa or whether she returned to Monaco and flew back out again in May for her rhino conservation trip.
The royal, who is mother to six-year-old twins Jacques and Gabriella, first stepped out with a dramatic half-shaved head in December 2020 but has since gone even shorter and bolder with the cut.
It is understood that Charlene remains in South Africa after being struck down with an ENT (Ear, nose and throat) infection ‘that does not allow her to travel’.
It’s been a tumultous start to the year for the royal, after news emerged that her husband is facing a paternity suit over a love child born in the early years of their relationship.
Bold: Princess Charlene of Monaco debuted a dramatic new shaved hairstyle on her recent conservation trip to South Africa. The photos were shared on her charity’s Instagram account
Passionate: Charlene, who was raised in South Africa and represented the country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, travelled to Thanda Safari in KwaZulu-Natal to learn more about being done by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa to help save rhinos
‘Emotional’: The princess took part in conservation operations including rhino monitoring and tracking, deployment with the Anti-Poaching Unit, educational wildlife photography sessions, and a White Rhino dart and dehorning exercise (pictured)
When did Princess Charlene travel to South Africa and when was she last seen with her husband?
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
May 10 – Albert attends Monaco Gala Awards in Monaco
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
The palace were forced to comment on the princess’s whereabouts ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, which she had been due to attend in Albert.
Instead the prince attended with their children.
It appears Charlene has still yet to return from South Africa as Albert stepped out without his wife on Monday for a visit to the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco with their twins.
The 62-year-old prince, who already supports two illegitimate children, is alleged to have had a relationship with a Brazilian woman which resulted in a daughter in 2005.
The claim, which his lawyers dismissed as a ‘hoax’, is particularly painful as he was dating Charlene at the time, having met the former Olympic swimmer in 2000.
The 34-year-old claimant – who cannot be named for legal reasons – says she had a passionate affair with Albert, leading to the birth of their daughter – whose name is also classified – on July 4, 2005.
Albert received a handwritten letter from the child, who is now 15, in September last year reading: ‘I don’t understand why I grew up without a father, and now that I have found you, you don’t want to see me.’
Legal papers were also filed, as lawyers for the claimant called on Albert to undergo a DNA test – just as he did before finally being identified as the father of two illegitimate children born in the 1990s and early 2000s.
In January, Charlene spoke publicly for the first time since the allegations, telling Point de Vue: ‘When my husband has problems, he tells me about it. I often tell him, “No matter what, no matter what, I’m a thousand percent behind you. I’ll stand by you whatever you do, in good times or in bad.”
The mother-of-two went on to say she also often tells her husband she will ‘protect him’ and will ‘always be by his side.’
Charlene, who was raised in South Africa and represented the country at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, travelled to Thanda Safari in KwaZulu-Natal to learn more about being done by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa to help save rhinos from poachers.
The princess took part in conservation operations including rhino monitoring and tracking, deployment with the Anti-Poaching Unit, educational wildlife photography sessions, and a White Rhino dart and dehorning exercise.
Photos of Princess Charlene with the animals and rangers were shared on Instagram.
‘This entire experience moved me,’ Charlene said.
‘I connected with amazing people and spoke to the local trackers and anti-poaching units who all have an incredible passion for protecting our rhinos and environment.’
Princess Charlene of Monaco wears a black lace veil as she attends the memorial service for Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini at the KwaKhethomthandayo Royal Palace in Nongoma, South Africa, on 18 March
Last public outing together: Charlene and Albert were last pictured together in public in January at the Sainte Devote Ceremony in Monaco. On April 2, she shared a photograph alongside her husband Prince Albert and their children Jacques and Gabriella to mark Easter, although it is not clear where it was taken
Flying solo! Her husband Prince Albert has continued with public duties with their children, taking them to the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco on Monday (pictured)
Prince Albert stepped out at the Monaco Gran Prix on 22 May in Monte Carlo without his wife, Charlene, after an ‘infection’ prevented her from returning from South Africa
New look: Charlene first stepped out with a dramatic half-shaved head in December 2020 (left) but has since gone even shorter and bolder with the cut, as seen right
She continued: ‘It filled me with immense joy to reconnect with the African people and spirit again. I was fascinated to learn more about the area’s history and culture.
‘How fitting to rediscover my love for Africa at a place aptly named Thanda, meaning “love” in the Zulu language!’
The photos of Charlene’s expedition drew comments from confused fans who questioned why the rhinos had to be dehorned.
The royal explained: ‘The experience was very emotional.
Personal impact: Charlene said of the dehorning process (pictured): ‘The experience was very emotional. I experienced first-hand the anguish and distress of the rhinos when we have to dehorn them, so poachers don’t slaughter them [for the ivory]’
Making a difference: The princess wanted to learn more about the work to save rhinos
In the field: Photos of Princess Charlene with the animals and rangers were shared online
Majestic: One of the rhinos being tracked by Charlene and the rangers in South Africa
Taking a stand: Charlene took part in a number of operations to help protect the rhinos
‘I experienced first-hand the anguish and distress of the rhinos when we have to dehorn them, so poachers don’t slaughter them [for the ivory].
‘I want to do all that I can to protect the rhinos, including raising funds to protect them and educating my children and others about rhino conservation.’
The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa has partnered with the Thanda Foundation Trust to help protect the rhinos.