If Charlene of Monaco is known today as one of the figures of the principality of Monaco, she is also known for her sports career. Daughter of Michael Kenneth Wittstock, a former rugby player, and Lynette Humberstone (a former professional swimmer turned swimming teacher), the mother of Jacques and Gabriella has always had a foot in the sports world. It is therefore not surprising that Charlène Wittstock – her name – naturally took a passion for swimming.
Indeed, in 1993 – when she was only 16 years old – Albert of Monaco’s wife decided to leave the school benches in order to devote herself fully to her sports career. A choice that really changed her life because in the following years, the mother of the family was not only able to improve but also had the opportunity to participate in renowned competitions. Two years later, in 1995, she won the South African Junior Championships. Then, she was able to prove herself at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games where she was part of the South African women’s 4 × 100 meter backstroke team. In the same year she also won the gold medal in the 200 meter backstroke at the Monaco Mare Nostrum International Swimming Meeting. Great achievements (among many others) that really allowed her to make a name for herself!
Charlene of Monaco: her meeting with Albert is linked to sport
Throughout her sporting career, Charlène Wittstock has really blossomed professionally. However, everything leads us to believe that it is also through swimming that the former sportswoman had the opportunity to meet Prince Albert. Indeed, it was during a swimming tournament in Monaco, in 2000, that the swimmer met her future husband, then hereditary prince. After this meeting, the two lovers made sure to keep in touch. But it was not until years later, in 2006 during the Olympic Games in Turin, that the two finally made their relationship official.
Photo credits: Art Direction Gala / ITAR TASS – Bestimage