Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco celebrates her 39th birthday today in the small principality. It is believed she will celebrate privately with her family and close friends.
Charlene Lynette Wittstock was born on 25 January 1978 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to Michael and Lynette Wittstock. She has two brothers: Gareth (b. 1980) and Sean (b. 1983). She spent most of her life in South Africa where she moved with her family in 1989 when she was 12-years-old.
Charlene would go on to be an accomplished swimmer winning medals in the Commonwealth Games (silver in 2002) and All-Africa Games (three gold and one silver in 1999). She had also planned to compete in the 2008 Bejing Olympic Games but did not qualify.
She would meet the then Hereditary Prince of Monaco in 2000 in Monaco at the Mare Nostrum swimming event, but they were not seen together until a year later. They were also seen together at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy.
Albert became His Serene Highness The Prince of Monaco after the passing of his father, Prince Rainer on 6 April 2005. Charlene moved in with His Serene Highness the next year, and their engagement was officially announced 23 June 2010 by the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.
They married in a civil ceremony on 1 July 2011 and a religious ceremony on 2 July. Charlene wore a custom wedding gown designed by Giorgio Armani.
The news everyone in Monaco had been waiting on was finally announced on 30 May 2014 that Princess Charlene was pregnant. It was confirmed on 9 October that she was expecting twins. On 10 December 2014, she gave birth to Princess Gabriella, Countess of Carladès and two minutes later, Prince Jacques, Marquis of Baux at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre. Due to Monaco’s succession laws under male-preference cognatic primogeniture, Jacques is first in line to the Monégasque throne instead of his older sister.
Charlene and Albert just recently returned from a private holiday in Ireland where they stayed at the beginning of the month. They also celebrated the second birthday of their twins in December.