Princess Charlene Returns to South Africa to Support Charity Swimming Events

Princess Charlene returned to South Africa this weekend.

The Princess of Monaco, 45, returned to her homeland for a series of charity events organized by her water safety foundation.

The trip marked the triumphant return of Princess Charlene, two years after she suffered life-threatening health problems and was forced to stay in the area for six months in 2021.

The highlight of the three-day visit to the Sun City resort was her participation in a “Learn to Swim” clinic for more than a hundred local schoolchildren, organized by the Princess Charlene Foundation of South Africa in partnership with Lifesaving South Africa.

The former Olympic swimmer, who has been organizing similar clinics for a decade, spoke to the children who received certificates of completion of the course, before taking photos with them.

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Princess Charlene.

Courtesy of the Duke’s Palace / Photo by Eric Mathon

On Saturday, Princess Charlene attended the 5th edition of her Princess’ Water Bike Challenge, marking the first time the team endurance race has ventured outside the Mediterranean.

Although Charlene has personally competed in past runnings of the endurance-style event, this time it featured local athletes and celebrities.

The foundation initially announced a joint visit with Prince Albert, with the princess traveling solo.

A palace source told PEOPLE that the couple had hoped to travel together again, but “unfortunately” a scheduling conflict prevented them. (Prince Albert, 65, is due to arrive in New York on Monday for a long-planned visit, which will include attending a session of the UN General Assembly.)

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Princess Charlene is returning to South Africa to support a charity swim.

Princess Charlene.

Courtesy of the Duke’s Palace / Photo by Eric Mathon

Charlene’s trip comes at the end of a very busy week, which has seen her take part in a number of high-profile events, including a charity golf outing, the traditional Monaco ‘Back from Summer’ picnic and the first day of school for her children, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.

The return visit also comes two years after Charlene was hit with critical health problems in South Africa.

In May 2021, while observing her foundation’s wildlife conservation efforts firsthand, the princess developed ENT problems that required multiple surgeries and extensive recovery over a six-month period.

Princess Charlene is returning to South Africa to support a charity swim.

Princess Charlene.

Courtesy of the Duke’s Palace / Photo by Eric Mathon

In an interview with a local newspaper Monaco Matin just hours after driving her children to school this week, the princess declared herself “happy and at peace”.

“I walk regularly, but I would like to go back to swimming training, get a little more energy back and feel stronger,” she said.

Referring to the water cycling event, which involves relay teams pedaling long distances on water, the royal recalled her own experiences in competitions such as the water marathon, but noted that she “wouldn’t be racing alone this time”.

“[It] it will be a little different, because the athletes will have to ride a bike on the lake. The conditions of the race are necessarily different than in the Mediterranean, but the exercise is just as complex,” she explained. “I’ve already tried it myself. At sea, water bikes are carried by currents and waves. On the lake, which is inherently calmer, it takes more effort to pedal.”

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Recalling her participation in the 2020 race between Corsica and Monaco, Charlene said: “It seems so far away.”

“It was a real challenge because even with our training, covering 110 miles, pedaling day and night in bad weather, was very difficult,” she continued. “We were all very tired, but the motivation of the team was strong.”

Charlene added: “At one point we couldn’t see anything, there was only darkness around us. There was nothing to do but pedal for hours. I particularly remember the moment when Monaco started to take shape on the horizon. We knew the end was coming. , that we had succeeded in our mission. During these last hours, all I thought about was arriving… where I knew my husband and my children were waiting for me.”

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