Body language expert analyses Monaco royals' Easter portrait

‘Tense’ Prince Albert of Monaco looks ‘awkward’ as he joins his ‘playful’ wife Princess Charlene in family snap that captures their twins’ close bond with their mother even after months apart, body language expert says

  • Prince Albert and Princess Charlene shared family photo to mark Easter Sunday
  • It is thought to be first time family has been pictured together since November
  • Body language expert Judi James says Prince Albert wanted to portray ‘strength’ 
  • Charlene, 44, appeared ‘relaxed’ as she showed off bond with Princess Gabriella
  • Prince Albert of Monaco appeared ‘tense’ as he tried to signal his position as ‘family protector’ while posing with Princess Charlene and their children in their Easter family portrait, a body language expert has claimed.

    The couple were pictured with seven-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques in their first appearance together since November.

    Body language expert Judi James told FEMAIL that the Albert, 64, likely wanted to signal ‘resilience and strength’ but instead stood ‘awkwardly’ in the background. 

    Judi pointed out that while Albert was not fully touching his wife, he placed his hand on son Jacques’s shoulder as a ‘gesture of parental reassurance’. 

    Meanwhile Charlene, 44, demonstrated her ‘loving bond’ with daughter Gabriella, signalling how her relationship with her children has remained strong despite her spending months apart from her family.

    Charlene first had a 10-month absence in her native South Africa, where she contracted and was hospitalised for a serious sinus infection that delayed her return to Monaco. After her return to the principality in November, Charlene left almost immediately to receive treatment for ‘exhaustion’ at a Swiss clinic. 

    The photos were shared just days after Albert tested positive for a second time.  

    Prince Albert of Monaco appeared 'tense' as he tried to signal his position as 'family protector' while posing with Princess Charlene and their children in their Easter family portrait, a body language expert has claimed

    Prince Albert of Monaco appeared ‘tense’ as he tried to signal his position as ‘family protector’ while posing with Princess Charlene and their children in their Easter family portrait, a body language expert has claimed 

    The portrait, which was released just three days after Albert tested positive for Covid, showed 'relaxed' Charlene, 44, demonstrating her 'loving bond' with daughter Gabriella while Albert places a hand on son Jacques's shoulder as a 'gesture of parental reassurance'

    The portrait, which was released just three days after Albert tested positive for Covid, showed ‘relaxed’ Charlene, 44, demonstrating her ‘loving bond’ with daughter Gabriella while Albert places a hand on son Jacques’s shoulder as a ‘gesture of parental reassurance’

    The photos were shared by Charlene on her Instagram page with the message 'Happy Easter'

    The photos were shared by Charlene on her Instagram page with the message ‘Happy Easter’

    ‘Here, Albert’s tense-looking body position and facial expression suggest a desire to signal strength and to show himself as a protector of his family,’ Judi, analysing the image.

    ‘His body language looks rigid, from his incongruent smile to his part-kneeling, part-standing body position and his slightly puffed chest seems to signal resilience and strength.

    ‘Albert’s splayed arms look like a partial, encompassing hug. His right hand reaches behind his wife without touching but his left is firmly on his son’s shoulder in a gesture of parental reassurance.

    ‘Charlene and her daughter look much more relaxed together, posed in a very loving hug. 

    ‘The daughter leans into her mother’s lap with a look of natural affection and rapport, looking happy for the cuddle. Even their head tilts and smiles look mirrored to suggest close, loving bonds.’ 

    Pictured: The last time the family were pictured together was in November 2021 in Monaco

    Pictured: The last time the family were pictured together was in November 2021 in Monaco

    The portrait marks the first time the Monaco royals have been seen together as a family since Charlene returned to the principality following her treatment.   

    She faced a variety of health problems, including what the palace has previously referred to as a ‘state of profound general fatigue’. 

    The Monaco palace has consistently denied media reports of a rift between Charlene and the principality’s ruler Prince Albert, who were wed in 2011, following the princess’ long absence.  

    ‘She was clearly exhausted, physically and emotionally. She was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life,’ Albert told People magazine in November.

    Zimbabwean-born Princess Charlene was hospitalised after collapsing in September in South Africa, where she had been living for several months. 

    ‘This family pose is similar to the pose they first adopted when Albert took the twins to visit their mother in South Africa’, said Judi. 

    Judi James noted the image had the same forced, awkward feel as the family photos taken in South Africa last year, including the one above

    Judi James noted the image had the same forced, awkward feel as the family photos taken in South Africa last year, including the one above 

    Pictured: Princess Charlene of Monaco was finally reunited with her husband Prince Albert and her children Twins Jacques and Gabriella after three months apart in August 2021

    Pictured: Princess Charlene of Monaco was finally reunited with her husband Prince Albert and her children Twins Jacques and Gabriella after three months apart in August 2021

    ‘Back then it was accompanied by some ‘over-kill’ poses of intense affection rituals between Charlene and Albert, with her emotional, clinging hugs and head-pressing rituals looking anything but reassuring.

    ‘Here though we have a similar grouping to the family photo taken in SA, with Charlene sitting on the ground with her children, looking playful and tactile as Albert poses awkwardly in the background.’  

    She underwent surgery in October for an ear, nose and throat infection after checking in under a pseudonym in a Durban hospital, a palace source said at the time. 

    Friends previously told Page Six that the mother-of-two ‘almost died’ while she was in her home country, while her husband spoke out to say she is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’. 

    A palace statement released on December 23 revealed Albert and the couple’s children were planning to visit Charlene during the Christmas holidays, as well as asking for the family’s privacy to be respected.

    In Charlene's absence, Albert continued to perform royal duties with their twins Jacques and Gabriella. Pictured, with their aunt Princess Caroline during the Sainte Devote Celebrations in January

    In Charlene’s absence, Albert continued to perform royal duties with their twins Jacques and Gabriella. Pictured, with their aunt Princess Caroline during the Sainte Devote Celebrations in January

    It added that the princess ‘is recuperating in a satisfactory and reassuring manner, although it may take a few more months before her health has reached a full recovery.’ 

    Princess Charlene met Prince Albert in 2000 during a swimming competition in Monaco and the pair married in 2011, before welcoming twins Gabriella and Jacques in 2014. 

    Charlene returned to her husband and twins Jacques and Gabriella in November following almost a year in South Africa. 

    While on a solo charity trip to the country, she contracted a severe sinus infection which prevented her from travelling. She subsequently needed surgery to treat the medical condition, which again delayed her return to Monaco.   

    In the weeks after her arrival, Charlene remained absent from public duties. 

    Albert later revealed the family reunion had gone ‘pretty well’ in the first few hours, but it then became ‘pretty evident’ that Charlene was ‘unwell.’

    Albert was pictured attending Prince Philip's funeral service alone in Westminster last month

    Albert was pictured attending Prince Philip’s funeral service alone in Westminster last month

    He said the former Olympian ‘realised she needed help’, adding: ‘She was overwhelmed and couldn’t face official duties, life in general or even family life.’

    Albert explained: ‘I’m probably going to say this several times, but this has nothing to do with our relationship. I want to make that very clear. These are not problems within our relationship; not with the relationship between a husband and wife. It’s of a different nature.’

    He went on to tell a magazine her current state was a result of ‘several factors which are private’.

    Albert continued: ‘She hadn’t slept well in a number of days and she wasn’t eating at all well. She has lost a lot of weight, which made her vulnerable to other potential ailments. A cold or the flu or God help us, COVID.’ 

    He said it is ‘not cancer-related or personal relationship issue’ and later said she is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’.

    He later confirmed Charlene has been admitted to a treatment facility for undisclosed medical issues, as she works through a period of ill health. The location of the facility was not confirmed, though several sources claim it is in Switzerland.

    However friends of the princess spoke out to suggest the issues were more physical than Albert appeared to suggest. 

    Speaking to Page Six, a source described as the royal’s friend said: ‘It is unfair that she is being portrayed as having some kind of mental or emotional issue. 

    ‘We don’t know why the palace is downplaying that she almost died in South Africa.’

    The source explained the royal had a severe ear, nose and throat infection, which resulted in ‘severe sinus and swallowing issues stemming from an earlier surgery’. 

    Elsewhere friends of Princess Charlene gave Tatler a rare insight into what the royal is really like, insisting that the former swimmer is a force to be reckoned with. 

    One source rubbished any public perception that Charlene is ‘naive’ and trapped in an unhappy marriage with Albert, saying: ‘I don’t for one second think she did not know what she was doing when she married him.’ 

    But one warned the mother of Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, seven, is not the type to be blindly controlled by the Monaco royal household.

    ‘Charlene is no Princess Di.’ one said. ‘She may come across as being extremely naïve, but nothing could be further from the truth. She is very good at keeping her smarts under wraps.’

    Doubts about the central relationship of Monaco’s royal family are not new. 

    Several residents living in the narrow medieval alleys of Monaco Ville confirmed to MailOnline that before she left for South Africa Charlene was spending most of her time outside the Palace, living in a modest two-bedroom apartment above an old chocolate factory about 300m away, rather than in the 12th Century Palace itself.

    ‘We often saw her outside the Palace and she would usually be alone or with a bodyguard,’ said one source, ‘but she was never with Albert – it was obvious she chose to spend most of her time in the apartment rather than the palace.’

    Princess Charlene met Prince Albert in 2000 during a swimming competition in Monaco and the pair married in 2011, before welcoming twins Gabriella and Jacques in 2014.

    Born in Rhodesia- a previously unrecongised state in Southern Africa colonised by the British, she relocated to South Africa aged 11.

    She had a successful swimming career and went on to win three gold medals and a silver medal at the 1999 All Africa Games in Johannesburg, as well as representing South Africa at the 1998 and 2002 Commonwealth Games and winning a silver medal in the 4 × 100 m medley relay in the latter competition. 

    However the pair’s marriage has made numerous headlines over the years, with a third paternity suit emerging in December 2020. 

    Soon afterwards Charlene famously shaved half her head in the style of a punk rocker. Months later she left for South Africa.

    The allegations in December 2020 claimed that Albert had fathered a love-child (which would be his third, if proven) with an unnamed Brazilian woman during the time when he and Charlene were already in a relationship.

    He has also fathered two other children outside of wedlock. Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, who is now 29 and the result of Albert’s affair with an American estate agent, and Alexandre Coste, 18, whose mother is a former Togolese air hostess.

    Both children were struck off Monaco’s line of succession in return for vast financial settlements. 

    Timeline: Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s year apart

    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 without Charlene

    May 10 – Albert attends Monaco Gala Awards in Monaco without Charlene

    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

    June 5- Charlene puts on a united front as she shares a photo with her family to mark her niece’s fifth birthday with her brother’s family and Albert and the twins in South Africa

    June 7 – Albert and the twins attend the World Rugby Sevens without Charlene

    June 17 – Prince Albert attends Red Cross Summer concert in Monte Carlo with his sister Princess Caroline of Hanover

    June 18 – Prince Albert appears alone Monte Carlo TV Festival

    June 24 – Charlene’s foundation releases a statement saying the royal is unable to travel and is undergoing procedures for an ear, nose and throat infection

    July 2 – Charlene and Albert mark their 10th anniversary separately. ‘This year will be the first time that I’m not with my husband on our anniversary in July, which is difficult, and it saddens me,’ Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene said in a statement.

    July 3 – Albert appears with glamorous niece Charlotte Casiraghi at the 15th international Monte-Carlo Jumping event, which is part of the Longines Global Champions Tour of Monaco,

    July 27 – Prince Albert attends Olympics alone in Tokyo

    August 13 – Charlene undergoes a four-hour operation. The reason is not announced

    August 25 – Charlene shares photos of Prince Albert, Gabriella and Jacques visiting her in South Africa

    September 1 – Charlene is admitted under an alias to the Netcare Alberlito Hospital after suddenly ‘collapsing’

    September 2 – She is discharged, with a statement from the Palais Princier reading: ‘Her Highness is closely monitored by Her medical team who said that Her condition was not worrying’

    September 23 – Prince Albert attends the 2021 Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health

    September 29 – Prince Albert is joined on the red carpet by actress Sharon Stone for a first look at the eagerly anticipated James Bond release

    September 30 – Charlene releases a stylish video promoting her anti-poaching campaign from her South African bolthole

    October 3 – Princess Charlene shares a photograph of herself smiling in front of a bible in her first snap since being discharged from hospital following her health scare

    October 5 – Prince Albert attends Sportel Awards Ceremony in Monte Carlo with nephew Louis Ducruet

    October 6 – Albert tells RMC radio Charlene is ‘ready to come home’

    October 8 – Princess undergoes surgery in South Africa

    November 8 – Charlene arrives back in Monaco. Prince Albert said within hours it became clear she was ‘unwell’

    November 13 – Prince Albert attends Expo 2020 in Dubai without Princess Charlene

    Following his return from the trip, Prince Albert holds an intervention with Charlene’s brothers and a sister-in-law in which Charlene ‘confirmed’ she would seek ‘real medically framed treatment’ outside of Monaco

    November 16 – Royal household confirms Princess Charlene will not attend National Day celebrations on 

    November 19 – Prince Albert attends a Monaco Red Cross event without Princess Charlene

    November 17 – Prince Albert reveals Princess Charlene has left Monaco and is recovering in a secret location

    November 19 – Prince Albert reveals Charlene is in a treatment facility ‘elsewhere in Europe’ after a family intervention

    January 25 – Charlene celebrates her birthday alone outside of Monaco

    January 26 – Prince Albert is joined by his children and sister without Charlene at St Devote’s Day

    February 27 – Prince Albert and his two children attend AS Monaco football match without Princess Charlene

    March 14 – The royal palace announced Charlene had returned to Monaco. 

    April 17 – Palace released Easter Sunday family portrait of couple with their seven-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques

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