Duty comes first.
Princess Charlene of Monaco’s children, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, took center stage on Wednesday night during the annual Saint Dévote Day celebration. The seven-year-olds were accompanied by their father, Prince Albert, aunt Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie’s son Louis Ducret.
The festivities included a traditional bonfire and boat-burning ceremony. At one point, the twins were spotted hugging their father and then each other.
Gabriella, whose grandmother was late Hollywood star Grace Kelly, made a stylish statement with a blue faux fur Emporio Armani coat and matching beret, People magazine reported. Her brother wore a jacket and tie.
The outlet reported that the siblings set fire to a votive boat that symbolizes Monaco’s patron saint. According to legend, Corsican-born Dévote was killed in the 4th century for her Christian beliefs. Locals retrieved the martyr’s body and set it adrift on the Mediterranean. The saint’s remains survived a storm and crossed the straits to Monaco where it was led to shore by a dove. According to the outlet, Florentine raiders stole the saint’s relics in the 11th century. However, they were captured and their boat was burned before they could escape. The burning of the ship is reenacted every January.
Noticeably absent from the ceremony was Charlene, who has been recovering from her health woes.
“The convalescence of H.S.H. Princess Charlene is currently continuing in a very satisfying and encouraging way,” read a translation of the palace’s statement in French sent to Fox News on Thursday.
According to the palace, the 44-year-old’s recovery and dental treatment “will still take several weeks.” As a result, “the princess will unfortunately not be able to attend the Saint Dévote festivities this year.”
“With her husband H.S.H. Prince Albert II, she wholeheartedly joins forces with all Monegasques and residents on the occasion of these celebrations,” the statement read. “As soon as her health permits, it will be with joy that the princess will once again share moments of conviviality with them.”
“During this period, the royal couple asks that their privacy and that of their children continue to be respected,” the statement concluded.
Charlene, who celebrated her birthday on Wednesday, is receiving treatment outside of Monaco after suffering from physical and emotional exhaustion.
Back in May, Charlene traveled to South Africa for what was supposed to be a 10-day visit. However, complications from a previous ENT procedure resulted in several corrective surgeries. She was kept grounded in South Africa and recovered until November when she finally returned to Monaco.
But shortly after she landed, the princess experienced signs of emotional and physical exhaustion. After consulting her doctors and family, Charlene decided to seek medical treatment. It was ultimately determined that Charlene would seek treatment in a facility outside of Monaco.
Still, Charlene has kept closely connected with her family with the help of daily phone and video calls, People magazine reported. The outlet noted that at least one family visit was held during the holidays and Albert has privately visited his wife on several occasions since then.
During the couple’s months-long separation, rumors of an impending split were intensified by the tabloids. Albert, 63, told People magazine he was “appalled,” noting she was “ready to stow away on a ship to come back to Europe” if necessary.
“Obviously she misses the children,” he told the outlet. “And they miss her. We all miss her.”
The celebrated athlete married the prince on July 1, 2011. The wedding was a spectacle, costing an estimated $70 million for the four-day event. They welcomed twins in 2014.
Their planned public anniversary celebration was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.