Prince Albert of Monaco attends St Devote Day cathedral service alongside his former mistress

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Prince Albert of Monaco attended the St Devote Day cathedral service without his wife Princess Charlene today – and instead appeared alongside his seven-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques and his sister Princess Caroline.

The royal’s former mistress and mother of his love child, Nicole Coste, 50, was also spotted at the principality’s traditional ceremony – which marks the national holiday in remembrance of Monaco’s patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century.

Nicole’s attendance at the event comes after she joined Prince Albert, 63, and their love child Alexandre Grimladi-Coste, 18, at Monaco’s the Red Cross Ball in July 2021, during Princess Charlene’s 10-month absence in her native South Africa. It’s unclear if Nicole has attended the annual St Devote Day occasion before.

Princess Charlene, who turned 44 on Tuesday, was nowhere to be seen today as she continued to receive treatment outside the country – and the ceremony marks yet another missed milestone, after she wasn’t there for either her twins’ birthday or Christmas last month. 

The former Olympic swimmer – who is suffering from ’emotional and physical exhaustion’, according to her husband – was admitted to an undisclosed treatment facility in November, within days of her return to Monaco. Last month it emerged she is still ‘months away’ from a full recovery. 

Prince Albert of Monaco attended the St Devote Day cathedral service without his wife Princess Charlene today - and instead appeared alongside his seven-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques and his sister Princess Caroline (pictured together)

Prince Albert of Monaco attended the St Devote Day cathedral service without his wife Princess Charlene today – and instead appeared alongside his seven-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques and his sister Princess Caroline (pictured together)

The 63-year-old royal's former mistress and mother of his love child, Nicole Coste (pictured far left), 50, was also spotted at the principality's traditional ceremony

The ceremony marks the national holiday in remembrance of Monaco's patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century. Pictured, Jacques on the palace balcony

The 63-year-old royal’s former mistress and mother of his love child, Nicole Coste (pictured far left), 50, was also spotted at the principality’s traditional ceremony – which marks the national holiday in remembrance of Monaco’s patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century. Pictured right, Jacques on the palace balcony

Princess Charlene (pictured with her husband), who turned 44 on Tuesday, was nowhere to be seen today as she continued to receive treatment outside the country - and the ceremony marks yet another missed milestone, after she wasn't there for either her twins' birthday or Christmas last month

 Princess Charlene (pictured with her husband), who turned 44 on Tuesday, was nowhere to be seen today as she continued to receive treatment outside the country – and the ceremony marks yet another missed milestone, after she wasn’t there for either her twins’ birthday or Christmas last month

Albert took their children to visit their mother over the Christmas holidays but it is not known whether they saw each other on her birthday on Tuesday. 

Dressing up for the occasion, both Jacques and Gabriella wore smart black and red ensembles today, while Jacques made a cross sign with his fingers while on the palace balcony during the traditional Sainte Devote procession in Monaco.  

Their aunt Princess Caroline of Hanover, 65, was seen standing behind the children, and next to her brother Albert, on the balcony, dressed in a grey and black outfit.

Meanwhile, Albert’s former mistress Nicole commanded attention in a white coat with a matching dress and leopard print heels as she arrived at Monaco cathedral. 

Nicole previously said that after Albert married Charlene, the royal distanced himself from their son.

She told the Mail On Sunday in 2014: ‘The truth is that, I’m sorry to say, Albert hasn’t seen Alexandre since a brief visit last September. It has become impossible since he married that girl. I suppose as a new wife, how would one feel? But she should think about my innocent child.

‘I don’t want to attack her but I think it is just jealousy and I don’t know why. I have been through hell in my fight for my son’s name and future.’ 

Nicole's (pictured) attendance at the event comes after she joined Prince Albert and their love child Alexandre Grimladi-Coste, 18, at Monaco's the Red Cross Ball in July 2021, during Princess Charlene's 10-month absence in her native South Africa

Albert II of Monaco and Princess Caroline of Hanover leave Monaco cathedral during the traditional Sainte Devote procession in Monaco

Nicole’s (pictured left) attendance at the event comes after she joined Prince Albert and their love child Alexandre Grimladi-Coste, 18, at Monaco’s the Red Cross Ball in July 2021, during Princess Charlene’s 10-month absence in her native South Africa

The former Olympic swimmer - who is suffering from'emotional and physical exhaustion', according to her husband - was admitted to an undisclosed treatment facility in November, within days of her return to Monaco. Last month it emerged she is still'months away' from a full recovery. Pictured, Albert with his children

The former Olympic swimmer – who is suffering from ’emotional and physical exhaustion’, according to her husband – was admitted to an undisclosed treatment facility in November, within days of her return to Monaco. Last month it emerged she is still ‘months away’ from a full recovery. Pictured, Albert with his children

Albert (pictured today) took their children to visit their mother over the Christmas holidays but it is not known whether they saw each other on her birthday on Tuesday

Albert (pictured today) took their children to visit their mother over the Christmas holidays but it is not known whether they saw each other on her birthday on Tuesday

Princess Caroline of Hanover (pictured behind Albert), 65, was seen standing behind the children, and next to her brother Albert, on the balcony, dressed in a grey and black outfit

Albert II of Monaco and Princess Caroline of Hanover leave Monaco cathedral during the traditional Sainte Devote procession in Monaco

Princess Caroline of Hanover (pictured left, behind Albert), 65, was seen standing behind the children, and next to her brother Albert, on the balcony, dressed in a grey and black outfit

St Devote’s Day is a national holiday in Monaco in remembrance of their patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century. 

According to legend, Christians saved Saint Devote’s body and cast it off in a boat to Africa in the hope that once there she would receive a Christian burial.

Timeline: Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s 12 months 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

A dove then flew from her mouth and guided the boat to Monaco where it ran aground and the Saint has helped the principality in times of peril ever since. 

Shortly before Christmas it was revealed Princess Charlene is still several months away from making a full recovery. 

In November, Charlene was admitted to a treatment facility in an undisclosed location within days of her return to Monaco following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa.  

Her husband spoke out to say she is suffering from ‘exhaustion, both emotional and physical’, while friends told Page Six that the mother-of-two ‘almost died’ while she was in her hometown of Cape Town. 

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.

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.’

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. 

Dressing up for the occasion, both Jacques and Gabriella (pictured) wore smart black and red ensembles today, while Jacques made a cross sign with his fingers while on the palace balcony during the traditional Sainte Devote procession in Monaco

Dressing up for the occasion, both Jacques and Gabriella (pictured) wore smart black and red ensembles today, while Jacques made a cross sign with his fingers while on the palace balcony during the traditional Sainte Devote procession in Monaco

St Devote's Day is a national holiday in Monaco in remembrance of their patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century. Pictured, Albert's twins

St Devote’s Day is a national holiday in Monaco in remembrance of their patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century. Pictured, Albert’s twins

Princess Charlene returned to Monaco in November, following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa. This photo was released to mark the reunion

Princess Charlene returned to Monaco in November, following a 10-month absence in her native South Africa. This photo was released to mark the reunion  

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

Soon afterwards Charlene infamously 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.  

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