Princess Charlene went in for her ‘final procedure’ on Friday in South Africa

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I still say that Princess Charlene’s six-month absence from Monaco is one of the oddest royal-gossip stories I’ve ever seen or covered. In May, I thought it was an escape. In October, I’m worried that she’s going to come up with another reason why she can’t return to Monaco. She’s been in South Africa this whole time, recovering from an ENT infection and undergoing corrective (?) surgeries. Prince Albert keeps saying that she’s recovering well and she’ll be back as soon as possible. He said that again last week, declaring Charlene “better” and claiming that she would be back “very soon.” Well, Charlene had another surgery soon after that.

Monaco’s Princess Charlene underwent another operation on Friday in South Africa, PEOPLE has learned.

“Princess Charlene has gone in today for her final procedure” before her return to Monaco, a palace spokesperson confirms.

The princess, 43, has been receiving medical treatment and undergone several lengthy operations for an infection that first flared up during a visit to South Africa in May and has prohibited her from traveling by air, which meant she’s had to extend her stay in her homeland by several months.

Charlene’s prolonged absence has spurred tabloid rumors of marital problems, though the royals and sources close to the couple have dismissed them.

[From People]

Her final procedure? Hm. We didn’t even know that she was supposed to have a final procedure, and they’ve never specified what all of these surgeries are about. Which is Charlene’s right, of course – she doesn’t have to tell us about her medical issues. But considering all of the speculation and rumor-mongering, it is odd that at no point, Albert and Charlene haven’t come out and said “look, this is what’s happening to me medically.” And now I wonder if this final procedure will mean that she gets a few more weeks/months of freedom in South Africa?

Prince Albert II of Monaco during the last day of the World Rugby Sevens Repechage tournament

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Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid and Charlene’s IG.

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40 Responses to “Princess Charlene went in for her ‘final procedure’ on Friday in South Africa”

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  1. CherHorowitz says:

    I’m so confused by this story at this point. If there was a reason for all this that was a straightforward medical thing, they would’ve just said so by now to get rid of the rumours surely. The fact they haven’t means there is something they don’t want to say publically but that could be any number of things!

    • ArtHistorian says:

      When you look at the various pictures released from her stay, I’d say that she looks VERY ill – and if it is from something more serious than the ENT infection they claim, then she doesn’t want it known and that is her prerogative.

      I’m no medical expert but she looks so thin and weak in some of the photos and that makes me think that she might be battling a very serious condition such as a form of cancer.

      • Izzy says:

        Fighting serious or chronic infections also makes patients lose significant amounts of weight so it’s entirely possible that the infection story is true, and I have no doubt they’d have better experts in SA than in Monaco for it.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Since the monegasques had made it quite clear that they don’t like her, it is understandable that she’d rather be in her homeland for medical treatment.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        You guys made excellent points, but I agree @ ArtHistorian, Charlene is very sick and does not look well at all. Granted, we haven’t seen her much since her departure, she still looks awful and is obviously in pain. I feel bad for her on so many levels. Charlene is disliked immensely in her adopted country, her children aren’t with her at all times/majority of time, she is probably alone and scared, no matter if her immediate family is with her, and there are no definitive answers. I understand suffering like she has and if I had not been with my husband/children during my early fight, I would have stumbled and/or dragged myself during recovery of each surgery or procedure. Though my husband isn’t a douche bag who I don’t care for, is a raging seed spreader and has my children hostage.

        I just hope that Charlene comes out strong, better and happier!! She certainly deserves it!!

      • HeyJude says:

        Yes I very much agree. A close family member of mine has cancer right now. I get the feeling from the situation and how she looks that Charlene might too. She’s been there for about the right time frame for treatment of certain cancers.

        And I’m thinking this especially as they said “final procedure”, it makes sense if she was there for treatment- she might need a port removed now. Or a last reconstructive surgery.

        It also makes sense as to why she didn’t have her children there, with COVID children are asymptomatic spreaders, hers are too young for vaccination too, and chemo patients extra vulnerable to getting COVID even when vaccinated. (Plus the exhaustion from treatment too.)

        My relative unfortunately had not been able to see their grandkids very much in the last 2 years due to COVID, since they’re in school & sports it’s just too dangerous.

        This all makes a lot of sense for Charlene too. And I feel terrible for her thinking of people thinking this is just a runaway bride scenario.

        Plus if she had gone to say Paris for treatment all her information would have been out there in the papers from the start I imagine. And that’s another reason why they could have kept this quiet and didn’t come out and say despite the speculation. I’m sure they had no desire for worldwide sensational headlines of “Charlene’s life in balance”, “her greatest fight” etc. for the entire time she was treated.

      • Itteh Bitteh says:

        I agree. She looks seriously ill. Even now. She does have a bit more color, but not much.

  2. Amy Bee says:

    I think this means she won’t be returning to Monaco at the end of October.

  3. AmieDee says:

    My 80+ year old mother is visiting and I told her what we know of this story (the last thing she knew about Monaco was that Princess Grace passed away) and she said she had an infection when she started the dental implant process. She was very uncomfortable, didn’t know what it was, took a long time to find out… Anyway, I give the story more credence than a few months ago. My mom said she didn’t eat solid food and was on antibiotics for months.

  4. AMJ says:

    Some time ago I wondered if she had cancer and it really looks more and more like it. She has “procedures”, they don’t specify whether they’re all surgical. Could be radiotherapy, maybe brachytherapy even.

    • Hyrule Castle says:

      I wonder cancer too, she looks so frail & weak.

      It’s worrying, not because she’s royalty. But her kids are so far from her.

  5. BeanieBean says:

    I don’t understand multiple surgeries for an ENT infection, or any infection. Aren’t antibiotics typically how infections are treated? Can someone enlighten me?

    • Hyrule Castle says:

      Gosh, if only there was some way to self educate, to learn for yourself?

      Like a, I don’t know, a search engine?
      Like that.

      (Also, when begging information you can readily find for yourself, try please & thank you. It matters)

      • BeanieBean says:

        Jeepers, got it! You mean do my own research? As in google it? Works so well for those anti-vaxers….

      • Jaded says:

        @Hyrule Castle — That’s not enlightening BeanieBean, that’s being unnecessarily sarcastic.

      • Swack says:

        As has been recently seen with Covid, research doesn’t always turn up the truth or the complete story, i.e. Ivermectin used for Covid. Maybe Beaniebean is looking for information from someone with first hand knowledge and could explain it in depth more and so that the average person could understand. Many articles you read on medical issues are technical and hard to understand.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Thank you, Swack, that was exactly what I was trying to elicit.

      • NeoCleo says:

        That response was rude and uncalled for.

    • Jaded says:

      Although rare, a serious ENT infection that reaches the brain or the lining of the brain is a very scary thing and can lead to meningitis and death. Surgery is major and can involve removing part of the skull to take out brain abscesses. Recovery can take many months, so I can buy that this is what she’s been suffering from.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Thank you, Jaded, for both this comment & your one above. I had no idea.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Oh dang, wish I had scrolled a bit further before posting. We are saying the same thing, basically. Brain abcesses are truly frightening, both for the mass effect, and the bacterial invasion, as you mentioned.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      Read about accesses, decortication and debridement. That said, she seems pretty frail, six months along from an abcess, unless it invaded her cranial cavity and required craniotomy. That could explain A LOT.

      • susan says:

        this is possible (see my comment below) but most of those cause either death, disability or disfigurement. repeated surgeries are rarely helpful. and if indeed that was the case, why is she still in ZA? one would think she’d go to the USA or Switzerland. Doesn’t make sense in any way.

    • susan says:

      speaking as one who does know-there are two main types of ENT infection. one that can be treated with a course or two of antibiotics and steroids, and the other kind, which are quite uncommon, usually cause death and/or disfigurement. my ex (ENT surgeon) says more than two sinus procedures will fuck you up for the rest of your life. most reputable ENT docs will not go in a third time. and the mainstay of treatment of infection is medicines, NOT surgery.

      this whole story is totally bogus. she has had a lot of work done on her face but I doubt this is related to cosmetic work. quite likely some sort of tumor, or something entirely unrelated. one would think if it was cancer or a “deep seated infection” she would go to Switzerland or the US and get care at one of the big expert centers there.

      • Ann says:

        Wait, really? I have had sinus problems since I was a teen and have had three procedures. Granted, only one of them was serious surgery (as in I had to go under for about an our)….with the other two they just put me under for about 5-10 minutes and went in to clear it up. But darn, I did not know that. I will think twice before doing it again!

    • Malificent says:

      I had a severe sinus infection that didn’t require surgery — but it caused severe pain and took me almost six months to get rid of. And there are certainly infections more severe and widespread than mine was.

      I’m allergic to amoxycillin, so I can’t take any antiobiotics in the penicillin family. My stomach can’t tolerate erythromycin and related drugs. And I had taken so much cefprozil, because it was one doctors could prescribe for me, that I developed a tolerance in the middle of the cycle and the infection came back worse. I finally had to use one of the “mycins” that caused me relatively less stomach upset, and just had to feel like I had morning sickness for two months to get rid of the infection.

    • Tosca says:

      I have a rare sinus condition that caused long-term, consistent inflammation, and required two surgeries to correct. It sounds like there are so many different sinus conditions and treatments that it is entirely plausible that she has a serious sinus problem has caused all her recent health problems. I don’t doubt that for a second. Mine debilitated me for years.

  6. Rea says:

    I always have felt bad for the kids in this marriage. They seem more like pawns being used by the royalty.

  7. Bluecat says:

    It’s so creepy. I hope they aren’t doing a lobotomy on her. There’s something really off in this story.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yeah. Maybe she does have cancer? It seems worse than what you’d expect. Like maybe this has gone beyond “I just want an excuse not to be stuck in Monaco.”

  8. Lea says:

    To the people feeling sorry for her that she isn’t well liked by the people of Monaco : it’s her own doing. The people of Monaco love their royal family, even if they are hot messes sometimes. They would have loved to love her. The thing is, Charlene never even tried to speak French, she very seldom appears at official events, and she always looks deeply unhappy when she does. Monaco is very small and the royal family takes part in many events happening there, but she doesn’t.
    Also, if she isn’t effectively trying never to come back to Monaco, I am thinking she may be dealing with botched plastic surgery.

  9. Kkat says:

    In Jan 2020 I had a tooth abscess spread the infection(Strep) to the tissue in my face, eye and sinus cavity and bones.
    I was in the hospital for 10 weeks on IV antibiotics (VERY STRONG ONES) and IV pain meds.
    During that time I had a ct scan almost every day to make sure it wasn’t creating an abscess in my brain or spreading to the brain tissue and lining.
    After I was out of the hospital (I had to go back twice more) I was on strong antibiotics for another 4 months.
    After I was out of the hospital i had to have two molars pulled, so my eating was screwed for another couple of months.

    So she could have something like that

    • Ann says:

      Oh dear, I am so sorry. I hope you are doing better now. What a terrible ordeal.

    • Jamie says:

      Thank you for this comment! I think its easy for people to forget your sinuses are right up in your head where a lot of important stuff is ;)

  10. Oh-dear says:

    Someone elsewhere suggested Manier Disease which also seems very plausible

  11. Oh-dear says:

    Someone elsewhere suggested Manier Disease which also seems very plausible

  12. Sara says:

    It could definitely be a variety of ENT-related issues. I have a friend who actually flew to SA for a very specific surgery, since one of the best surgeons in the field lives there. An inflamed and shortened facial nerve which would trigger Meniere’s, inflammation in the middle and inner ear, mouth, and debilitating headaches. It was a procedure to sever the nerve. She was there for several months and actually left the country earlier than recommended. Also, the surgery didn’t completely work.

  13. Elisabeth Dudo says:

    Hi all,

    my theory is that it’s got to do with work done to her face. She’s had her nose done but i feel there’s more to it that it seems…it’s my theory anyway!