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'I'm quite independent,' says Princess Charlene on first solo appearance

03 OCTOBER 2011

Kanye West showed his opinion-dividing debut collection; Julianne Moore kept her sunglasses on throughout Lanvin's presentation; and over at Givenchy Liv Tyler and Lindsay Lohan provided snappers with plenty of material.

But Princess Charlene of Monaco’s arrival in Paris propelled her into pole position for the most exciting moment at the city's fashion week.

The former Olympic swimmer elicited a collective gasp in the beautiful Palais de Chaillot, exuding the glamour associated with her predeccessor, the late Princess Grace.

 

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Despite arriving amid the popping of flashbulbs and excited whispers, the royal didn't appear fazed at the presentation by Akris – a label she has supported for some time.

The princess wore one of their simply cut grey coats for the royal wedding in Britain and a draped pale green silk gown for her own official engagement photos.

Since her wedding to Prince Albert, the South African beauty has rarely been seen in public, despite her husband making several official appearances.

And, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, she suggested that the reason for this was her desire for a "bit of a break".

"I think like anyone I need time to adjust," she explained to the paper, laughing.

Charlene also revealed that she isn't accompanied by a huge team of bodyguards at all times.

"I don't like that," she said. "I like to be independent."

Much like the Duchess of Cambridge, she is constantly walking a tightrope between a public and private life.

 

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After her experience before her wedding when tabloid outlets claimed she was having second thoughts, the 33-year-old was wary of talking to the media.

She excused herself for appearing nervous, saying: "Honestly I don't want to be too cut off.

"But obviously the press haven't been really good for us in the past." 

A sound very familiar to the Monegasque princess signalled the start of the show – the high-pitched whirr of Formula One racing cars.

Creative director Albert Kriemler was exploring a Grand Prix theme.

He sent models down a two-lane runway split by track markings and a soundtrack of engines revving and roaring.

It must have pleased Charlene, who is a big fan of the F1 and admitted she got a thrill in the pit of her stomach the first time she heard the engines revving outside the palace window.

When not at the Palais Princier, the newest member of the Grimaldi clan spends a lot of time in the family home, Roc Angel, in the hills above Monte Carlo, just over the border France. 

 

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The royal admitted, however, that she's struggling to become fluent in French, the principality's language, but is working on it.

"Step by step: it's coming along but it takes time." 

Despite the challenges she seems happy with her new life. "I think, in general, that it's all good."

Charlene's evolving style: From Olympic swimmer to princess

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