35 years in the making: the stunning evolution of birthday girl Princess Charlene

GALLERIES

35 years in the making: the stunning evolution of birthday girl Princess Charlene

When the royals met with Pope Benedict XVI on a recent trip to the Vatican, the Catholic leader praised Charlene for her past swimming triumphs, fully aware of her heritage and success.

It was a measure of just how far she had come; beginning as a promising sporting talent before blooming into a woman who has carved her niche amongst royalty and religious leaders.