Royalty and statesmen




The South African sportswoman joined the Monegasque royal to watch a key football match between the principality's team and their French rivals
Photo: © AFP
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Albert seems at his most relaxed when watching sports events together with Charlene
Photo: © AFP

Charlene back at Albert's side for sporting date

7 MAY 2007

Prince Albert of Monaco had a special date at his side as he cheered on the principality's football team recently. With him watching the match against Marseille was Charlene Wittstock, the South African swimming champion who has been his companion since they were spotted together at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Royal watchers might have thought the relationship had cooled as it's some time since the couple have been pictured together in public. But Charlene - who seems to have impressed Albert's family with her discreet charm and elegance - looked as comfortable as ever in the prince's company.

The 29-year-old blonde's absence from key events in Monaco, such as the March's Rose Ball, may be explained by the fact that Charlene has been focusing on a career comeback after 18 months away from her sport. Up until last month an injury had kept her out of competitive swimming.

Her hard work to get back in shape seems to have paid off as, on April 15, she became South Africa's 50 metres women's backstroke champion - a position she last held three years ago. "This is wonderful, I have only been training for three months and now I have a title," she said excitedly after the competition, adding that she planned to travel to Europe to improve her times.

According to the South African press Charlene has set her sights on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which she says will be her swansong. Afterwards she plans on focusing on charity work and sports promotion.

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