Princess Charlene and Prince Albert make special royal visit to the Vatican

The Monaco royals are in Italy

Princess Charlene and Prince Albert have been pictured at the Vatican, where they had a private audience with Pope Francis on Tuesday.

MORE: Princess Charlene reveals adorable bond with daughter Princess Gabriella in rare interview

Dressed all in black, 44-year-old Charlene appeared to be in great spirits, a clear indication that she is slowly adjusting back to royal duties following her health setback.

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She wore a chic black dress custom-made by Terrence Bray, which featured a fit-and-flare structure and a boat neckline. The royal finished off her look with a black lace veil and what appeared to be rosary beads.

MORE: Princess Charlene enamours royal fans in mesmerising Prada gown

READ: Princess Charlene details 'painful' year of ill health for the first time

Princess Charlene recently returned home to Monaco after battling an ear, nose and throat infection which saw her spend much of 2021 in her home country of South Africa.

Back in May, the mum-of-two opened up about the ill health that has plagued her. "My state of health is still fragile, and I don't want to go too fast," the royal told Monaco Matin. "The road has been long, difficult and so painful. Today I feel calmer."

Princess Charlene seen at the Vatican on Tuesday

Commenting on her return to the public eye, which included appearances at Monaco Fashion Week and the Grand Prix, the royal said: "When I returned to the Principality, I focused all my energy on my children, my husband and my health because they are my priority."

Prince Albert has previously confirmed that Princess Charlene was dealing with "exhaustion, both emotional and physical", after collapsing on 1 September due to complications following one of several surgeries for a severe and ongoing ear, nose and throat (ENT) infection.

The royals after a private audience with Pope Francis

She was rushed to Netcare Alberlito Hospital, and the Palace released the following statement to People: "On the night of September 1, Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco was taken to hospital after becoming ill due to complications from a serious ENT infection. Her Highness is being closely followed by her medical team, who say her condition is reassuring."

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