Princess Charlene of Monaco, a former Olympic swimmer from South Africa, recently took center stage at the 2015 Princess Grace Awards in a stunning Christian Dior gown. At home, both she and her husband, Prince Albert of Monaco, dote on their twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques, who are due to celebrate their first birthday in December.
How have your priorities changed as a new mother?
I might say everything changed with the birth of our children. I am a hands-on mom and so my own schedule is determined by their needs. This commitment started even before they were born, when I was pregnant.
What life lessons would you impart to them?
It would be a mistake to limit these teachings to one’s own experiences. I believe first of all, no lesson stands as a substitute to personal experience. However, lessons retained by persons known for their wisdom are of great relevance. I am thinking of what I have learned from Nelson Mandela’s challenging life. As parents, what we convey to our children stems from one source – love.
It is reported that Princess Grace left a recipe book, which you now have – what is your favorite meal to cook?
Frankly, I have little time to enjoy cooking, as most of my time is taken by our children and by Palace and Foundation duties.
When you visit family in South Africa, what do you look forward to?
Everything! The air, the sounds, the noises, children’s laughter, people’s smiles, watching the Currie Cup! The ocean, the immense and endless fields in KwaZulu-Natal and the unbelievable sunsets.
How will you introduce South Africa to your children?
As their mom’s land of dreams, where anything is possible.
How do you juggle family, royal duties and your charity work under The Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation?
My priority is caring for our children and this is a full-time job. As I said they are the boss now! Of course I do carry on with my various projects, especially those pertaining to my water safety initiative. This program is, I am pleased to mention, gathering speed around the world and I think this is an indication that learning to swim is imperative in saving lives, especially in emerging countries and among the poor and dispossessed.
As an ambassador for underprivileged children with a number of ‘learn-to-swim’ projects based in Africa under your foundation, how have you been able to make a difference?
The difference is simply in saving lives. We save lives every time we teach children how to swim and by giving them the tools to face the element of water – be it the ocean, rivers, lakes or swimming pools.