Prince Albert Addresses Princess Charlene's Return to Monaco: 'Lived Through Difficult Times'

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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - JUNE 17: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been retouched at original source) (TABLOIDS & ONLINE OUT) Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attend the Monaco Palace cocktail party of the 55th Monte Carlo TV festival on June 17, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by PLS Pool/Getty Images)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - JUNE 17: (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been retouched at original source) (TABLOIDS & ONLINE OUT) Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attend the Monaco Palace cocktail party of the 55th Monte Carlo TV festival on June 17, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by PLS Pool/Getty Images)

PLS Pool/Getty

While Monaco's Princess Charlene is down with COVID-19, her husband Prince Albert is speaking out in her praise.

Saying his wife has "suffered greatly," he admits her near year-long enforced separation, caused by multiple health issues, has been "a test" for the couple and on their children, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.

Charlene's return, Albert describes, is "the most beautiful thing which could have happened."

In brief remarks published in the weekend newspaper Journal de Dimanche, Monaco's ruling prince admitted the past year's events were, "A test for my wife especially, who suffered greatly and lived through difficult times, far from her family. A test also for our children and for myself."

RELATED: Princess Charlene of Monaco Tests Positive for COVID-19: 'Not a Source of Concern'

"We missed the princess a lot. And we were obviously hurt by the malicious rumors that were peddled," he continued. "But we were able to stay united despite the distance, we spoke to each other often."

"Today, Charlene is back with us and this is the most beautiful thing which could have happened. She's better, we can finally spend time together. It is a relief and a joy for all of us," Albert added.

MONACO - JANUARY 27: Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attend the celebration of the Sainte-Devote on January 27, 2018 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
MONACO - JANUARY 27: Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attend the celebration of the Sainte-Devote on January 27, 2018 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Prince Albert's interview occurred prior to Saturday afternoon's announcement that Charlene had tested positive for COVID-19.

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Her condition, the palace sources say, is "not worrying" and she has self-isolated since testing positive.

The prince's comments mirror remarks Charlene made during Monaco Fashion Week addressing both her own health and that of her marriage status.

The state of her health remains "fragile," she told local newspaper Monaco Matin ten days ago. She explained that she didn't "want to go too fast. The road has been long, difficult and so painful. Today I feel calmer."

Charlene first became ill while in South Africa in May 2021 for what was planned as a brief 10-day visit to her home country. Complications from a previous ENT procedure grounded her for six months while a series of painful corrective surgeries and a subsequent relapse postponed her voyage home to Monaco until mid-November.

RELATED: Princess Charlene and Princess Gabriella Hit Monaco's Grand Prix Circuit — and So Does Patrick Dempsey!

Her return was however unfortunately brief, with the princess choosing to transfer her care to a Swiss clinic. During both her recuperation in South Africa and Switzerland, Prince Albert and their children visited frequently and remained in touch through nightly video chats.

Charlene eventually reinstalled in Monaco in March, resuming her public appearances last month.

RELATED VIDEO: Princess Charlene Addresses Rumors Around Her 'Painful' Recovery for First Time: I'm 'Still Fragile'

Despite evidence to the contrary and constant refutations by both the prince and princess, tabloids, which had begun speculating about the couple's marriage last year, have continued spreading "appalling rumors" concerning the cause of their prolonged separation since her return to Monaco.

Dismissing these persistent rumors last week, Charlene said, "I still find it regrettable that certain media peddle such rumors about my life, my relationship. Like everyone else, we are human beings and, like all human beings, we have emotions."