Charlene Lynette Wittstock was born on 25th January 1978 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Africa.
When she was aged 12, her family emigrated to South Africa.
She developed a passion for swimming at a very early age.
In 1996, at 18, she won the South African Championship.
In 2000, her team came in fifth at the Sydney Olympic Games. That same year, she won the gold medal for the 200m backstroke event at the "Marenostrum" international swimming meeting in Monaco. This is when she met Prince Albert for the first time; he was presiding over the international competition.
In 2002, she won three gold medals at the swimming World Cup (50m and 100m crawl, 4x100m relay) and the silver medal during the Manchester Commonwealth Games (4x100m medley relay).
In 2007, she ceased competing after qualifying for the Beijing Olympics.
Her father, Mr. Michael Wittstock, was born in 1946 and is actually a sales manager.
Her mother, Mrs. Lynette Wittstock (1959), is a retired swimming instructor.
Mr and Mrs Wittstock also has two sons: Gareth (1982), a computer technician; and Sean (1983), a sales rep.
Miss Wittstock was married to the Prince in a civil ceremony on 1st July 2011 in the Throne Room at the Palace of Monaco. The religious ceremony took place on 2nd July 2011 in the Cour d'Honneur of the Palace of Monaco. She bears the title "HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco" along with all the historical titles vested to the Prince, in the feminine.
Growing up in Africa heightened her awareness of problems linked to childhood.
Ms. Wittstock gave swimming lessons to underprivileged children throughout her career.
She has frequently accompanied His Serene Highness on his travels to support charitable works.
Since 2009, she has been Honorary President of Ladies Lunch Monte-Carlo.
Since 2010, she has been associated with the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
She regularly participates in fund raising events for charities such as Amfar.
On the 27th of May 2011, H.S.H Princess Charlene was appointed as a Global Ambassador of Special Olympics.
8th of July 2011, Princess Charlene has been appointed as a co-patron of the Giving Organisation Trust, a group of South African charities that deals with issues ranging from AIDS among underprivileged children to the protection of the environment.
Since June 2012, Princess Charlene has been the patron of AS Rugby Monaco.
Since November 2012, She has been Honorary President of the MONAA association.
Princess Charlène creates on 14th of december 2012 Her own foundation dedicated to children.
- Surfing is one of her favourite sports as well as hiking up mountains.
- Reading biographies and ethnic poetry from South Africa.
- Contemporary art.