Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Interview with Ms. Charlene Wittstock - Monaco-Matin

1) Your engagement was officially announced on 23 June 2010. How do you feel?

I feel immense joy and emotion as you can imagine. I also know that this is an important time for the people of Monaco; I will do all I can to live up to their expectations.

2) Can you already imagine yourself in your role as a princess?

Over the past four years I have really got to know Monaco and its different populations (there are over 124 nationalities!). I really love this country. Although I still have a lot to learn about many of its specificities, its traditions and its history, deep in my heart it is already my country.

3) What struck you most when you arrived in the Principality?

I feel I was immensely fortunate to explore Monaco in the company of the person who knows it best (smile···). I was struck, above all, by its incredible openness to the world and its unrivalled generosity. I have learnt that Monaco is the European country that donates most per inhabitant to humanitarian causes. This spirit of generosity is the population's predominant feature, and the many initiatives carried out can only be a source of pride for the population.

4) Do you intend to become involved in a humanitarian cause, a foundation?

Since my teen years, I have always strived to share the things I do well. When I was very young, in South Africa, I helped teach underprivileged children to swim, and I received a lot from them in return. That was when I realised that giving is the most wonderful thing one can do.
In Monaco, I hope to defend a cause related to children and where sport will have a role to play.

5) You have been seen alongside Nelson Mandela, and more recently you supported Mandela Day. What does that mean to you?

I remember that in 1995, during the Rugby World Cup in South Africa, Nelson Mandela walked onto the field wearing a Springbok jersey representing unification and freedom within our nation. In that same year, he launched the Children Foundation. I was 17 years old.
I admire Nelson Mandela for his courage, it changed the course of history. The suffering he endured made him a unique person.
This is why I am so proud to bring my contribution to the Nelson Mandela Fund. However, the work has just begun; a lot more remains to be accomplished.

6) When were you last in contact with Nelson Mandela?

Two years ago in Mozambique

7) (World Cup in ZA) How important is this event for ZA? In which case?

Not ZA World Cup but the United African World Cup, it's the first time in History we have an event for African Unification.

8) What kind of relationship do you have with your family?

We're a very close family. Gareth, Sean and I were brought up with the same values, those that we got from sport. They gave us great balance. Sport is a family heritage: my uncle played football for SA as captain of the team, and my mother was an Olympic level diver athlete.
Family life was simple and healthy with strong family ties. It shaped us.

9) What passions do you share with HSH Prince Albert?

Mainly sport, which is how we met. But we are also both philanthropists; we like to reach out to others. We share an interest in understanding what's going on in the world and the same desire to help others.
But there are also some subjects on which we don't agree!

10) Which ones?

Allow me to keep some secrets···

11) You now have an official status. What has this changed for you?

I am aware of the responsibilities inherent in my official status. Day by day, I will continue to learn about the different customs of the Principality, about Palace practices, its protocol and its rules in order to prepare myself as best I can to accomplish the mission entrusted to me by the Prince, at his side.

Prince’s Palace of Monaco