Princess Charlene Returns to South Africa to Support Charity Swimming Events

Princess Charlene was back in South Africa this weekend.

Princess Charlene Returns to South Africa to Support Charity Swimming Events
Life Style

The Monaco princess, 45, returned to her homeland for a series of charity events organized by her water safety foundation. 

The trip marked a triumphant return for Princess Charlene, two years after she was dealt with life-threatening health issues and was forced to stay in the area for six months in 2021.

A highlight of the three-day visit to the Sun City resort was her participation at a "Learn to Swim" clinic for over a hundred local schoolchildren, which was organized by the Princess Charlene Foundation South Africa in partnership with Lifesaving South Africa.

The former Olympic swimmer, who has organized similar clinics for a decade, spoke with the children who received course completion certificates, before posing with them for photos.

Princess Charlene Returns to South Africa to Support Charity Swimming Event.

On Saturday, Princess Charlene attended the 5th edition of her Princess' Water Bike Challenge, which marked the first time the team endurance event has ventured off the Mediterranean. 

Though Charlene has competed personally in past runnings of the endurance-style event, it featured local athletes and celebrities this time around.

Initially announced by the foundation as a joint visit with Prince Albert, the Princess made the voyage solo.

Charlene's trip comes at the end of a very busy week, which saw her participate in a number of high-profile events, including a charity golf appearance, Monaco's traditional "Back from Summer" picnic and the first day of school for her children, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.

The return visit also comes two years after Charlene was affected by critical health issues in South Africa.

In May 2021, while observing her foundation's wildlife efforts firsthand, the princess developed ENT problems that required a number of surgeries and extensive recoveries over a six-month period.

Speaking to local newspaper Monaco Matin just hours after dropping her children off at school this week, the Princess pronounced herself "happy and serene."

"I walk regularly, but I would like to get back into swimming training, to regain a little more energy and feel stronger," she said.

Mentioning the water bike event, which involves relay teams pedaling long distances on water, the royal reminisced about her own experiences in the marathon-like competition over water, but noted she would "not be racing myself this time."

"[It] will be a little different, because the athletes will have to cycle on a lake. The racing conditions are necessarily different than in the Mediterranean, but the exercise is just as complex," she explained. "I've already tried it personally. At sea, the current and the waves carry the water bike. On a lake, which is inherently calmer, more effort is required to pedal."

Recalling her participation in the 2020 race between Corsica and Monaco, Charlene said, "It seems so distant to me."

"It was a real challenge because even with our training, crossing 110 miles, pedaling day and night in unfavorable weather, was very hard," she continued. "We were all very tired, but the team motivation was strong."

Added Charlene: "At one point we couldn't see anything anymore, there was only darkness around us. There was nothing to do but pedal for long hours. I particularly remember the moment when Monaco began to take shape on the horizon. We knew that the end was approaching, that we had succeeded in our mission. During these last hours, all I thought about was arriving ... where I knew my husband and my children were waiting for me."