Princess Charlene of Monaco has shared a sweet snap of her family today to mark Easter, amid claims her husband Prince Albert has fathered a third love child while the couple were together.
The former Olympic swimmer, 43, took to Instagram to share a sweet festive snap with her husband, 63, and their six-year-old twins Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques.
Keeping it casual, the South African athlete sported jeans and a white T-shirt with a grey Doc Marten-style boots.
Showing off her new bold hairstyle, the royal looked onto her adorable twins as she held an empty carton of eggs which her little ones appeared to be painting.
Princess Charlene of Monaco has shared a sweet snap of her family today to mark Easter, amid claims her husband Prince Albert has fathered a third love child while the couple were together
Gabriella, and heir-to-the-throne Jacques, looked straight into the camera and posed with huge smiles, while Jacques wrapped his arms around his sister.
Meanwhile, Prince Albert perched against a wall, getting in on the action by also painting an egg as he sported a blue and white floral Hawaiian-style shirt.
Not to miss out on edible fun, the family also had a basket of chocolate eggs in the snap.
'Wishing everyone a blessed Easter. Happy Easter egg hunting,' Charlene wrote.
The royal turned comments off on the post, but more than 20,000 people likes the pictured in the first few hours.
It comes as Charlene praised 'loyal' Prince Albert earlier this year in her first comments since claims arose he is facing a paternity suit over a third love child.
Princess Charlene, Prince Albert and twins Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella attend the Saint Dévote's Day a national holiday in Monaco and celebrates its patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century, in January
After appearing putting on a united front in family pictures over Christmas, Charlene hailed her husband as 'loyal, determined and courageous'.
Speaking with Point du Vue, she revealed: 'When my husband has problems, he tells me about it. I often tell him, "No matter what, no matter what, I'm a thousand percent behind you. I'll stand by you whatever you do, in good times or in bad."
The mother-of-two went on to say she also often tells her husband she will 'protect him' and will 'always be by his side.'
Earlier this year, Princess Charlene praised 'loyal' Prince Albert in her first comments since claims arose he is facing a paternity suit over a third love child. The mother-of-two shocked royal fans around the world when she debuted a striking punk shaved haircut in December (pictured)
Meanwhile Princess Charlene revealed her drastic new haircut was 'her decision', explaining she had wanted the cut 'for a long time' because the 'style pleases her.'
She said she had dismissed comments about the style 'not being royal', adding: 'And I have nothing to answer them, except that we are in 2021, and that in these times so troubled, so difficult, other much more important subjects deserve our attention.'
And after being asked 'are you happy', the royal responded: 'There are times more or less easy, it is the case for everyone.
'But I am happy as I am, fulfilled by what I am going through, I know I am very privileged.'
The royal, who usually wears her hair in a chic blonde bob, shocked fans around the world when she unveiled her drastic new haircut earlier this year (pictured, before the haircut in September)
Sources in the Mediterranean principality say Charlene has had a 'terrible' year as lawyers for the billionaire couple brace themselves for the court case that opens in Milan in February.
Albert, who already supports two illegitimate children, is alleged to have had a relationship with a 34-year-old Brazilian woman which resulted in a daughter on July 4, 2005.
The claim, which his lawyers dismissed as a 'hoax', is particularly painful as he was dating Charlene at the time, having met the former Olympic swimmer in 2000.
Princess Charlene's life in the Monaco royal family
1987 - Bea Fiedler, a German topless model, claims her son Daniel was the prince's son, although this was never proved.
1992 - An American national files a paternity lawsuit against the Prince, claiming that he was the father of her daughter, Jazmin Grace.
2000 - Princess Charlene meets Prince Albert at the Mare Nostrum swimming competition in Monte Carlo
2005 - In May, a former flight attendant claims that her youngest son, whom she named Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, was Prince Albert's child. She states that his parentage had been proven by DNA tests requested by the Monegasque government.
On 6 July, a few days before he was enthroned on 12 July, the Prince officially confirms via his lawyer Lacoste that Alexandre was his biological son.
2006 - After a DNA test confirmed the child's parentage, Albert admitted, via statement from his lawyer, that he is Jazmin Grace's father.
2010 - Princess Charlene and Prince Albert announce their engagement
2011 - Princess Charlene was said to have bolted two days before the royal wedding after hearing Prince Albert had a third love child during their relationship.
It was alleged that Charlene tried to flee home to South Africa three times before her 'arranged marriage', at one point taking refuge inside her country's embassy in Paris.
Monaco officials were said to have coaxed her back by brokering a deal between the Prince and his reluctant bride that she provide him with a legitimate heir.
After that she would be free to leave of her own free will.
During the wedding, Charlene was in floods of tears, while her husband looked on impassively.
Later in the year, Princess Charlene confessed she felt 'very lonely' in Monaco
2012 - Princess Charlene was reported to be 'depressed' at her failure to provide her husband with a legitimate heir.
2014 - Pregnancy was announced in May.
In December Charlene gave birth to twins Princess Gabriella and heir to the throne Prince Jacques.
2017 - Princess Charlene visits Africa, tells media: 'I am African and this is my heritage. It will always be. It’s in my heart and in my veins.'
2019 - In a rare interview, Princess Charlene confessed it is 'sometimes hard to smile' and said the year had been 'very painful'
In another interview, she said she found motherhood 'exhausting'
The princess, whose maiden name was Charlene Wittstock, was an Olympic swimmer for South Africa when she first met Albert at a Monaco aquatic competition in 2000.
They began dating soon afterwards, before Charlene married into the House of Grimaldi at a star-studded wedding in July 2011.
Their twins – daughter Gabriella and son Jacques – were born three years later and are the family's official heirs.
By this time, Charlene had come to terms with Albert’s hard fought legal battles with women who eventually won financial settlements over children they had with Albert – even though he originally denied their claims.
In May 2005, just before he was enthroned as Prince of Monaco, Albert confirmed he was the biological father of Alexandre, whose mother was Nicole Coste, a former Air France flight attendant from Togo.
A DNA test in May 2006 also confirmed Albert was the father of Jazmine Grace, the result of an affair with Tamara Rotolo, an American estate agent he met while she was on holiday in the South of France.
Jazmine was born in the 1990s and Alexandre in 2003. The Brazilian woman says she travelled around the world with the Prince in the 2000s.
Her Italian lawyer is, by coincidence, called Erich Grimaldi – the name of the Grimaldi Royal Household of which Albert and Charlene are a part.
Mr Grimaldi said he had filed papers with specific details of his client’s love affair with Albert, including trips to Brazil, the USA, France and Russia.
While in Moscow, the lovers are even said to have had a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, who gave the Brazilian ‘a warm hug’, according to court papers.
Now Albert is said to be ignoring all correspondence from his alleged third daughter, instead leaving the matter to his legal team.
Albert’s lawyer, Thierry Lacoste, has described the allegations as a ‘a hoax’, saying: ‘There are no intimate photos, no tangible facts surrounding a possible relationship.’
Mr Lacoste said he was also considering filing a counter claim for ‘attempted fraud and blackmail’ because the claimant threatened to publicise her story if no cash was forthcoming, Mr Lacoste told France’s Le Point magazine.
Neither Albert’s daughter Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, now 28, nor his son, Alexandre Grimaldi-Coste, 17, can claim the throne of Monaco, according to negotiated financial agreements.
The line of succession instead favours Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, who have just turned six, and who frequently appear in their parents’ social media posts.
Charlene is known for being exceptionally quiet and soft-spoken, leading another Monte Carlo resident who has known the couple since before their marriage to speculate that her new hairstyle may be a sign of distress.
She pointed to a series of unsettling incidents in Charlene’s career as a royal, which included the princess being in floods of tears throughout her wedding to Albert.
‘They were saying she was very home sick, and was desperate to get back to Africa,’ said the friend.
‘This was a time when there were already rumours that Albert had yet another love child conceived during his time with Charlene.
‘It was said that Charlene got news of the child when she was being fitted for a bridal gown in Paris. The rumours subsided for a while, but now they have exploded again.’
In December, Princess Charlene posted a series of festive snaps of her family Christmas, which were interpreted as a show of unity
She enjoyed a fiery display with her family in Jauary at the celebrations for Monaco's patron saint but today Princess Charlene (pictured with Prince Albert) appeared in a more sombre mood
In an interview with the South African magazine Huisgenoot a year ago, Charlene confirmed that her fairytale lifestyle came with deep problems.
Charlene said: ‘People are very quick to say, “Oh, why isn't she smiling in the photos?”.
‘Well, sometimes it's hard to smile. They don't know what's going on in the background.’”
She added: ‘I have the privilege of having this life, but I miss my family and my friends in South Africa and I'm often sad because I cannot always be there for them.’